The DGS partnership consists entirely of equity partners, of whom 32 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: 11 percent of partners and associates are attorneys of color.
The DGS Diversity & Inclusiveness 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 D&I Committee reports to the Executive Committee and provides a forum for fostering an open dialogue on inclusivity issues.
The D&I 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 and the market president of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
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. The firm also takes an active role in the Center for Legal Inclusiveness and is participating in its Inclusiveness Program. 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, including:
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.
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.
DGS deems diversity and inclusiveness awareness, mentoring, professional development, and training to be vital to the overall growth of the firm. The DGS D&I 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.
DGS has also supported a collaboration with the University of Denver Black Law Students’ Association (BLSA). This innovative partnership involves identifying pro bono cases that BLSA students can work on with the assistance of a DGS lawyer, enabling minority law students to gain experience and confidence in a way that should advance their careers.
As a result of these efforts, DGS was ranked 17 out of 350 qualifying firms in the NLJ 500’s Women’s Scorecard 2020, which is based on the firm’s percentages of female attorneys and female partners in 2019. DGS also ranked 18 among participating U.S. firms with 50 to 149 lawyers in Law360’s 2019 Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys. Additionally, DGS received the first Qwest Diversity Leadership award, honoring the firm’s efforts in promoting diversity.