Insight Center: News

Pepper Hamilton Establishes African-American/Black Affinity Group


In support of the firm’s ongoing diversity initiatives, Pepper Hamilton is pleased to announce the formal creation of the African-American/Black Affinity Group (AABAG).

The main goal of the AABAG is to continue to foster the success of African-American/Black attorneys by sponsoring programming and other initiatives that promote: (1) business and career development; (2) mentoring and guidance; (3) recruitment and retention; and (4) networking and relationship building. The AABAG also aims to foster an environment at the firm that encourages participation in activities that are relevant to the African-American/Black legal community.

“The AABAG will serve as a resource open to all Pepper attorneys and professional staff interested in the recruitment, training, retention and promotion of African-American/Black attorneys at Pepper,” says Isla L. Long, chair of the AABAG. Keely James Stewart is the group’s vice-chair.

The AABAG is divided into four subcommittees:

Business and Career Development - focuses on opportunities, inside and outside the firm, for attorneys to develop business and positioning attorneys for advancing their careers.

Mentoring and Guidance - works on mentoring, skill development and navigating firm life.

Recruitment and Outreach - develops relationships with lateral attorneys; law students; and local, regional and national affinity groups with the purpose of attracting talented attorneys to Pepper.

Internal and External Networking - concentrates on welcoming all new members of the AABAG and building relationships between AABAG members and the larger community inside and outside Pepper.

The AABAG is one of many diversity initiatives sponsored by Pepper Hamilton's Diversity Committee to build and strengthen relationships within the firm between people from diverse backgrounds. This year, the firm also formed a Veterans and a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender affinity group. The firm’s women’s affinity group, “Women’s Initiative Network” or “Pepper WIN!” has been in existence since 2003. The Diversity Committee believes affinity groups offer many benefits including increasing the recruitment and retention of members from diverse backgrounds, greater opportunities to promote inclusiveness and cultural competency and open forums to address policies that effect change.

Pepper recently hosted its seventh annual Celebrate Diversity event on July 17 at the firm’s Philadelphia office. In June, Pepper became the proud winner of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association's 2012 Thomas L. Sager Award for the Mid-Atlantic Region. The prestigious Sager Award is presented annually to one firm, in each of MCCA's five regions, that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to improve the hiring, retention and promotion of minority attorneys.

Also this year, Pepper Hamilton earned Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), a designation based on how firms compensate women and integrate them in top leadership positions. Pepper is one of only 50 firms to receive the certification from WILEF.