The New York City Law Department is committed to recruiting, retaining, and promoting a diverse community of attorneys and support professionals. Diversity is a core value of the office and is fundamental to our success in representing the diverse citizens of New York City.
By the numbers, the Law Department is one of the most diverse law offices in the country. If the Law Department were compared to the nation's 100 largest law firms, it would rank in the top ten in ethnic diversity. Approximately 30 percent of our attorneys self-identify as Black, Hispanic or Asian. Approximately 60 percent of our attorneys are women and over 40 of our attorneys self-identify as members of the LGBT community. 8 of our 23 executive attorneys and division chiefs self-identify as Asian, Black, Hispanic, or two or more races; 14 of our 23 executive attorneys and division chiefs are women. You can learn more about the demographics of the Law Department in the Law Department's NALP profile.
The Law Department builds an inclusive and community-oriented workplace through recruitment efforts, mentoring, networking, professional development, and shared community service. Specialized committees play a crucial role in ensuring that these goals receive the highest attention. Committees sponsor office events, including speakers, and generate enthusiasm for the valuable diversity of perspectives within our workforce.
Some of the Law Department's committees and groups include:
Quality of Work Life Committee
Community Service Joint Sub-Committee
The Law Department's Committee on Diversity Recruitment and Retention has two central missions: to increase recruitment of diverse and talented attorneys to serve at the Law Department and to retain such attorneys by maintaining a high-quality work environment. The Committee is composed of a representative body of attorneys, who hail from the various divisions and offices in the department.
The Committee seeks to further its mission in three ways. First, it serves as a forum for Law Department attorneys to raise diversity-related issues. Second, the Committee analyzes and proposes concrete strategies to the Corporation Counsel that will further the goal of diversity. Third, the Committee carries out various programs and initiatives, including training programs, social events and other cultural awareness programs.
The Women's Committee assists the Law Department to foster its tradition of equality among attorneys regardless of gender, to raise issues of importance to women, and to promote a balance between interesting, important work and fulfilling lives outside of the workplace. It examines, advises on, and assists with the implementation of policies and resources that benefit women Assistant Corporation Counsels, particularly as related to increasing workplace flexibility. The Committee arranges events at which speakers discuss career advancement and professional development issues especially relevant to women, as well as events that highlight successful women in the law. Finally, the Committee serves as a source of information for women Assistant Corporation Counsels about Law Department policies and resources, professional development, and various topics of interest related to women in the workforce and women lawyers.
Examples of events the Committee has organized include a networking lunch series that brought together female Law Department attorneys at different stages of their careers in an effort to encourage mentorship, a standing-room-only talk given by the Hon. Judith Kaye, former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, and the Law Department's volunteer efforts at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.
The Quality of Work Life Committee serves as a forum for the consideration of issues affecting the development, retention and morale of all Law Department employees and promotes a working environment where all staff are respected and valued. The Committee advocates for better communication and greater transparency in office policies and management decisions. For instance, the Committee has encouraged divisions to adopt written guidelines that explain how time and leave policies operate in their divisions. The Committee has also identified professional development opportunities and makes recommendations for improving the morale of support staff members. A notable achievement was the implementation of Staff Appreciation Day, established to show gratitude to staff for their hard work by providing a complimentary breakfast for the entire agency. In addition, the Committee has organized various in-house trainings and seminars in conjunction with several other City agencies. The Committee has organized trainings for staff and attorneys such as an emergency preparedness training session by the Office of Emergency Management, CPR trainings by the Fire Department, a financial wellness information session by the Department of Consumer Affairs, and a health and wellness information session by the Department of Health.
The Committee also contributes to initiatives that create and reinforce opportunities for staff and attorneys to work together through community service events. We facilitated the creation of the Community Service Joint Subcommittee which organizes and promotes such events, such as participation in the Department of Buildings' Cool Roofs Partner Program and the Parks Department's Million Trees planting events.
The Law Department's Community Service Committee organizes community service events for Law Department staff and attorneys throughout the year. Past events include: MillionTrees planting events; Staten Island Bluebelt clean-up initiative; Food Bank of New York food distribution events.
The Law Department runs intramural softball and basketball leagues seasonally. The office also participates in a competitive softball league that competes against outside firms and other public law offices. Additionally, the Law Department has run volleyball, tennis, and soccer leagues. All staff and attorneys are welcome to participate in these sports leagues.