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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

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. 

 


 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.

 


 

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.

 


 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.  

 


 Public Relations/Crisis Communication Best Practice: WNSA Winter 2015 Event

On January 21, 2015, the Women's Network of School Administrators (WNSA) hosted its Winter 2015 Event. Panelists Jeff Arnett, Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Community Outreach, and Morgan DeLack, Director of Communications of Barrington CUSD 220, Holly Bartecki, Senior Vice President from Jasculca Terman Strategic Communications (JT), and Jodi Bryant, Director of HR and Public Relations from Homewood Flossmoor HSD 233, addressed the topic of dealing with the media and responding to crisis. The panel was moderated by Franczek Radelet partner Darcy Kriha.

 


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.


  

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). 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.

 

  

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.


  

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. 


  
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.