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I, Joe Conroy, personally commit to the following:

Personal Commitment

As Cooley’s chairman and CEO, I commit to ensuring that Cooley is a firm that has the concepts of diversity and inclusion, equality and justice woven tightly into the center of our identity, our culture, our brand and our core business. I pledge to:

  • Ensure diverse representation among the board of directors and in all key firm leadership positions
  • Consider a diverse slate of candidates for all partner hiring and promotion decisions
  • Develop personal mentoring and sponsorship relationships with diverse talent
  • Further educate myself about the experiences of those underrepresented in the organization and legal industry
  • Regularly meet with underrepresented partners, diverse affinity groups and LCLD program participants
  • Dedicate time and energy to recruiting diverse talent at all levels of the organization
  • Identify, support and promote the de-biasing of core business processes, including partner compensation
  • Model inclusive leadership and allyship
  • Utilize my platform to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across Cooley and the wider legal industry
  • Consistently act as an agent of change

Organizational Commitment

These times call for unequivocal words and extraordinary actions. We must not just build a substantially more diverse and inclusive enterprise but articulate and deliver on our commitment as an institution to oppose racial injustice and address its deleterious effects on our people and our firm. To that end, I commit that as an organization we will enact the measures set forth below, as outlined in Cooley’s diversity, equity and inclusion action plan, which our board of directors implemented in 2020.

  • Drive accountability and incentives
    • Assign a partner on each leadership team the specific responsibility of DEI management within the department and practice groups to include succession planning, group management and inclusive staffing of client teams
    • Establish board liaisons to affinity groups
    • Establish annual hours requirements for lawyer participation in DEI initiatives effective January 1, 2022
    • Establish annual DEI Champions Award to reward and promote inclusive behaviors
    • Institute upward and peer lawyer feedback programs, with reports influencing compensation
    • Include DEI metrics into firm citizenship data during the annual partner compensation process and address the use of data in individual compensation conversations
    • Require compensation feedback sessions for partners whose DEI progress falls short
    • Institute a MansfieldRule-style initiative for professional staff hiring and promotions
  • Increase investment
    • Direct financial and personnel resources to a robust coaching program for high-potential lawyers throughout all stages of career development and advancement, with a focus on women and underrepresented individuals
    • Devote financial resources to implement all-lawyer training developed by affinity groups and focused on topics they identify as important to the goals of retention and promotion of their membership
    • Mandate inclusive leadership training for all those in leadership positions and require remedial coaching where appropriate
    • Incorporate DEI components into all leadership training efforts
    • Mandate anti-racism training for all partners, with initial sessions devoted to firm leadership
    • Require micro-aggression training for all chiefs, directors and managers
    • Expand reverse mentoring to match diverse associates with partners serving in leadership positions
    • Devote resources to bring our diverse lawyer populations together
    • Expand the diversity billable hour credit program to include all professional staff timekeepers
  • Strengthen recruiting and integration
    • Expand our 1L Diversity Fellowship by number of positions and financial commitment
    • Launch a 2L Diversity Fellowship
    • Expand our Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) partnership
    • Direct increased firm resources in an innovative way toward issues and initiatives that impact diverse populations at feeder law schools
    • Engage firm leadership in developing relationships with diverse talent often and earlier in their careers
    • Enhance the structure around staffing through the development of a formal program to better integrate and support development of diverse talent and to counter inequitable opportunity
    • Build the pipeline for women and minority lateral partner and associates candidates with more proactive search, recruitment and vetting strategies
    • Design and institutionalize more thoughtful integration around diverse talent hires
    • Increase pro bono engagement, including intentional staffing of diverse individuals
    • Offer reduced legal fees for diverse founders


  • I commit to hold myself, our board of directors and the firm accountable by striving to achieve the following goals related to these commitments: 30% racial and LGBTQ+ diverse partner representation on key firm leadership committees and in other leadership roles by October 1, 2022.

  • By January 1, 2026: Increase the percentage of women in the partnership to at least 35%

  • By January 1, 2026: Achieve at least 32% ethnic, racial and LGBTQ+ diversity among all lawyers

  • By January 1, 2026: Achieve at least 37% ethnic, racial and LGBTQ+ diversity among all managers and directors