Eversheds Sutherland is implementing billable credit for diversity and inclusion work for its attorneys as more law firms look to further their diversity efforts.
The London-founded firm will provide up to 50 hours of billable credit per year for qualifying diversity and inclusion work for all its U.S. attorneys, the firm said in a statement.
The policy, which is retroactively applied to Jan. 1, 2022, mirrors moves made by other law firms over the last few years. Cooley, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith, Ropes & Gray and othershave adopted DEI billable credit policies to promote diversity efforts in an industry that has long suffered from a lack diverse voices.
A 2021 study released by the National Association for Law Placement released this month noted that while the percentage of summer associates of color grew from 36.48% in 2020 to 41.34% in 2021, many challenges still remain. People of color and women make up nearly 11% and 26% of partners, respectively.
“We are proud to incentivize and reward the time attorneys spend on activities that are essential to building an inclusive culture and equitable workplace,” said Eversheds co-CEO Mark Wasserman in a Wednesday statement.
Some activities eligible for billable credit include participating in client diversity programs or joint firm-client initiatives and trainings, working on diversity committees or women’s initiatives, participating in a firm mentorship program as a facilitator, or in a program with a firm DEI partner organization, representing the firm at law school diversity events and job fairs and mentoring underrepresented law students are also eligible.
The new policy not only places a value on attorneys’ work to advance DEI goals, but also “ensures that those who dedicate time to these efforts, who are often from underrepresented groups, receive the appropriate credit for their work,” said Eversheds’ chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer Darwin Conner in a statement.