The DGS partnership consists entirely of equity partners, of whom 28 percent are women. Additionally, 57 percent of DGS associates are women, and half of the firm’s Executive Committee members are women, including one of our two managing partners. Moreover, DGS values cultural diversity, with many of our employees self-identifying as being ethnically diverse.
The DGS Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee was formed in 1999 and built on the premise that differences bring great value to the practice of law. Its goal is to empower our attorneys to lead inclusivity related efforts that impact the firm and broader community. Comprised of the following partners and associates, the DGS DEI Committee reports to the Executive Committee and provides a forum for fostering an open dialogue on inclusivity issues.
The DEI Committee also promotes discovering new ways to enhance the firm’s implementation of initiatives aimed at community involvement, recruitment, retention, and mentoring. It recently relaunched and reinvigorated the firm’s DGS Women’s Network, which meets throughout the year. A dynamic component of this initiative is the Women in Leadership Lecture Series (WILLS). The program features valuable perspectives on how to overcome personal and professional obstacles on the path to leadership. Past speakers include the vice president and deputy general counsel of Facebook, the chief of staff of the Denver International Airport, the vice president and deputy general counsel of Airbnb, the chief legal officer and general counsel of Sphero, the chief legal officer and general counsel of CoBank, the former president and chief executive officer of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, the chief executive officer of Denver Health, and the market president of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, among others.
DGS is committed to fostering a peaceful, inclusive, and equitable community and society grounded in the rule of law and access to justice. As a firm, we recognize that lawyers are uniquely positioned to promote a more just society for individuals of all backgrounds. In addition to standing in solidarity with Colorado’s diversity bar associations, we have implemented our own action-centric plan to combat systemic racism in our community. Many of our attorneys have also taken it upon themselves to assist those seeking asylum in the U.S., representing them in a pro bono capacity.
DGS partners and associates serve or have served as presidents or board members of many local specialty bar associations and are leaders in other diversity and inclusiveness efforts in Colorado. Women’s empowerment is a key focus at DGS: Approximately 60% of the firm’s female attorneys currently hold a leadership role or board position in a community-focused organization. The firm is also active in the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and is participating in its Inclusiveness Program. DGS joined the unified coalition of Colorado companies to advance racial equality by taking the B:CIVIC CEO Pledge. Additionally, we have taken a leadership position in founding, participating in, and sponsoring a variety of efforts designed to promote inclusivity in professional and civic organizations throughout our community. In 2022, DGS joined Colorado Inclusive Economy, a movement of Colorado businesses working strategically to support, build, and implement Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategies that alight with overall organizational goals.
DGS deems diversity and inclusiveness awareness, mentoring, professional development, and training to be vital to the overall growth of the firm. The DGS DEI Committee works to build on this philosophy by encouraging senior attorneys at the firm to mentor younger attorneys. The Professional Development Department also leads a formal integration program for first year associates that consists of a series of monthly meetings where they are paired with a partner. This initiative necessarily includes diversity and inclusiveness awareness training. These professional relationships often continue to evolve for years to come.
The firm aggressively seeks candidates through targeted recruiting at local law schools and focused job fairs, as well as through lateral hiring. We post vacancies on specialty bar association websites and recruit through our relationships in the community. The firm also supports targeted scholarship programs at Colorado law schools and works directly with the Colorado Pledge to Diversity Minority Clerkship Program to hire first year law students. Additionally, DGS is a founding sponsor of the Rocky Mountain Diversity Legal Career Fair (RMDLCF) and has developed and supported RMDLCF since its inception. Held every year since 2004, RMDLCF provides a forum for legal employers, law students, and diverse law school graduates to meet and discuss employment options with the goal of expanding opportunities.
In 2020, in partnership with IAALS, DGS, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, Holland & Hart, Sherman & Howard, and Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell have convened to form a coalition of firms to collaborate to make informed, targeted investments to increase racial equity for diverse lawyers in Denver. The Denver Law Firm Coalition for Racial Equity goes beyond recruiting diverse attorneys. Though its participating firms compete for business, they are united in their mission to make the Denver legal community a desirable place for attorneys of color – with an initial focus on Black and African American attorneys – from across the country to build a lifelong legal practice and reach the highest levels of the profession. DGS is proud to be part of the leaders across Denver’s legal community coming together to explore and identify sustainable, long-term DEI solutions, and the Coalition’s commitment to advance these shared goals across member firms.
We know that the people at DGS are the greatest source of our strength. We also recognize that promoting diversity and inclusiveness is critical to an environment where individuals can find personal growth, career satisfaction, and professional accomplishment. DGS offers internal and external diversity and inclusiveness training resources through our Professional Development Department. These programs include everything from large-scale CLE seminars to one-on-one coaching.
As a result of these efforts, DGS was ranked 74th out of 350 qualifying firms in the NLJ 500 Women’s Scorecard 2022, which is based on the firm’s percentages of female attorneys and female partners in 2020. In 2022, DGS was ranked 58 among participating firms with 101 to 250 lawyers in Law360's Diversity Snapshot. Additionally, DGS received the first Qwest Diversity Leadership award, honoring the firm’s efforts in promoting diversity.
In February 2021, the firm was spotlighted in a Denver Business Journal article titled "During pandemic recovery, diversity and inclusion is still a business imperative." It stated that "the diversity, equity, and inclusion committee at DGS is an example of the type of forum that can foster an inclusive culture through open dialogue on employee hiring and mentoring."