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Diversity & Inclusion

Statement of Principle

Franczek Radelet is unconditionally committed to the goal of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We value highly the varied perspectives and experiences which are found only in a diverse workplace. Our Firm recognizes that diversity and inclusion makes for a broader, richer environment which produces more creative thinking, resulting in more effective business solutions for the Firm and its clients. Thus we believe that promoting diversity and inclusion is essential to the success of our business.

Our Definition of Diversity

Diversity at Franczek Radelet means inclusion of employees of different race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, religion, cultural and ethnic background, ability, nationality and other unique attributes that do not interfere with effective job performance and superior client service.

Part of this commitment includes fostering an environment in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees have the opportunity to thrive, and we fully support those who wish to self-identify.  We also fully support those who wish to uphold their right to privacy and will maintain confidentiality.

How We Achieve Diversity and Inclusion

Maintaining and expanding the diversity of the Firm’s attorneys and staff is a central tenet of the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Policy and will be achieved through:

  • Diversity Committee – An attorney-staff Firm Diversity Committee, chaired by the Firm’s Diversity Officer, focuses on promoting firm diversity, supporting ongoing diversity initiatives and policies, and developing additional diversity outreach both internally and externally.
  • Training and compliance – Regularly communicating the Firm’s Diversity Policy and its underlying rationale and values to all shareholders and employees; Full compliance is a condition of employment by the Firm;
  • Recruitment – Actively recruiting from a diverse attorney and staff pool;
  • Retention – Maintaining an effective orientation program and mentoring practices for all new attorneys and staff;
  • Work Assignment – Ensuring that all attorneys and staff receive challenging work assignments and that all attorneys receive client exposure opportunities consistent with their demonstrated skill and ability; and
  • Firm Leadership – Seeking to include a diverse group in Firm leadership and management.
The Firm’s Diversity Officer

The Firm’s Diversity Officer is charged with the following responsibilities:

  • Foster knowledge and understanding of this policy and its underlying rationale among all Firm employees;
  • Community outreach and research to ensure that the Firm’s diversity and inclusion commitment regularly evolves to reflect best practices;
  • Review and monitor the Firm’s efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion with an emphasis on recruitment, retention, and advancement of a diverse workforce and superior client service;
  • Receive and address workplace issues relating to diversity and inclusion;
  • Facilitate opportunities for diversity and inclusion training among all employees; and
  • Facilitate the Firm’s participation in and support of external diversity and inclusion initiatives among our clients, the legal profession and our surrounding community.

Diversity Programs & Sponsorship

LEADS Fellowship Program

In the summer of 2015, Franczek Radelet welcomed three LEADS Fellows: John Swinney, Susan Esquivel, and Nicholas Simpson. The firm initially established LEADS, an unprecedented, exciting and creative diversity pipeline initiative in 2011. The Firm’s Legal Education for the Advancement of Diversity and Scholarship (LEADS) fellowship program is designed to increase the placement of diverse lawyers at our law firm and in private practice generally. The LEADS program is an intensive eight week program designed for law students who have an interest in pursuing a legal career in private practice representing employers in labor and employment matters. The program’s goal is to provide concentrated labor and employment legal experience while developing a pipeline of highly qualified, diverse candidates for potential future employment in the legal profession. LEADS Fellows past and present (left to right): Sunghee Sohn (2012/2013 programs), Nicholas Simpson (2014/2015 programs), Erin Fowler (2012/2013 programs), Susan Esquivel (2014/2015 programs), Kent Sparks (2013/2014 programs). More information is available here.   


Chicago United Member

Franczek Radelet is proud to announce it is a new Chicago United member among the nation’s thought leaders in developing sustainable diversity in a way that strengthens the corporate community, the broader economy and the society as a whole. Chicago United’s members range from emerging businesses to Fortune 500 corporations and represent some of the City’s brightest leaders. Chicago United promotes multiracial leadership in business to advance parity in economic opportunity. This organization supports the business community’s need to maximize the use of corporate and entrepreneurial talent and brings together diverse senior business leaders to break through barriers to realize the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Chicago United is the premiere organization creating an environment where racially diverse CEOs and executive level management can share common experiences to promote multiracial leadership in governance, management, and business partnerships while delivering best practices for diversity practitioners and building relationships among leaders who share common values.


Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey

Franczek Radelet participates in the annual Vault/MCCA Law Firm Diversity Survey. The results of the survey are compiled in a database that includes valuable benchmarking information about the diversity programs at more than 250 major law firms. Entries for firms include quantitative data on the numbers of attorneys who are minorities, women, GLBT, or individuals with disabilities, as well as qualitative information regarding firms' diversity plans and initiatives. Through this online tool, users can make side-by-side comparisons of diversity metrics, gauge firms' progress over the years and measure their performance against industry-wide benchmarks. The database also includes access to firms' complete, self-reported survey responses, to present a comprehensive picture of the diversity commitment and programs at each participating law firm.


IABA Foundation First Annual Golf Outing

On May 15, 2015, Franczek Radelet attorneys Tejas N. Shah, Michael A. Warner, Jr., Edward N. Druck, and Jamel A. R. Greer participated in the Indian American Bar Association (IABA) Foundation First Annual Golf Outing. The Foundation supports public interest activities, provides a $5,000 fellowship to a law student who works in the public interest every summer, and provides financial support to the Indo-American pro bono clinic in the Rogers Park area, which is supported by Chicago Volunteer Legal Services and staffed by the Indian-American Bar.  Its mission is to promote access to justice and lawyers in the Chicagoland area.


Chicago United Transformative Inclusion Member Forum

Franczek Radelet attorney Michael Hernandez attended the Chicago United Transformative Inclusion Member Forum on May 12, 2015. In this forum, Frans Johansson presents "Diversity Drives Innovation," discusses the movement of people and their convergence with science and advances in technologies and how that affects companies, cities, and nations that compete on a global basis.


Franczek Radelet Hosts On The Table Discussion

On the evening of Tuesday, May 12, 2015, members of the Firm’s Diversity Committee, joined by corporate leaders from McDonald’s Corporation, AGL Resources (Nicor), Byline Bank and Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, participated in the Chicago Community Trust's On the Table event.  Founded in 1915, the Chicago Community Trust was established by local business leaders to support the residents of Chicago with grants to arts, social service, education, and community organizations.  Last year, 11,000 neighbors gathered around 1,000 tables in the Chicagoland area to share a meal on one evening.  As part of the Chicago Community Trust’s 100th Anniversary initiative, On the Table allows participants from every ZIP code in the region to open up to one another and share their ideas for what our communities need to prosper and to thrive.  The National Latino Education Institute is the Host Community Organization for the event, supported by the Franczek Radelet Diversity Committee.  


ISBA Young Lawyer of the Year in Cook County

Franczek Radelet attorney and head of the Firm's immigration practice, Tejas N. Shah has been recognized by the Illinois State Bar Association (ISBA) as the Young Lawyer of the Year in Cook County. Each spring the ISBA - Young Lawyers Division recognizes two outstanding young lawyers, one practicing outside Cook County and one within. Award recipients must be ISBA members in good standing and have not yet reached the age of 36. Tejas is active in ISBA's International & Immigration Law Section Council, where he will also begin his role as chair this summer. The members of the Council nominated Tejas for the prestigious Young Lawyer of the Year recognition.


National Museum of Mexican Art Gala de Arte 2015

Franczek Radelet sponsored the National Museum of Mexican Art Gala de Arte 2015: El Sol y La Luna (The Sun and The Moon), a one-of-a-kind event that brings together more than 700 Chicagoans, philanthropists and art enthusiasts.  The event was held on May 8, 2015. The National Museum of Mexican Art stands out as one of the most prominent first-voice institutions for Mexican art and culture in the United States. It is home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, including more than 7,000 seminal pieces from ancient Mexico to the present.


Young Women's Leadership Charter School's (YWLCS) Girl Power Luncheon

On April 29, 2015, Franczek Radelet sponsored the 2015 Young Women's Leadership Charter School's (YWLCS) Girl Power Luncheon.  The event featured keynote speaker Anna Eleanor RooseveltCEO of Goodwill Industries of Northern New England and former Vice President, Global Corporate Citizenship for The Boeing Company. During her 10 years with Boeing, Anna and her team influenced Boeing’s approach to corporate citizenship through philanthropy and community investment. YWLCS also honored Joan M. Hallfounding YWLCS Board Chair and former partner with Jenner & Block, with the Girl Power Leadership Award. Joan was recognized for her work as a trailblazer for women in the legal profession and for her leadership toward ensuring Chicago’s most under-served girls receive a quality education.


 DiversityInc Top 50 Best Practices Conference

On April, 23, 2015 Franczek Radelet attorney Michael Hernandez attended the DiversityInc Top 50 Best Practices Conference in New York. The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity competition began in 2001 as corporations were beginning to understand the business value of diversity-management initiatives. The competition has evolved and continues to be refined and improved to reflect how rapidly companies are adapting these strategies. 


Conducting Effective Presentations: WNSA Spring 2015 Event

On April 22, 2015, the Women's Network of School Administrators (WNSA) hosted its Spring 2015 event at The Clubhouse in Oak Brook and welcomed Chris DeSantis, an independent consultant specializing in the design and delivery of Management and Organization Development training, who conducted a presentation skills training. Franczek Radelet sponsored this event.


 Black Women Lawyers' Association

Franczek Radelet sponsored the Black Women Lawyers' Association (BWLA) 2015 National Summit entitled Answering the Call to (Part II): Owning our Destiny held on April 9-11, 2015. Franczek Radelet attorneys Jamel A. R. Greer and Erin Fowler attended this event.


IABA Entrepreneurship Event for Members

On April 2, 2015, Tejas Shah and Hrishi Shah attended the Entrepreneurship Event for Members hosted by the Indian American Bar (IABA) and the US-India Chamber of Commerce. Elliot Richardson, currently the Chief Executive Officer for the Small Business Advocacy Council, served as the guest speaker. He discussed the work his organization performs and support the Council provides for small businesses in a variety of industries, as well as addressed some of the more common legal issues facing small businesses. The US-India Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization comprised of companies of all sizes with a mission to foster and develop business ties, relationships, and opportunities within and across the Midwestern USA and the nation of India.


Black History Month Luncheon

On February 26, 2015, Franczek Radelet welcomed guest speaker Kimberly Foxx, Chief of Staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Kim presented on her her background experience working on juvenile justice and child protection issues, as well as her fascinating story growing up in an impoverished neighborhood and how her perspective contributed to her success. Kim counsels the President on countywide policies, finances, procedures, and programs. She directly oversees the work undertaken by the President’s office to improve public safety while enacting meaningful criminal justice reforms. Her efforts include working reform bond court, improve case processing, and reducing disproportionate outcomes. Kim is deeply committed to reducing disproportionate contact and the loss of life and opportunity among young minority men and women due to violence. Photo includes the following from left to right: Jamel A. R. Greer, David P. Radelet, Kim Foxx, Erin Fowler, and Ronald J. Hein.


 Transforming the Paradigm of Educating Children

Franczek Radelet sponsored the 2015 Superintendents' Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity Annual Regional Conference held on January 29-30, 2015. The conference, "Transforming the Paradigm of Educating Children," focuses on educator quality, student achievement and assessment, school improvement and working conditions.  


Latino Leadership: Building an Inclusive, Informed and Involved America

Franczek Radelet is sponsoring the Latino Policy Forum's "Latino Leadership: Building an Inclusive, Informed and Involved America," an annual policy breakfast to be held on October 29, 2014.  Juana Bordas — award-winning author of  The Power of Latino Leadership: Culture, Inclusion, and Contribution and  Salsa, Soul and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age — will provide the keynote address. 


  

Korean American Bar Association Chicago

The Korean American Bar Association Chicago appointed Franczek Radelet attorney  Sunghee Sohn to serve as secretary of the organization for a 2014-2016 term. The new KABA leadership was selected from a record-breaking number of highly qualified applicants. The new board members' term will begin after they are installed during a ceremony to be held during KABA's 21st Annual Banquet on October 25, 2014. Franczek Radelet is one of the sponsors of this event.


Chicago's Inaugural Ethiopia Fest

On September 13, 2014, nearly 400 people came out to Chicago's inaugural Ethiopia Fest on the city's north side, including Franczek Radelet legal assistant, Tracey King, who was in three choreographed dances – one for each region of Ethiopia. The dances were Eskista, Tigrinya, and Guragigna/Gojam.


Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC) 

On August 28, 2014, Franczek Radelet parnter and Firm Diversity Officer Michael Hernandez attended the 2014 Make the Connection! Hispanic Business Expo hosted by the Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC). IHCC is the leading Hispanic business, networking, advocacy, and development organization in the state of Illinois. IHCC works with business owners, providing unique and strategic one-on-one services designed to help businesses thrive and grow. 


  

Equality Illinois

In August 2014, Franczek Radelet was selected by Equality Illinois for the third consecutive year as one of the top Illinois law firms for LGBT inclusiveness and equality. Several Chicago law firms were honored based on the results of the Equality Illinois 2014 Law Firm Survey.


  

Celebrating the Cultural Diversity of Chicago Luncheon

On July 17, 2014, Franczek Radelet welcomed Jason Lesniewicz of Choose Chicago at its Celebrating the Cultural Diversity of Chicago Luncheon. The event was hosted at a local park, and Jason provided the firm a historical overview of the many Chicago neighborhoods as well as a preview of the city's initiatives on tourism. In 2012 the Chicago Office of Tourism and the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau was consolidated into Choose Chicago, and Jason became the Cultural Tourism Manager of Neighborhoods. In his role, he has helped create the content for Choose Chicago’s robust neighborhood microsite within Choose Chicago’s website. Jason continues to promote Chicago’s neighborhoods as the heart and soul of Chicago to regional, national and international guests.


  

Law Firm Diversity: The New Standard of Workplace Excellence

Partners Edward N. Druck and Michael J. Hernandez co-authored the article, "Law Firm Diversity: The New Standard of Workplace Excellence," in Bar Briefs published by the Kane County Bar Association (April 2014). The article outlines how most law firms define diversity, why diversity is important in law firms, how firms might consider launching firm-wide diversity initiatives, and how Franczek Radelet began its diversity efforts and its successes thus far in the area of diversity. 


  

North American South Asian Bar Association (NASABA)

Franczek Radelet sponsored the SABA of North America 11th Annual Convention "Elevating the Bar" (June 2014). SABA provides a vital link between South Asian lawyers and the South Asian community across North America. As a bar association, SABA affords North American South Asian lawyers a recognized forum for professional growth and advancement. The IABA is the SABA's Chicago chapter.


  

Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois

On June 17, 2014, 2014 LEADS Fellow Susan Esquivel attended the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois’ 2014-2014 Board Induction Ceremony and Presentation of the JD Mentor Scholarships. 


  

NIJC Human Rights Awards Luncheon

On June 12, 2014, Franczek Radelet attorney Sunny Sohn and the 2014 LEADS Fellows Nicholas Simpson and Susan Esquivel attended the 15th Annual Human Rights Awards hosted by Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). The event celebrated the contributions of the legal community to immigrant justice. Federal Magistrate Judge Young B. Kim introduced the keynote speaker, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, filmmaker, and founder of Define American, Jose Antonio Vargas, who accepted the Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Award for his continued efforts to raise awareness surrounding the plight of the undocumented. He wrote and directed the documentary film, Documented, which chronicles his own experience as an undocumented immigrant living in the United States and will air on CNN this summer. 


  

National Latino Education Institute - Inspiring Success | Changing Lives

On June 10, 2014, Franczek Radelet's Diversity Officer Michael Hernandez attended the 42nd Anniversary Annual Dinner, "Inspiring Success & Changing Lives," for the National Latino Education Institute. Michael serves on the Board of Directors for the National Latino Education Institute which defines its mission as enhancing the lives of Latinos through educational, vocational, and employment services, and through advocacy, thus enabling the achievement of economic independence.  


  

National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)

On May 28, 2014, Franczek Radelet attorney Shelli Anderson attended the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL)®'s annual program, The Pipeline to Equity Partnership (P2P): The Skills, Strategies and Stumbling Blocks Women Lawyers Encounter on Their Path to Reach Equity Status which was held at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  This program offers women attorneys with hands-on learning, insights, and guidance from distinguished panel members on the new skills, strategies, and priorities that women lawyers need to become productive business owners in their firms.   


  

Chicago Sinfonietta's 2014 Ball

Franczek Radelet sponsored the Chicago Sinfonietta's 2014 Ball that was held in May 2014. The Chicago Sinfonietta strives to serve as a national model for inclusiveness and innovation in classical music through the presentation of the highest quality orchestral concerts and related programs.

 

  
Franczek Radelet is involved and sponsors various organizations, some of which are listed above. This involvement is one of the many ways the firm celebrates diversity and inclusion. This support does not mean the firm shares or endorses the views or opinions of any one of these organizations.