Nominating Clients for Legal Industry Awards: Call for Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards Submissions Now Open
- Posted by Leslie Valenza
- On January 21, 2022
- award nominations, awards, Chambers, Chambers and Partners, Chambers submissions, diversity, diversity and inclusion
Last year, we introduced a series discussing opportunities for law firms to acknowledge client partnerships as part of their client service and business development-oriented public relations initiatives. Among the industry’s most renowned accolades are the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America, an annual program celebrating the achievements of firms, legal departments and individuals who are advancing diversity and inclusion across the United States and Canada.
Chambers D&I is seeking nominations across eight U.S. private practice and five in-house categories, including:
- D&I – Future Leader, Lawyer of the Year, Company of the Year, Outstanding Firm and Outstanding Contribution;
- Corporate Social Responsibility – Lawyer of the Year and Company of the Year;
- Pro Bono – Lawyer of the Year and Outstanding Firm;
- Veterans Advancement – Outstanding Firm; and
- Environment & Sustainability – Outstanding Firm.
Not only does Chambers D&I present an opportunity for law firms to honor clients, but nominating in-house legal teams actually is a requirement to pursue the private practice categories. Each law firm that makes a submission must also nominate at least one in-house legal team and / or in-house lawyer.
Other important submission guidelines include:
- Nominations must meet the 1,000-word limit to be considered.
- Chambers D&I operates on a point system (explained further on its blog), with the highest overall marks considered for a shortlist.
- Nominations must cover one, some or all aspects of diversity, including but not limited to age, faith, social mobility, gender, disabilities, sexual orientation, ethnicity, veterans, pro bono and environment and sustainability.
Earning recognition among elite Chambers D&I honorees has become a coveted position within the legal industry, and we expect competition to be particularly fierce in 2022.
Here are a few best practices to help strengthen your submissions:
- Demonstrate impact. For individual categories, merely leading a DEI committee is unlikely to wow Chambers’ judges and researchers. Chambers looks for data or qualitative evidence demonstrating how a leader has made tangible progress in advancing diversity and inclusion. Be specific and thorough in your analysis of the progress that has been made under their leadership, including what goals an individual has identified, what changes they have implemented and what progress has been made as a result.
- Demonstrate originality. If you are nominating a program that is in its infancy, emphasize its innovative approach. Demonstrate the process by which the program was developed, the solution it provides to overcome a particular challenge and the steps the firm or company will take to continue addressing that challenge. Again, provide supporting evidence showing the impact the program is projected to have on a firm, company or the industry.
- Demonstrate advancement. As Chambers recommends in its guidelines, emphasize “the degree to which the work advanced diversity and inclusion in terms of recruitment, retention and promotion as well as organizational, procedural and structural change.” As Chambers also notes, for the pro bono, veterans, corporate social responsibility, and environment and sustainability categories, demonstrate “the degree to which the named cause is advanced.” In other words, a new program may not resolve a systemic societal problem entirely but show how it has helped further a cause that combats the problem.
As you work to identify your strongest candidates for the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards, consider the following questions:
- What problem does this person or program address?
- What result did this person or program set out to achieve?
- What approach or steps were implemented to achieve those goals?
- How do we know that the person or program was successful or is on track to be successful?
- What specific change has occurred as a result of those efforts?
Nomination forms for each category are available online and submissions are due February 21, 2022. Finalists and honorees will be recognized at an awards ceremony on June 9, 2022, in Los Angeles, California, and will be featured in a special report.