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BigLaw Firms Unveil D&I Billable Hours

World Intellectual Property Review

28 Jan 2022

Richard S.J. Hung spoke to World Intellectual Property Review about diversity and inclusion programs in intellectual property law, noting that many leading firms still inadequately reward D&I activities such as mentoring by favoring more short-term business-focused initiatives.

“For example, many firms inadequately reward mentoring and recruitment of diverse candidates, instead emphasizing generations,” Richard said. “The effect is to encourage partners to focus on this and to leave recruiting and mentoring to others. Leadership at all IP firms must focus on recruiting and mentoring to keep the next generation of IP lawyers enthusiastic about IP law.”

He added: “It is difficult to find talented IP lawyers who enjoy the law, especially ones with technical degrees. It is equally difficult to retain talented IP lawyers, as other law firms and clients want them too. Mentorship is important to the development of diverse partners, as diverse associates leave the profession at higher rates than non-diverse associates.”

In addition to offering billable hours for D&I work, Morrison & Foerster has launched a global Allies Network to advance equity and inclusion at the firm, and a “MoFo Navigate” program to create a more tailored mentoring system for employees.

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