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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

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.


  

Setting the Table for Your Next Career Move: WNSA Fall 2014 Event

On September 23, 2014, the Women's Network of School Administrators (WNSA) hosted its Setting the Table for Your Next Career Move: WNSA Fall 2014 Event at Seasons 52 Restaurant in Oak Brook, IL. The event included a panel including Dr. Margaret Longo of ECHO Joint Agreement, Dr. Kevin O’Mara of Argo Community High School District 217, Dr. Linda Hanson of School Exec Connect, and Dr. Lela Bridges and Dr. Hank Gmitro of Hazard, Young, Attea and Associates. Following the presentation of the panel, representatives from BWP & Associates and PROACT Search and the panelists facilitated smaller group sessions on resume writing, best practices on cover letters, and practical tips for job interviews.  


  

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.


  

LEADS Fellowship Program

In the summer of 2014, Franczek Radelet welcomed three LEADS Fellows: Susan Esquivel, Nicholas Simpson, and Kent Sparks. 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. More information is available here. LEADS Fellows past and present (left to right): Sunghee Sohn, Nicholas Simpson, Erin Fowler, Susan Esquivel, Kent Sparks. More information is available here.   


  

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). Franczek Radelet attorney Abizer Zanzi, member of the Indian-American Bar Association of Chicago (IABA), serves as the Vice President of Conventions (2014 Convention) for SABA of North America. 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. Abizer also serves on IABA’s professional development committee.


  

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 United Leadership Summit

On May 15, 2014, Franczek Radelet supported and attended "Making It Happen: Diversity and Inclusion Strategies and Tactics," a Chicago United Leadership Summit. 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.


  

National Latino Education Institution

On May 12, 2014, Franczek Radelet attorney Michael J. Hernandez  attended and participated the On the Table conversation hosted by the National Latino Education Institution as part of The Chicago Community Trust's 99th anniversary celebration that invited thousands of Chicago-area residents to generate new ideas, spark partnerships and shape a public agenda to build and sustain strong, safe and dynamic communities. 


  

WNSA Spring 2014 Event

On May 7, 2014, the Women's Network of School Administrators (WNSA) hosted its Spring event at Muvico Theaters and Bogart's Bar & Grill. There were 30 women in attendance. The event provided a panel presentation addressing school finance and business operations, including panelists included Park Ridge-Niles CCSD 64 Business Manager and WNSA member Rebecca Allard, Franczek Radelet attorney Ares Dalianis, and Eder, Casella & Co. accountant Shelly Casella Dercole, who has extensive experience working with school districts. The event also included facilitated table discussions focused on developing successful mentorships that are beneficial to both the mentor and mentoree.   


  

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.

 

  

National Museum of Mexican Art Gala de Arte 2014

Franczek Radelet sponsored the National Museum of Mexican Art Gala de Arte 2014: Suenos y Esperanzas (hopes and dreams), a one-of-a-kind event that brings together more than 650 corporate representatives, philanthropists and art enthusiasts.  The event was held on May 2, 2014. 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.


  

Black Women Lawyers' Association

Franczek Radelet sponsored the Black Women Lawyers' Association (BWLA) 2014 Spring Fundraiser held on April 17, 2014. The theme of the event was the recruitment, retention and advancement of African-American women attorneys in the current legal market. The panelists were respected current and former in-house general counsels.


  

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

On April 9, 2014, Franczek Radelet sponsored the 2014 Young Women's Leadership Charter School's (YWLCS) Girl Power Luncheon.  The event featured keynote speaker Linda Johnson Rice, Chairman of the Johnson Publishing Company, publisher of EBONY and JET magazines and parent company to Fashion Fair Cosmetics.  Sunny Fischer, former Executive Director of The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation,  was honored with the annual Girl Power Leadership Award for her profound impact on Chicago’s philanthropic community and for her steadfast commitment to the students of YWLCS. 


  

Transforming the Paradigm of Educating Children

Franczek Radelet sponsored the 2014 Superintendents' Commission for the Study of Demographics and Diversity Annual Regional Conference in March 2014. The conference, "Transforming the Paradigm of Educating Children," focuses on educator quality, student achievement and assessment, school improvement and working conditions.  


  

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon Celebration 

On January 20, 2014, Franczek Radelet celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a firm luncheon where legal assistant, Tracey King, recited her poem entitled “The Prayer of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” Her poem focused on King's thoughts before his infamous speech.  Tracey is known as an award winning international spoken word recording artist and poet. Her creative talent in poetry, music, rhythmic beats and song has emerged from a gift to minister through various genres.


   

LGBT Month

On August 1, 2013, Franczek Radelet celebrated LGBT month and welcomed Randy A. Hannig, Jr., Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois. Randy develops advocacy and policy approaches to advance the organization’s vision.  He works with legislators, agency directors, and staff to ensure that legislation and regulations at all levels of government impact the LGBT community in a positive manner.  Randy provided the Firm an update on recent developments in public policy and legislation affecting the LGBT community.


   
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.