When Dechert unveiled a new parental leave policy in 2018, expanding its allowance for both men and women while knocking down distinctions between attorneys and business service professionals, leaders wanted to make sure that managers within the firm took the right message.
So they turned to Steps, a London-based organisation they’d been using since earlier that year that harnesses dramatic performance to teach lessons about unconscious bias. The first step after they were brought on board was to perform an opening evaluation.
“They concluded that we are basically a good firm—without outliers engaged in inappropriate behavior—but that we had a lot of implicit bias on things,” said Dechert chairman Andrew Levander.
“They also concluded that like the industry, we faced the issue of implicit bias: Do people more comfortably select Bob over Joanie to work on a matter? Those are the kind of things that we need to grapple with and we are grappling with,” he continued.
To hear New York-based Levander tell it, the ongoing Steps training, on the heels of a global diversity assessment at the start of the decade, is helping to drive an internal transformation. And the transformation, in turn, has been reflected in 13 female attorneys arriving via lateral hires in the last 15 months.