Diversity & Inclusion Counseling

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is an essential component of every company’s business. Organizations are being held accountable to report on the diversity of their organizations as a metric for overall business health.

Jackson Walker’s labor and employment attorneys are experienced and passionate about advising companies and their management on effective, legally compliant strategies to become more inclusive, welcoming, and ultimately more successful workplaces.

Our D&I practice encompasses and builds upon the Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action or Affirmative Employment legal services Jackson Walker is trusted to provide, and the services and training offered are tailored specifically with your organization’s goals, culture, and needs in mind. Our attorneys can work with employers and management to incorporate D&I concepts into a strategic initiative backed by a formal policy and/or plan to ensure your workplace enables workers from all backgrounds and experiences to work at their full potential so business can thrive.

The Benefits to Your Company of a Robust D&I Strategy and Plan

A lack of diversity and inclusion is bad for business. It promotes an unhealthy workplace by undermining morale, teamwork, and productivity; it makes it harder to recruit and retain diverse talent; and it can affect a company’s reputation and bottom line. Worse, a lack of diversity and inclusion can be costly for an organization in terms of legal liability.

A robust, successful D&I plan allows employers to foster a more welcoming workplace that respects and celebrates differences among employees and teaches employees how to collaborate while embracing diverse perspectives and experiences. A diverse and inclusive workplace is a business imperative and essential for optimal performance, which leads to real financial gains for companies.

Diversity & Inclusion Programs: Why, How, and When They Work

Download our summary of Diversity & Inclusion programs to learn the key components of success and important considerations for your business.

Practice Category

To achieve your D&I goals and objectives, we provide the following services:

  • Advice and counseling
  • D&I culture assessments and audits
  • Workplace policy development and drafting
  • Individualized training to both employees and management
  • Development of training materials for “train-the-trainer” programs conducted internally by the company
  • Recommendation of third-party vendors who provide effective & specialized D&I services or training
  • Crisis management and planning
  • Targeted litigation defense

Further, our attorneys are well-versed in designing and implementing individualized plans tailored to your organization to improve the workplace and minimize risk. Our individualized plans may include the following:

  • Conducting Culture Assessments and Developing Goals and Metrics
    • We perform a culture assessment of your organization to identify any patterns or imbalances that may hinder the development or maintenance of a diverse and inclusive workplace.
    • We identify disparities and analyze the data to determine all issues and how to best determine success while operating under the attorney-client privilege.
    • Your managers can feel free to ask our attorneys candid questions about D&I initiatives and promoting legal compliance in your organization.
    • We then help your organization develop a clear strategy, goals, and metrics to address any disparities and to minimize risk.
  • Planning
    • Working with your teams, we develop a plan to reach your diversity goals and to revitalize workplace practices where needed to assure D&I success and to reduce legal and compliance risk.
  • Training
    • We develop individualized training programs which take into consideration your unique culture and goals.
    • We conduct unconscious bias training.
    • Our training programs incorporate the most recent changes to employment laws, and we continually revise the training to ensure your understanding of all laws and regulations is up-to-date.
    • Our experienced team of attorneys can provide training for your organization, or develop a program your organization can utilize to train its own employees.
  • Crisis Management and Litigation Defense
    • Our team will be with you every step of the way, from the planning stages through implementation and maintenance of your program.
    • We work with you to ensure your employment policies and procedures are up to date and take into consideration all recent changes to workplace laws and regulations.
    • We work with you on crisis intervention and management, and when needed, we provide effective litigation defense.

Our goal at Jackson Walker is to see our clients succeed. With a robust D&I strategy and plan, companies can demonstrate to their employees and the general public their commitment to D&I, and better attract and retain talent with a diverse set of skills and expertise to the benefit of its business.

Arturo Cavazos, Jr.

Arturo Cavazos, Jr.

Associate, San Antonio

Dawn S. Holiday

Dawn S. Holiday

Partner, Houston

Michelle Mishoe Miller

Michelle Mishoe Miller

Senior Counsel, Houston

Sang Shin

Sang Shin

Senior Counsel, Houston

Robert L. Soza, Jr.

Robert L. Soza, Jr.

Partner, San Antonio

Jackie C. Staple

Jackie C. Staple

Associate, Houston

Courtney J. White

Courtney J. White

Senior Counsel, Dallas

Dawn Holiday with Jackson Walker logo

September 17, 2021

Why Are Diversity & Inclusion Programs Missing the Mark on Meaningful Change? | Texas Lawyer

By Dawn Holiday

With the proper planning, training, assessment tools and periodic evaluation, effective D&I programs can inspire meaningful change toward diverse and inclusive workplaces for all.

Jamila Brinson with Jackson Walker logo

August 31, 2021

Jamila Brinson Discusses What Employers Should Know About Texas’ New Sexual Harassment Laws

With three new laws in effect concerning sexual harassment claims in Texas, Jamila Brinson spoke with Law360 about what these changes to the Texas Commission on Human Rights Act mean for employers.

July 27, 2021

Combatting COVID-19 Anti-Asian Violence in the Workplace

On May 20, 2021, the United States government enacted the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which created a “designated coordinator at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite the review of reported hate crimes and hate incidents for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis” arising from anti-Asian xenophobia.

Michelle Miller Fast Takes podcast

July 19, 2021

Texas Expands and Redefines Sexual Harassment Laws

~6.5 minutes | With three Texas bills set to take effect on September 1, 2021, that will expand and redefine sexual harassment, Michelle Mishoe Miller highlights the future impact of each upcoming law on the workplace.

Jamila Brinson and Jackie Staple with JW logo

July 19, 2021
Attorney News

Jamila Brinson and Jackie Staple Receive Board Certification in Labor and Employment Law

Jackson Walker proudly congratulates Jamila Brinson and Jackie Staple on becoming Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Only 643 attorneys in Texas are Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law—11 of whom are Jackson Walker attorneys.

Texas US flags Austin TX Capitol Building

July 12, 2021

Changes on the Horizon: Major Revisions to Texas Sexual Harassment Laws

By Michelle Miller

Effective September 1, 2021, laws pertaining to sexual harassment in Texas will be significantly expanded and redefined. This article highlights three bills signed into law that will expand protections to small business employees, extend the deadline for filing a charge, and ban settling sexual harassment claims with public funds.

Texas Capitol with Jackson Walker logo

June 21, 2021

Texas Legislative Update on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion-Related Bills

By Jamila Brinson
In the recent 87th legislative session, the Texas Legislature contended with several bills that address or may impact areas relevant to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives within Texas government, public and private schools, and businesses.

Office space image with Jackson Walker logo

May 12, 2021

Labor & Employment Dispatch: May 2021

The May 2021 issue of Jackson Walker’s Labor & Employment Dispatch features insights on recent executive orders affecting employers, COVID-related changes to paid sick leave, morality clauses in talent contracts, and more.

Jackie Staple with JW Fast Takes logo

May 6, 2021

Labor & Employment Actions in Biden’s First 100 Days

~10.5 minutes | Jackie Staple returns to discuss what actions President Biden and his administration have taken during his first 100 days in office.

The White House in Washington DC with JW logo

May 7, 2021

President Biden’s Recent Executive Orders Seek to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

By Jackie Staple

Back in February, Jackson Walker summarized several of President Biden’s executive orders and memoranda that addressed areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Since taking the Oath of Office, Biden has signed over 40 executive orders, a number of which touch upon DEI.

More Diversity & Inclusion Counseling News

  • Provide culture assessments to identify DEI gaps in the workplace, and develop recommendations to address shortcomings
  • Provide counsel on legally compliant methods to obtain employee identification data needed to assess diversity metrics
  • Provide counsel on the development of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action plans
  • Design and facilitate customized DEI trainings and presentations, such as the impact of unconscious bias in performance reviews
  • Develop company policies and procedures that integrate DEI best practices and ensure legal compliance with employment workplace laws
  • Provide immigration counsel for the creation of DEI recruitment, retention and promotion strategies geared toward companies employing foreign nationals to ensure compliance with immigration laws and regulations
  • Advise community boards on effective strategies to increase diversity of board membership
  • Assist in the development of employee resource groups, which are groups that provide opportunities for employees of similar race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or abilities to formally gather for social and professional development
  • Keep clients up-to-date on changes in employment laws and regulations impacting DEI in the workplace, and how those changes may impact employer DEI efforts

In addition, our attorneys are involved in the following DEI initiatives in the legal profession as well as in the community:

  • Designed and developed DiversePro, a community-focused lawyer directory that makes it easier for individual and business clients to find diverse lawyers with a specific culture, language, or life experience
  • Serve as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Asian American Bar Association, and in that role, provide support for the development of programming through the Association’s D&I subcommittee, which is aimed at providing opportunities for Asian American lawyers to be educated on cultural issues in the workplace
  • Co-founder of the Coalition of Houston Diverse Bar Associations (“Coalition”). The Coalition is comprised of the seven Houston area minority bar groups. Its mission is to advance diversity in the legal profession by increasing dialogue and interaction among bar associations; identifying areas of common concern and shared goals; creating and implementing initiatives to address common concerns and to achieve shared goals; sharing best practices and resources in bar association programming; and building shared platforms
  • Led efforts to develop strategies, policies, and practices to help increase diversity of federal judges on the Houston federal bench
  • Spearheaded effort to identify diversity and inclusion gaps in Houston Bar Association programming and developed recommendation to increase diversity
  • Developed and recommended programming to increase diversity among membership and participation within the Houston Young Lawyers Foundation
  • Chair the board of the West Orem Family YMCA, which is focused on serving the needs of a predominately Black and Latino under-resourced community through equitable programming and services

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