March 5, 2020

Kelley Kronenberg Launches Firmwide Diversity & Inclusion Program

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Business and legal communities are facilitating conversations about diversity now more than ever, but what steps need to be taken to make a workplace truly inclusive? It’s the responsibility of all businesses to put programs in place to effectively understand, interface, relate to and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. Fueled by the mission to be a progressive law firm, Kelley Kronenberg has created a Diversity & Inclusion Program that is open to all employees. It provides a platform for the firm to be inclusive in a proactive and meaningful way.  Since its launch, the program has already shown higher satisfaction and increased collaboration across the firm’s 10 offices.

“Diversity and inclusion is one of the largest initiatives within the legal industry, but there’s more to it than simply checking boxes. It needs to be a conscious effort,” said Michael Fichtel, Kelley Kronenberg’s Principal Partner and Chief Executive Officer.

Kelley Kronenberg’s Labor and Employment Law Partner, Alison Smith, will serve as the Diversity Officer and is chairing a committee of 10 individuals ranging from legal assistants to Business Unit Leaders, each representing a different minority group. Smith, who is of Jamaican descent and a former president of the Caribbean Bar Association, possesses a rich background in diversity issues and brings vast experience in this area. Caribbean National Weekly named Smith as one of the Top 20 Distinguished Jamaican Youth Under 40 in 2016, and both Legacy Magazine and the South Florida Diversity Council named her one of the Most Influential Women in South Florida. Additionally, Smith is a founder of Aspire to Inspire, a mentorship program created in partnership with Miami Dade College that is aimed at motivating students (the majority of whom are immigrants and/or minorities) to successfully complete college and positively contribute to their communities.

The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is tasked with seeking out and utilizing the employees’ diversity in ways that bring new and richer perspectives to the firm and its clients. The committee will also work to develop an attorney and senior administrative manager evaluation process to set clear expectations and accountability around diversity and inclusion.

“With our committee in place, we will also be integrating diversity and inclusion strategies in recruitment, leadership assessment and training,” said Barbara Repandis, the firm’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We’re not just talking about diversity, we’re taking action.”

Additionally, all firm employees are required to attend and complete annual diversity awareness training, to enhance their knowledge of the firm’s conscious effort to promote and support an inclusive culture.

Kelley Kronenberg’s commitment to diversity goes beyond the workplace, including several current and upcoming initiatives and community activities. Some of these include:

  • Celebrating Black History Month with a “Did You Know” series on social media and the firm’s Intranet that showcases black innovators, champions and heroes who contributed to American society.
  • As a grand finale closing out Black History Month, the company released an extension of their Conversations That Matter video campaign featuring the firm’s female attorneys of color talking about their journeys and giving advice to the younger generation. A new video was released each day during the last week of Black History Month, such as this one which shares why Alison Smith chose to work at Kelley Kronenberg:
  • Creation of the Kelley Kronenberg Law School scholarship program, a partnership with the Caribbean Bar Association where $2,000 will be awarded to three students annually.
  • Dedicated two spots to Minority students for the firm’s Summer Associate Program.
  • Sponsorship of events, such as the Minority Mentoring Picnic, the 17th Judicial Circuit and Broward County Bar Association’s “Black History Month: A Celebration of our Black Mayors,” the City of Lauderhill MLK Old School Music Celebration, and the Broward County Hispanic Bar Association Gala.

“We value and respect the strengths and differences among our employees, clients, and communities because they reflect our future success. Our clients, suppliers, and strategic partners are increasingly diverse and multicultural,” said Fichtel.

Kelley Kronenberg has made diversity a key aspect and feature of the firm, stressing sensitivity and equality as part of its culture and core values. The firm is ranked in the top 10 on the National Law Journal (NLJ) 500 Women’s Scorecard and was recently named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the South Florida Business Journal.

Due to its substantial growth, the firm recently built a new state-of-the-art, 35,000 square-foot headquarters in Fort Lauderdale. The new headquarters serves to accommodate the firm’s continued growth and facilitation of new programs.