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Katten Enhances Law Firm Diversity Initiatives with Launch of Leadership Institute for Women of Color

Firm News | July 20, 2007

CHICAGO - Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is pleased to continue its leadership in the area of law firm diversity with the launch of its Leadership Institute for Women of Color, an internal program designed for female attorneys of color at all of the Firm’s offices. The Leadership Institute is the first program of its kind in the nation to proactively address the issue of women of color leaving law firms at a high rate by providing them with the tools that they need to ensure long-term success in their careers as attorneys at the firm.

Katten’s inaugural Leadership Institute will be held on July 24 and includes a daylong workshop, hosted by Dr. Arin N. Reeves, one of the nation’s preeminent diversity consultants and a key architect of the ABA’s 2006 study on women of color. The event will include a day of interactive workshops designed to assist attorneys from all of the Firm’s offices in growing their careers to their fullest potential. Topics addressed will include networking skills, career choices, internal and external visibility, maintaining personal strength and stamina, building support systems and marketing.

Featured speakers at the event, in addition to Ms. Reeves, will include Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Capital Management, LLC, Andrea L. Zopp, senior vice president, human resources, at Exelon Corporation, Connie L. Lindsey, executive vice president of The Northern Trust Company, and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business professor Tanya Menon Gandhi. Following the workshops, Katten attorneys will participate in a wine tasting with master sommelier Alpana Singh, host of the popular television show "Check Please!" and then attend the event’s concluding dinner.

"While progress has been made in recent years, the legal profession still struggles to retain minority and women attorneys," said Leslie D. Minier, founder of the Leadership Institute for Women of Color and Katten’s Chief Diversity Partner. "Katten has already made great strides in this area and has become one of the thought leaders among law firms for diversity issues. With the launch of the Leadership Institute for Women of Color, we are taking the critical next step toward bringing the retention rate for women of color in law firms in line with the majority population in the industry, and we hope other firms will follow suit."

Ms. Minier has pioneered Katten’s ascension as one of the nation’s leaders in the area of law firm diversity since becoming chair of its Diversity Committee in 2003. She assisted the Firm in crafting its initial diversity commitment statement and strategic diversity plan, and has led a number of national initiatives aimed at the promotion, development and retention of minority attorneys in the legal profession. These included the establishment of a firm-wide minority attorney retreat and firm-wide minority newsletter, "Connecting Katten." In addition to her diversity efforts within Katten, Ms. Minier devotes a significant portion of her time to endeavors aimed at promoting diversity in the Chicago legal and business communities, as well as nationally.

Katten Muchin Rosenman is dedicated to the achievement and promotion of diversity within both the Firm and the broader legal community. The Firm's National Diversity Committee is designed to address the steps necessary to accelerate the process of building diversity at every level within the Firm. The Firm actively supports and promotes diversity within its workplace through various programs, including the Katten Muchin Rosenman Women's Leadership Forum, which fosters career development and advancement and provides support, mentoring and training programs for the Firm's female attorneys, and its Minority Associates Committee, which is dedicated to the recruitment, retention and promotion of minority associates at the Firm. The Firm was also a lead signatory to the Chicago Bar Association’s Alliance for Women "Call to Action" this past year and is actively involved in the Chicago Committee for Minorities in Large Law Firms. These initiatives enable the Firm to better attract, retain, nurture and advance its attorneys at every level.

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