Kirkland & Ellis has brought on Joi Bourgeois as its firmwide director of diversity and inclusion in New York as more Big Law firms push to prioritize diversity within their ranks.
Bourgeois joins Kirkland from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe where she served as its global head of diversity and inclusion. Prior to that she was vice president and director of business development at Greiner Consulting Group and worked earlier in her career as an associate at Rogers & Wells, a Clifford Chance predecessor firm.
Bourgeois joined Orrick in October 2017 with the goal of helping the firm retain and promote diverse and female attorneys within its ranks, a task she is also poised to take on at Kirkland.
“Clients have become much more urgent about greater diversity of talent at their law firms. They want their outside legal teams to look and be more like them and their clients and customers,” Bourgeois said in a statement.
“A key to achieving those goals is providing diverse and female attorneys with the right coaching, sponsorship and mentorship to advance their careers. I hope to build on the number of incredible D&I initiatives at Kirkland to help create more women and diverse leaders,” said Bourgeois, who will officially start at the firm on Sept. 5.
The firm has long been acquainted with Bourgeois through her work as a consultant and advisor to many of its attorneys, staff and alumni, said chairman-elect of Kirkland’s global management executive committee Jon Ballis in a statement.
“As a former practicing attorney and a diverse individual herself, Joi brings not only deep experience but also a unique perspective on D&I program efficacy, efforts and inclusiveness in the law firm environment,” he said.
Law firms have doubled down on hiring for diversity-focused management positions, sometimes even getting diversity bosses in lateral moves from other firms. Back in February, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld grabbed a new chief diversity officer from WilmerHale. Perkins Coie did the same last fall with DLA Piper’s former diversity leader.