Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
At Vorys, diversity, equity and inclusion are not only long-standing core values, but also key strategic priorities. We are a better, stronger firm, and more effective legal and business partners when we recognize the value of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. We work each day to create an inclusive, equitable culture in which everyone can feel meaningfully included in the entire firm experience, including enjoying a genuine sense of belonging and equal access to professional opportunities.
Women In Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) Gold Standard Certification
Vorys has earned recognition as a Gold Standard Certification firm for the past three years by the Women In Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) for its work advancing women into equity partnership and other key leadership roles, as well as concrete steps toward achieving greater gender equity within the law firm. Under new, more stringent criteria, Vorys is one of only 29 law firms across the United States to have earned the WILEF Gold Standard Certification designation in 2021.
Human Rights Campaign Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality
Since 2008, Vorys has been recognized as a top LGBTQ+-friendly workplace. The firm has received an equality score of 100 (out of a possible 100) in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for the fourth year in a row.
Mansfield 4.0 Certified
Vorys achieved Mansfield Certification from Diversity Lab after completing the Mansfield Rule 4.0 program from July 2020-July 2021. The Mansfield Rule measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30% women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for a variety of positions, including leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, senior lateral positions, succession planning, and formal client pitch opportunities. The goal of the Mansfield Rule is to improve the representation of diverse lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of candidates considered for these opportunities. Vorys will soon wrap up our Mansfield Rule 5.0 participation, which runs from July 2021-July 2022, and will participate in Mansfield Rule 6.0 as well. As a Mansfield Certified firm, we highly value diverse hiring and advancement.
Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Pledge
Vorys has publicly pledged its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to implementing organizational changes that are specific, meaningful, and measurable through the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) Leaders at the Front Initiative. Read our pledge here.
Outstanding Contribution to the Advancement of Diversity in the Legal Profession
In 2019, Jolie Havens, Vorys’ Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, was selected from 14 finalists nationally as the winner of the Chambers and Partners 2019 “Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Diversity in the Legal Profession” Award. Ms. Havens has also been recognized with multiple awards from the National Diversity Council.
- Advancing ourDiversity, Equity and Inclusion Goals
Demonstrating our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Vorys has implemented or expanded a number of programs and initiatives to advance our DEI strategy. Learn more about these programs in our 2019-2021 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Report.
Vorys Affinity and Advocacy Groups
Vorys Women's Network
The Vorys Women’s Network (VWN) is focused on the development, retention, and advancement of women at the firm. The VWN serves a dual purpose: it provides both advocacy and affinity for our female lawyers. The VWN is supported by a Council of female partners and associates in each of our nine offices, designed to build a pipeline of female leaders at Vorys. The Council leads and supports the VWN Co-Chairs with a variety of programs throughout the year including: office-specific programs covering topics such as career management, client development, networking, mentoring, leadership and community involvement; networking events with firm leadership, alumni, clients and friends of the firm; an Annual Women’s Summit which brings together women from across the firm to learn from and connect with each other, as well as guest speakers, clients and community leaders; and support of local, regional and national organizations and events geared toward the success of women in law and business. For more information, contact VWN Co-Chairs, Colleen Devanney or Sachiyo Peterson.
The Vorys Diversity Network
The Vorys Diversity Network (VDN) is a dedicated space where our racially and ethnically-diverse, LGBTQ+ and differently-abled lawyers can build community, promote the professional and leadership development of the firm’s underrepresented groups, and leverage their perspectives and experiences to support and advance broader firm initiatives. The VDN has both affinity and advocacy components and is also supported by a Council to build our pipeline of diverse leaders who assist with annual roundtables and firm DEI education. The VDN’s signature event is the firm’s annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Summit which brings together all of our diverse attorneys and summer associates with firm leaders for professional development, fellowship, and networking. For more information, contact VDN Chair, Janay Stevens.
Client and Community Engagement
Vorys Initiative for Business Empowerment
The Vorys Initiative for Business Empowerment provides legal support for minority-owned businesses. Our goal is to help create a strong legal foundation that allows our clients to navigate the challenges associated with business ownership. By providing legal services at no or low cost, and delivering valuable educational content and training, we facilitate the development of minority-owned businesses from inception to maturity and through succession.
Hockey Is For Everyone
Vorys is the official corporate and business law partner of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Hockey Is For Everyone Night, a partnership that developed in recognition of our history with the team and our shared commitment to the Columbus community and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Hockey Is for Everyone Night is a celebration of diversity and inclusion that uses the game of hockey to drive positive social change and foster more inclusive communities. For more information on Hockey Is For Everyone, see here.
Vorys Initiative for Diversity in Intellectual Property (IP)
As part of Vorys commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Vorys launched the Vorys Initiative for Diversity in IP, a program designed to help clients who are looking to break down barriers and increase diversity in the company’s innovation ecosphere including diversifying the pool of talent and inventors in IP. One of the initiative’s goal is to help clients address the issues they can control and create initiatives designed to improve the diversity of the company’s innovation ecosphere over time. For more information, please contact Carey Jordan.
Gender Equity in the Legal Industry
Gender Equity in the Legal Industry (GELI) is a forum where law firms in the Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio market come together for a program centered-around discussions of gender equity. The concept began with the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio’s Gender By Us gender norms toolkit upon the toolkit’s release to the community in 2016. Vorys has been a founding firm since GELI’s inception. The two key aspects of GELI that all participants implicitly agreed to, and contribute to its success, are that participating firms act collaboratively and set aside the competitive notions to advance the larger agenda, and each firm’s Managing Partner and firm leadership support for the initiative. Each firm has encouraged a range of its talent to contribute to the dialogue. In addition to inviting the law firms’ members and their clients, the programs also include leadership of the local and state bars and local law schools, all of whom have conducted their own initiatives around diversity, equity and the advancement of women in the profession.
Jolie Havens, partner and chief diversity & inclusion officer, email@example.com