DEI Strategic Services



Partnering with our clients to build diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies that position organizations for long-term success through the development of inclusive cultures aligned with multigenerational consumers and talent—driving business success and elevating their brands.

Our DEI Strategic Services group provides our clients with legal, strategic, and practical advice to make transformational changes in their organizations. Watch as Rekha Chiruvolu, Stacie Collier, Kamau Coar, and Kendal Tyre share their perspectives.

Our approach

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategies have become essential to the success of any people-focused organization. Employees, clients, customers, and government regulators are setting new expectations for how these entities should use DEI principles to diversify their leadership, create belonging, reflect increasingly diverse communities, and live out their values in the public square.

Social and political discord often reveal immediate needs and systemic issues that expose organizations to legal and reputational risk. These are issues that will not be resolved with simple solutions, but often require a nuanced, strategic, long-term approach. Organizations of all sizes have made public commitments to broad-based DEI efforts, but many need guidance and sound advice to take their vision from conceptual to concrete. A successful DEI program has become a critical business imperative.

Drawing on the experience and skills of attorneys and subject matter experts across legal practices, Nixon Peabody has created a new cross-industry DEI Strategic Services group. We hope to help organizations address the full array of immediate and systemic challenges they may face. We work to strengthen an organization’s reputation with its talent and customers and, ideally, position it as a DEI model in the broader market.

While other firms can advise on the plain meaning and requirements of the law, our DEI Strategic Services group is designed to do more than merely help organizations state their aspirations or analyze their legal compliance. We can help clients wherever they are on their DEI journey—building programs from the ground up, responding effectively to rapid developments in their organizations, and proposing solutions for the long-term benefit of the organizations and their people.

Recently, we have advised clients on revamping their franchisee program to increase the diversity of applicants; developing DEI value statements, strategic plans, measurement tools, and formation of employee resource groups; diversifying their boards to align with state and NASDAQ requirements; and guiding companies’ compliance response to the federal government’s job posting and record-keeping requirements.

How we can help

Our three-phase approach creates a framework to begin solving any DEI challenge.

Phase I: DEI baseline

We determine a DEI baseline by assessing where the organization is on its DEI journey. This initial phase may include:

  • 360-degree diversity assessments, including interviews of stakeholders
  • Deep-dive analyses of profitability and demographic data

Phase II: Developing DEI best practices

We address DEI challenges by proposing immediate and long-term action items and best practices to address challenges revealed in the DEI Baseline analysis. This phase may include:

  • Advice and counsel for C-suite executives on strategic direction and goals
  • Consultation on leadership appointments and board seats
  • Creation of DEI strategic action plans to align with immediate and long-term business priorities
  • Comprehensive training and programming at all levels
  • Development of supplier diversity programs
  • Assessments of policies and procedures that may present a barrier or challenge to DEI (including strategies and protocols related to attracting and retaining talent)

Phase III: Implementing DEI changes

We establish an ongoing DEI framework to enable the organization to periodically self-monitor and review its progress toward its goals and build on those DEI successes. This phase may include:

  • Creation of a DEI advisory council to address issues as they arise, react to immediate needs, and provide feedback on DEI initiatives
  • Mitigation of legal exposure related to DEI-related claims
  • Measurements and methodologies to self-monitor and track progress
  • Development of protocols and best practices to measure talent engagement and belonging

Representative experience

  • Advised an international quick service franchisor on providing greater opportunities for diverse franchisees by reducing or eliminating barriers to franchise ownership.
  • Advised in the development of a diversity action plan for nationally recognized law school.
  • Advised a hospital system in the development of its diversity plan to ensure adequate patient care for a diverse patient population, which included the evaluation of internal dynamics and the placement of safeguards.
  • Advised government contractor clients on Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), helping employers who work with the federal government to follow OFCCP protocol, including advertising jobs through posting on diversity job boards, meeting certain requirements for their EEOC compliance, and moving forward lawfully. Developed clients’ affirmative action plan and programs.
  • Drafted a “how-to” guide for a supplier diversity program.
  • Developed programming and presentations on inclusive leadership, gender inclusion, and fostering equity in organizations for clients.
  • Collaborated with communications agencies on internal and external response to client DEI related issues/crises.
  • Defended reverse discrimination claims/suits.
  • Negotiated with DEI-related social impact groups on organizational challenges.
  • Advised on benefits programs and plans related to expanding fringe benefit offerings and wellness programs.
  • Provided ADA Title III guidance on customer disability accommodation programs and website compliance.

'Significant jump' in client inquiries leads to new diversity practice at Nixon Peabody

The American Lawyer | April 18, 2022

This article features the launch of NP’s cross-industry DEI Strategic Services group, developed to help clients advance comprehensive DEI strategies and address systemic challenges. The article quotes the group’s co-leaders, Chief Talent Officer and Providence Labor & Employment partner Stacie Collier, Washington, DC Corporate partner and Franchising & Distribution co-leader Kendal Tyre, and Chicago Labor & Employment counsel Kamau Coar, as well as Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer Rekha Chiruvolu.

Contacts

Kamau A. Coar

Counsel

kcoar@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 312-977-4422

Kendal H. Tyre

Partner
Co-leader, Franchising & Distribution

ktyre@nixonpeabody.com

Phone: 202-585-8368

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