Dec 7, 2020
Despite concentrated efforts over the last decades, the legal profession in the U.S. has struggled to increase the number of minorities in the practice of law. The American Bar Association’s 2020 Profile of the Legal Profession Report found that only 5% of lawyers are African American, 5% are Latino, 2% are Asian and 1.3% are Native American. Relative to their populations, these groups are vastly underrepresented in the field. The numbers are even worse in business law. While large firms have spent big money on diversity initiatives, these percentages have hardly changed in the last 10 years.
This is why Greg Phillips and Craig Kaiser, founding partners of corporate business law firm Phillips Kaiser PLLC, launched The Legacy Project — a program dedicated to not only hiring but developing minority lawyers in the corporate business law sector.
Greg and Craig are uniquely positioned to lead in this endeavor.
“We’ve worked in all aspects of law,” says Greg, who’s been practicing for more than 30 years and was the only African American on his team at his first job with a large firm. “We’ve worked at big firms and big companies. We’ve been law firm creators. We’ve managed lawyers. Through our experiences, we really put a diverse story on the table.”
Greg and Craig, who have also been practicing for more than 30 years, have worked together for most of their careers and have noted the minority disparities, specifically in the field of corporate law.
“Other than my own firm, I probably haven’t worked with more than five minority lawyers in my life,” says Craig. “This is something we need to address.”
In response to the growing cry for racial justice in America, Craig approached Greg this year with the idea of The Legacy Project. Providing general counsel services to mid-sized and large businesses, Craig knew Phillips Kaiser could make a difference not only in the legal field but for businesses who value legal counsel from diverse voices as their own organizations grow more diverse.
The Legacy Project is a program where minority lawyers join Phillips Kaiser while undergoing targeted training in standard-of-service requirements, personal and leadership development, measurable goal-setting, and more.
While many firms focus on hiring diverse lawyers, they too-often fail to retain those lawyers because they don’t feel their values align with what can be a very homogenous work culture.
With The Legacy Project, Craig says they will continue to build “a culture and an ecosystem that will allow lawyers to thrive, no matter where their career takes them. It’s really about developing the individuals.”
There’s a lot of talk about race inequities today, but Craig and Greg aren’t just talking. With The Legacy Project, they are tangibly applying their experience and skills to change the legal field as they know it for generations to come.
To learn more about The Legacy Project, visit us at https://phillipskaiser.com/the-legacy-project/.
Phillips Kaiser PLLC offers corporate business services to small, mid-sized and large businesses. To learn more, visit https://phillipskaiser.com.
Greg Phillips and Craig Kaiser are available for interviews.
Craig M. Kaiser
Gregory L. Phillips
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