Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative Recognized Among 18 National Organizations in Inaugural List

Bass, Berry & Sims is pleased to announce its recognition by Profiles in Diversity Journal with the publication’s inaugural Diversity Team Award. The Diversity Team Award recognizes the talented and dedicated team members whose work supports and advances diversity and inclusion within their respective industries, as well as showcases the inclusivity that diverse individuals, working together as a team represent. Winners will be profiled in the 2020 spring issue of Profiles in Diversity Journal.

“Our entire firm is our diversity team, as we are all ambassadors, allies and active participants in our inclusion and diversity initiatives and programs,” said Michele Bendekovic, director of diversity and inclusion at Bass, Berry & Sims. “Fairness, equal opportunity and responsibility guide us in building and sustaining a firm and culture that is inclusive and diverse. Embracing these principles strengthens who we are as a firm and enhances the services we provide to our clients and our communities, which is especially important as communities and businesses navigate unprecedented challenges in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The firm’s executive committee drives the effort to build and sustain an inclusive culture, including adopting a strategic plan for inclusion and diversity that contains five core components – leadership, culture, advancement, recruiting and communications.

The firm has also established affinity groups to build and sustain a culture of inclusion and communication. An executive committee member serves as a liaison to each group to tap into distinct experiences of diverse individuals and elevate their insights to the highest level of the firm. This framework enables the firm to foster a sense of community, identity and address unique challenges so the firm can come together with open dialogue.

To address the need for long-term commitment to address challenges in diversity and inclusion, Bass, Berry & Sims has also sought out partnerships with education and community organizations to help create early opportunities to develop young people of all backgrounds and encourage them to consider a path in law. For example, the firm established an endowment with the University of Tennessee College of Law to expand its reach to diverse students through financial support and mentorship from attorneys at the firm.

In addition to this honor, the firm has received a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index during the past three years. The firm also ranked among Working Mother’s “Best Law Firms for Women” in 2019.

More information on the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and programs are available here.

Bass, Berry & Sims was one of only 18 companies that was honored by Profiles in Diversity Journal with the Diversity Team Award for 2020. The following 18 companies were recognized in 2020:

  • ADM International
  • Bass, Berry & Sims PLC
  • Dechert LLP
  • Fannie Mae
  • Ford-Harrison LLP
  • Greenspoon Marder LLP
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Mayer Brown LLP
  • New York Life
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Phillips Lytle LLP
  • Reed Smith LLP
  • Salt River Project
  • Elizabeth Healthcare
  • Tech Data
  • Ulmer & Berne LLP
  • University of Vermont
  • Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

“We’re delighted to acknowledge the successes and contributions of the 18 companies that have been awarded this new recognition. Diverse teams have shown superior results and innovations due to inclusive practices and behaviors,” says PDJ Publisher James R. Rector. “Recognizing the achievements of diversity teams with this award is another important step in the evolution of diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and an essential part of a global strategy to innovate, educate, and build a more connected world.”

About Profiles in Diversity Journal

Now in its 22nd year of publication, Profiles in Diversity Journal is a quarterly B2B magazine, focusing on diversity and inclusion in business, government, nonprofit, higher education, and military settings. The Journal presents interviews, profiles, articles, and awards that highlight mission-driven leadership, best practices, workforce strategies, innovative ideas, and important individual contributions within the realm of diversity and inclusion. More information about the Journal can be found here.