Warner’s Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Action
Our Mission. Our mission at Warner is to have workplaces that value and reflect the diversity of our clients and the communities we serve and to create equity by removing barriers to opportunity. We believe we each have a role to play in creating an inclusive culture where everyone can be authentic and enjoy doing their best work. When every member feels valued and feels comfortable speaking up and sharing different ideas, we generate innovative solutions that provide better results for our clients. (See our DEI Mission Statement here.)
Our DEI Action Committee
- Diversity means all the ways in which people differ, from different personal characteristics and backgrounds, to differences in ideas, perspectives, and values.
- Equity means equal access to opportunity and freedom from discrimination.
- Inclusion means belonging and being respected, valued and supported.
. Warner commits time and resources to this mission through our 26-member Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Action Committee, a diverse group including staff members, attorneys and firm leaders representing all of our offices, and including the firm’s Managing Partner. The full DEI Action Committee meets at least monthly to create, maintain and track Warner’s DEI Action Plan, a list of deliverable goals geared towards creating sustainable systems and processes within our firm to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Progress on these items is regularly reported to the firm members.
DEI Subcommittees. To set and meet identified goals in furtherance of our mission, the DEI Action Committee is broken down into five subcommittees, each with a particular area of focus:
- Leadership: To ensure that DEI is supported by leadership and the firm as a whole. This committee ensures that the firm’s DEI goals are clearly articulated, prioritized and acted on and that the importance of these goals is understood and embraced firm-wide.
- Communications: To inform the firm’s members, clients and communities of the importance of DEI to the firm and share the actions Warner is taking to make DEI an integral component of the firm’s business and culture (see our Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report for more information). This group maintains the internal information portal containing DEI Tools, relevant articles and information about community events and educational opportunities for firm members.
- Organizational Processes: To attract, develop, and retain attorneys and staff members who reflect the diversity of our clients and our communities (See more about our efforts here.)
- External Relationships: To invest time, talent and resources in organizations that provide services and opportunities to underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.
- Systems Measurement: To ensure the DEI Action Committee’s goals are met by documenting progress and measuring results.
Scholarships and Community Support. Each year, Warner invests in our mission by providing resources to support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the communities we serve.
Creating an Inclusive Workplace
- In addition to sponsoring diversity scholarships in the legal field and the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest in the Grand Rapids Public School District, Warner invests over $100,000 annually to support DEI-related programs in our communities (see more here).
- Our attorneys provide pro bono work to assist individuals and organizations in our community, and our firm members invest many hours of volunteer time assisting community organizations that support marginalized populations
- Warner is also intentional about using vendors from underrepresented groups in our supply chain, and we continue to expand our database of suppliers.
. WN+J is committed to creating a truly inclusive environment so all our firm members can come to work as their authentic selves, empowered and free from fear. In 2019 we hired Skot Welch of Global Bridgebuilders
to assist in the process of expanding our diversity efforts, with a focus on our firm values of Respect, Inclusion, Equity and Teamwork. Some steps we have taken during this process include:
- Providing Education and Training: We believe that education and awareness are important factors in creating a workforce that both understands and values diversity. To that end, we have instituted mandatory firm-wide sexual harassment and racial bias training, and incorporated DEI training into our onboarding process for new hires. We also promote and financially support the participation of firm members in various community DEI trainings and in our firm’s Diversity Book Club which meets regularly to discuss books that spotlight issues related to DEI topics.
- Holding Town Hall Meetings: The firm began holding regular Town Hall meetings in 2020. These forums are safe spaces to share thoughts, engage and learn during discussions on current DEI issues, social injustice, the needs of marginalized communities and other relevant topics. These voluntary events have been enthusiastically received and well attended. It is our hope that these forums help foster a culture where diversity of thought and experience are respected and valued.
- Removing Barriers: Warner is committed to identifying and removing barriers to diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace. We have revised our policies aimed at increasing the number of applicants and hires from underrepresented groups, and identifying candidates from underrepresented groups for current and future internal leadership positions. We have integrated DEI into our annual performance evaluations.
Warner’s Statement on Racial Injustice. Consistent with our mission, Warner issued a public statement regarding racism and social injustice (see statement here).