In Their Words

Andrew H. Bart

Partner

I am the co-chair of the Content, Media & Entertainment practice group. I became a member of the D&I Committee because of the significant work that it does and the understanding that progress in achieving and maintaining diversity does not simply happen but requires the investment of time and energy.

Since joining, I have been impressed by the true dedication of the members of the committee and by the active leadership we have had from our chairs. The participation and leadership provided to the committee and its efforts by senior members of firm management speaks loudly about the commitment of the firm and its individual partners to this effort.

The committee engages in true collaborative dialogue and promotes all forms of diversity at the firm. From working to ensure top work assignments for diverse lawyers to engaging those lawyers in client development and creating client relationships to working within the law school community to encourage the development and opportunities for diverse students, the committee engages in concrete action to accomplish its goals.

This type of work is inherently ongoing. Its work does not end as progress is made. Even in a firm such as Jenner & Block where the success of women and LGBT lawyers in achieving top positions within the firm speaks for itself, the effort to promote diversity requires constant effort. The challenges in increasing the numbers and roles of lawyers of color is my primary focus on the committee and is a priority shared by the committee. From our work with clients to our interaction with practice group leaders to our recruiting efforts, the effort to promote diversity never stops.

Working on the committee has not only been rewarding due to the importance of the work or the successes to date. My experience at Jenner & Block has been enriched by interacting with the other members of the committee – most from other offices – and realizing that the cultural values that are so strong in the New York office are shared by the firm as a whole. Its willingness to devote resources and senior management time to this effort is the reason this work succeeds and is the ultimate testimonial to the firm's commitment.

Tobi O. Olasunkanmi

Why did you join the Associate Board of the D&I Committee and how long have you been a member?

Jenner & Block rightfully considers diversity and inclusion to be a core value; the challenge is in closing the gap between that ideal and reality.  Making progress requires genuine collaboration, investment, and courage – I joined the Associate Board three years ago to help those efforts.

What has been the most meaningful part of being on the Associate Board of the D&I Committee?

Being part of the incremental conversations and fine-tuning of ideas that ultimately become firm policy—from inclusive pronouns to ramp up policies for returning parents.  The best meeting of the committee I have attended was one in which a diversity initiative was deemed to be insufficiently ambitious, and a difficult but necessary conversation followed about how to improve upon it. 

What else would you like to see the committee accomplish?

Recently, significant efforts have been made to propose targets for the firm across various spectrums of diversity.  These targets are especially important given that diversity metrics tend to regress following crises, and real efforts must be made not to allow history to repeat itself following the pandemic.  A benchmark against which to measure keeps us accountable.

More generally, there is a challenge to figure out how to adequately incorporate progress on diversity and inclusion goals into aspects of firm performance.  As Mellody Hobson says, you get what you incentivise. 

Patricia Cruz Trabanino

How long have you been a member of the Associate Board of the D&I Committee and why did you join?

I joined the Associate Board of the D&I Committee in March 2020. I joined because I knew that the D&I Committee sets ambitious goals to make our workplace more inclusive and to foster diversity, and I was eager for the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues from across all offices to design and execute plans to meet those goals.

What has been the most meaningful part of being on the Associate Board of the D&I Committee?

I have found it incredibly rewarding to be able to share viewpoints, opinions, and suggestions that help enrich the Committee’s discussions and lead to tangible D&I initiatives. Seeing ideas develop into proposals, and proposals into initiatives that help the firm live its values, has been inspiring.

What else would you like to see the committee accomplish?

I am especially excited to support the Committee’s work in expanding the pilot sponsorship program. Research shows that sponsorship is an extremely effective way to support the development and success of the next generation of leaders at any organization, and I don’t doubt it would be equally effective at our firm. I would also like to see the Committee continue giving consideration to issues of intersectionality – it’s an ongoing, complex conversation, but one that is necessary to advance the Committee’s mission.

Ethan C. Wong

How long have you been a member of the D&I Associate Board and why did you join? 
I’ve been a member of the Associate Board for the D&I Committee since March of 2020. Diversity and inclusion has always been an important issue for me and I joined because I knew the Board took real steps to making structural changes that make Jenner & Block a more diverse and inclusive space.   
 
What has been the most meaningful part of being on the D&I Associate Board?
The most meaningful experiences have been interacting with other members of the Associate Board and the Committee itself.  It’s been heartening to see various people from around the firm—partners and associates—come together around important issues and discuss real solutions.  In particular, I’ve enjoyed being part of some of the subcommittees, where we’ve discussed topics like how to recruit more diverse associate classes.
 

ANDREW H. BART
Office(s):
New York
Law Schools(s):
Columbia University School of Law
Started with firm:
2006
PATRICIA CRUZ TRABANINO
Office(s):
Washington, DC
Law Schools(s):
Harvard Law School
Started with firm:
2019
ETHAN C. WONG
Office(s):
New York
Law Schools(s):
Yale Law School
Started with firm:
2018