Our 27 Fundamentals, known as the JW Way, define not only our values but also the behaviors that underpin those values. Those Fundamentals create our inclusive culture which embraces individual differences, life experiences, knowledge, inventiveness, innovation, self-expression, unique capabilities and talent that our employees invest in their work. Both our attorney and our support populations are racially diverse, are comprised of openly LGBTQ and individuals with disabilities. JW Way Fundamental #13 specifically directs employees of our firm to embrace diversity. It states “Celebrate our differences. Be aware of and address implicit bias. Be open to learning from others, regardless of their background or role. Be mindful that we make better decisions when we consider multiple perspectives. Hire, mentor, compensate and promote based on merit.”
Jaburg Wilk’s diversity initiatives are applicable—but not limited—to our practices and policies on recruitment and selection; compensation and benefits; professional development and training; promotions and the ongoing development of a work environment built on the premise of gender and diversity equity that encourages and enforces:
All employees of Jaburg Wilk have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect at all times. All employees are expected to exhibit conduct that reflects inclusion during work, at work functions on or off the work site, and at all other company-sponsored and participative events. We have mandatory diversity training each year.
Jaburg Wilk is committed to developing our attorneys and other employees. Our firm is a Lean-in partner. As such, we have created and supported an active Lean-In Circle at our firm since 2015. Frequently we discuss gender issues at firm meetings to raise awareness and educate. We have a formal mentoring program for our attorneys as well as mentoring groups which include Path to Excellence groups and Leadership groups.
In 2018, we formalized “My Track” which is gender neutral and allows our attorneys to create tracks that fit their priorities. In part it states:
“…. First – and most importantly – we care about our employees, and not just about maximizing shareholder income. We believe that living a balanced life is best for our employees, their families and our community. It is our purpose. While definitions of a balanced life vary, most would agree it means more than just billable hours. It means having the flexibility to spend meaningful time with one’s family and friends and investing in one’s community.
We strongly believe that this increases productivity in tangible and intangible ways. Attorneys who lead a balanced life – as they define it – experience lower turnover, less burnout and an improved work product. A compensation system not built around maximizing billable hours results in lower bills for our clients, more repeat business and more word-of-mouth referrals. The economics of law are such that our attorneys can be compensated fairly, and the firm can be profitable, even though we decline to follow the herd.
For years, the term “mommy track” has been used for professionals who choose to balance work with family commitments. It was a position that was viewed as “off the track” by most law firms, and meant significantly lowered or completely blocked advancement to partnership or shareholder status. If an attorney was “off track”, and working at an “up or out” law firm, the likely outcome was unemployment.
This is not how our firm works. My Track is gender neutral, flexible, not a career derailment, and open to all of our attorneys. We let our attorneys decide how they want to define their balance of life choices. Each year our attorneys develop a Personal Performance Plan. Many attorneys have chosen to devote less time to their career and more time to other priorities in any given year. Sometimes this is motivated by children, aging parents, a health challenge, a passion project, or just having different priorities that year. This does not put them “off the track,” unless that is their choice. At JW, even being off the track is an acceptable decision that our attorneys can make…”
Throughout each year we have ten educational meetings in which we discuss communication differences, having a seat at the table, leadership, diversity, implicit bias, mentorship, work/life balance, continuous learning and other topics. These meetings are mandatory.
Our firm retains and supports the professional development of women and disabled attorneys through the programs that we have discussed above. In addition to those programs, we provide the following: