Thompson & Knight has a longstanding commitment to maintaining a substantively diverse and inclusive environment for employees and contributing meaningfully to the advancement of diverse individuals and women in local communities.
Thompson & Knight’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts are led by the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee (the Committee), which is comprised of the Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), Nichole Dotson-Olajuwon, Thompson & Knight’s Managing Partner, Mark Sloan, who chairs the Committee, and the Practice Group Leaders. The Committee focuses on the development and implementation of initiatives aimed at broadening our efforts in recruiting, mentoring, and retaining a diverse workforce of attorneys and staff; increasing the pipeline of ethnically diverse individuals and women in the legal profession; and making our communities better places to live and work for all persons.
Thompson & Knight takes its commitment to diversity seriously and maintains accountability through substantive efforts, honest self-assessment, and implementation of diversity and inclusion initiatives for all personnel. The Firm acknowledges that achieving a wholly diverse and inclusive culture is a protracted journey for which we are prepared and continue to reaffirm with each milestone we reach.
Thompson & Knight actively seeks and hires women and diverse candidates by recruiting at major campuses, including historically black colleges and universities, and participate in on-campus and job-fair programs which target diverse students. These programs include the Sunbelt Minority Recruiting Program; Southeastern Minority Job Fair; and Lavender Law, the National LGBT Annual Job Fair and Conference. Additionally, the Firm’s CDO is a member of the Firm’s Executive Recruiting Committee to assure that the Firm’s diversity efforts are integrated with the Firm’s overall recruiting efforts.
The Firm engages in direct outreach to diverse student organizations, programs and publications. Our attorneys participate in career development panels and programs at law schools such as mock interviews and mock trial competitions, and work in conjunction with affinity groups like the Asian Pacific Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Hispanic Law Students Association, and the LGBT Law Students Association. This “tour” increases focus on the legal pipeline and education for law students and further demonstrates the Firm’s strong and sincere commitment to not only practicing, but also imparting knowledge of the importance of diversity and inclusion.
Under a new initiative, the CDO and recruiting staff develop relationships with those key professors who serve as advisors to diverse on-campus law school organizations to assist in identifying diverse law students who may be interested in Thompson & Knight career paths.
Thompson & Knight is wholly committed to providing our attorneys with the support, tools, training, and guidance they need to succeed. We appreciate that our attorneys’ training and development is critical to our long-term success. Thompson & Knight’s Attorney Development Team is comprised of leaders across the Firm’s offices and Departments, including Chief Development Officer Marcie Davis and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Nichole Dotson-Olajuwon. The team focuses on facilitating integration of new attorneys into the Firm and developing and implementing successful training and mentorship programs.
During their first week at Thompson & Knight, new Associates and laterals attend an orientation that includes practice-specific training and meetings with Firm personnel on practice management, marketing and business development, new technology, and more. Each Associate is assigned a Partner mentor, and additional mentorship opportunities are available through the Firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Women’s Initiative Program. Thompson & Knight’s litigation and transactional Practice Managers focus on coordinating with Associates and Partners on the assignment of work projects and further integration of new attorneys into the Firm and their practice groups.
Thompson & Knight provides monthly programs and boot camps that not only help fulfill state bar continuing education requirements, but include intensive, skills-based transactional and litigation training tailored to specific areas of practice and levels of experience. The Firm also provides individual business development coaching and monthly programs for all lawyers on business development tools for success, such as developing a niche practice, social media, speaking and writing opportunities, interacting with the media, client service, and more.
Because Associates’ needs change from year to year, so does the training we offer. Thompson & Knight provides ongoing and systematic training and guidance throughout each stage of an Associate’s career. We provide customized training for entry-level, mid-level, and senior Associates to help them develop skills that will make them a successful partner. Our goal is to facilitate growth at every level to enable each Associate to reach his/her full potential.
Thompson & Knight’s Women’s Initiative Group, which is chaired by Partner Cassandra Mott, is comprised of all female attorneys and focuses on the integration of women into the Firm. The overall goal of the Women’s Initiative is to assist the Firm’s female attorneys in developing mentoring relationships and marketing opportunities to support their advancement and promotion. In particular, the Women’s Initiative focuses on the integration of female attorneys into the Firm, creating networking and marketing opportunities for female attorneys, and providing ongoing client and professional development.
A combination of meetings, professional development activities, and social activities provide support, education, and opportunity to our female attorneys. Further, these interactions also provide a forum to identify and discuss any new issues or challenges being faced by our female attorneys.
Thompson & Knight actively and purposefully supports projects and organizations that are focused on assisting and enhancing our communities’ diverse populations, including the Anti-Defamation League, Dress for Success® Houston, Dallas Women’s Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign, Mickey Leland Congressional Internship Program, and Children’s Defense Fund of Texas.
In addition to supporting the affinity group and minority legal associations in the cities in which we office, the Firm also encourages and supports involvement with organizations and events that focus on the advancement and inclusion of diverse individuals and women in the legal community such as the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Texas Minority Counsel Program, Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, National Black Pre-Law Admissions & Preparation Conference, Houston Bar Association’s Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Program, and American Bar Association’s Judicial Intern Opportunity Program.
Thompson & Knight frequently devotes time, energy, and financial support to organizations that provide undergraduate and graduate scholarships, ongoing initiatives to protect the health and well-being of children, and programs that focus on improving the quality of life and education of diverse students. Some examples of diversity scholarships that Thompson & Knight sponsors include Thompson & Knight Law Preview Scholarship—University of Houston; Thompson & Knight LLP Diversity Scholarship University of Texas; Dallas Hispanic Bar Association Scholarship; JL Turner Legal Foundation Scholarship; Dallas Urban Debate Alliance Scholarship; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Tejano Scholarship; Houston Hispanic Bar Association Scholarship; and Spouses of Houston Barristers Scholarship.