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
South Asian Bar Association of Chicago
The Firm hosted a CLE event and reception organized by the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago (SABA) on January 24, 2017. The event featured the University of Illinois College of Law’s new dean, Vikram D. Amar who presented “The U.S. Supreme Court: Recent and Upcoming Terms, and the Future of the Court.” We welcomed more than 30 guests, and Darcy Kriha, Jeff Nowak, and Hrishi Shah attended from the Firm.
South Asian Bar Association of Chicago
Franczek Radelet attorney Hrishi Shah has been elected to the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago Foundation (SABACF) Board of Trustees. Hrishi’s term begins on January 1, 2017. SABACF is the charitable arm of the South Asian Bar Association of Chicago. The foundation is dedicated to providing financial support, promoting pro bono work, and volunteerism that supports the South Asian community at large.
Negocios Now’s “Who’s Who In Hispanic Chicago”
Franczek Radelet partner Mike Hernandez was recognized by the Hispanic business publication Negocios Now in its “Who’s Who In Hispanic Chicago.” This year more than 150 individuals were nominated as leaders in business, healthcare, media, nonprofits, government, education, culture and corporations within the Greater Chicago area and the entire Latino community.
Chicago's Inaugural Ethiopia Fest
The third annual Ethiopia Fest took place on September 11, 2016, the Ethiopian New Year, on the city’s north side. Franczek Radelet legal assistant Tracey King performed with the band Magic Carpet. The event was organized by the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC), a non-profit organization serving refugees and immigrants in the Chicagoland area.
Equality Illinois Names Franczek Radelet a Top Firm for LGBT Diversity
Franczek Radelet is pleased to announce that it has been recognized as one of the leading law firms in Illinois for LGBT diversity and inclusive practices.
Equality Illinois, the largest statewide LGBT equality organization in the Midwest, distinguished the firm for its continued diversity initiatives. Franczek Radelet has continuously been recognized by Equality Illinois as a leader in LGBT inclusiveness in the workplace. The firm will also be included in the publication Raising the Bar: Law Firms Leading the Way to LGBT Equality.
Welcoming the 5th Year of LEADS Fellows
In the summer of 2016, Franczek Radelet welcomed its fifth class of LEADS Fellows: Gautham Ganesan, Thalia Pacheco and John Swinney. The firm’s Legal Education for the Advancement of Diversity and Scholarship (LEADS) fellowship program was established in 2010 to create a pipeline of talented and diverse law students in the Labor and Employment space. The LEADS program is an intensive eight-week program designed for diverse first- and second-year law students who have an interest in pursuing a legal career in private practice representing employers in labor and employment matters. A number of Fellows have gone on to have careers at Franczek Radelet, including Erin Fowler, one of the first Fellows, who is now an associate at the firm. Applications for the 2017 LEADS program are now being accepted – click here for more on the LEADS program.
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School 20th Anniversary Gala
On Thursday, May 5th Cristo Rey Jesuit High School celebrated its 20th Anniversary with a gala, attended by Franczek Radelet founder Jim Franczek and marketing team member, Edith Moreno. For over 20 years Cristo Rey has served low income Hispanic students by providing an exceptional education program and partnering with Chicago’s business community to afford its students career and life opportunities.
Edith and her husband, Omar Moreno, are proud graduates of Cristo Rey. Omar, a Chicago Police Officer, was featured prominently in the night’s festivities as one of the success stories, among many, of Cristo Rey’s graduates. The event honored the Firm’s friend, Jorge Ramirez President of the Chicago Federation of Labor and was attended by scores of prominent business and government leaders in Chicago.
Law360 Names Franczek Radelet as a Leading Firm for Female Attorneys
Franczek Radelet is delighted to announce that it has been recognized as one of the leading law firms in the nation for female attorneys by Law360.
In their 2016 Glass Ceiling Report, the legal publication designated the firm as a "ceiling smasher" - it's highest rating - because the firm has one of the highest percentages of female partners, ranking 22 out of more than 300 law firms surveyed. The firm boasts 35.3% female partners, while the industry norm is at 22%.
Read Law360's announcement here.
Diversity Lunch featuring Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India
On December 14, 2015 Franczek Radelet welcomed Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Consul General of India as a guest speaker as part of the firm’s regular Diversity Lunch.
Ambassador Dr. Sayeed spoke about the growth of the Indian community in India and in the Chicago area, as well as the activities of the Indian Consulate in the Chicago area and the interaction with legal and business communities. He also provided a historical overview of immigration from India and South Asia to the United States and Chicago.
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.
WNSA Fall Fashion Fundraiser
On November 11, 2015, the Women's Network of School Administrators (WNSA) will host a fashion show to benefit the American Association of University Women - AAUW. Join WNSA for its inaugural fundraiser benefiting the AAUW, the nation’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Come and invite your friends to join us for an evening of fun, fashion, food, and drinks at this Fall Fashion Fundraiser featuring volunteer models outfitted by stylist Katie Schuppler. Katie will style models in work wear, date night attire, and a casual look. With a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandise management and business, Katie is dedicated to helping her clients find their own personal style. Styles modeled during the event will be featured by Sara Jane Boutique. All proceeds for the event will be donated by WNSA to the AAUW and its fellowship and grant recipients who perform research in a wide range of disciplines and work to improve their schools and communities.
Korean American Bar Association
Franczek Radelet attorney Sunghee "Sunny" Sohn attended the Korean American Bar Association Chicago's 22nd Annual Banquet in October 2015. Sunny is currently serving as the secretary of KABA and was instrumental in the planning of this annual event.
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. Firm diversity officer and partner Michael J. Hernandez attended the Chicago United Leadership Breakfast, "Fueling Job Creation Through Minority Business Development," in September 2015.
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.
Insight Into Diversity
Franczek Radelet's Diversity Officer Michael Hernandez was featured in the article "Law Firm Diversity: Professionals Roundtable" in the July/August 2015 issue of Insight Into Diversity. Michael was quoted extensively in a Q&A discussion on diversifying the legal profession.
Kane Diversity Committee
Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (IHCC)
On August 6, 2015, Michael Hernandez attended the 2015 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.
Celebrating the Cultural Diversity of Chicago: Touring the Neighborhoods
On July 29, 2015, Franczek Radelet's hosted an evening tour of three neighborhoods in Chicago on a trolley. Members of the Firm toured Chicago while participating in a fun trivia game themed with historical facts on the city. They stopped at a location in Pilsen, Chinatown, and Little Italy to experience delicious food, drinks, and cultural offerings of the various neighborhoods in Chicago.
Latino Leaders Network Luncheon Series
On July 29, 2015, Michael Hernandez attended the Latino Leaders Network Luncheon Series at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago. The Honorable Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior for President Barack Obama, served as the keynote speaker and received the Eagle Leadership Award, which is presented as a symbol of vision, achievement, and commitment to the Latino community. The Latino Leaders Network is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to "Bringing Leaders Together" to establish relationships, build unity, and foster dialogue on issues important to the community.
In July 2015, Franczek Radelet was selected by Equality Illinois for the fourth 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 2015 Law Firm Survey. Franczek Radelet attorneys Michael J. Hernandez, Eric L. White, and Patrick M. DePoy attended the Raising the Bar Recognition Event. In addition, the Firm will be recognized for its achievements along with the other firms that support LGBT workplace equality in the dedicated publication Raising the Bar: Law Firms Leading the Way to LGBT Equality which highlights top law firms, publicizes the survey findings, and includes recommendations for firms seeking to increase their workplace diversity and equality.
The firm is also proud to announce Patrick M. DePoy recently joined the Junior Board of Equality Illinois, which was founded in 1991 to secure, protect and defend the basic civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Illinoisans. It is the state’s largest organization advocating for full equality for LGBT people in Illinois.
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 Roosevelt, CEO 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. Hall, founding 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.
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.
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.
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. Franczek Radelet partner Abizer Zanzi served as the NASABA Vice President of the Convention and led the committee organizing the event.
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.