Law firm Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has appointed Lois Durant as its first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer (CDIO) in a role based in New York, US.
For the last three and a half years, Durant had been the firm’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) and Talent Management Strategy. Her responsibilities included managing their internal and external Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) efforts and the development of various talent management initiatives.
As Director of D&I and Talent Management Strategy, Durant helped create new professional development, talent retention, and D&I programmes, including establishing D&I Office Working Groups, expanding the firm’s affinity group programme, creating training academies for junior and mid-level associates, leading the associate mentoring programme, and creating enhanced evaluation processes.
Under Durant’s leadership, Sheppard Mullin has earned awards for its D&I initiatives, including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s prestigious Thomas Sager Award.
Another major accolade was given to the firm by client Starbucks Coffee, which presented them with its Law & Corporate Affairs 2018 Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Award, which recognises one law firm annually that “demonstrates true leadership in diversity and inclusion.”
In her new role, Durant will continue to work alongside leadership and Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair Rena Andoh to support the retention and promotion of diverse talent throughout the firm.
Before joining Sheppard Mullin in 2018, Durant was a key member of law firm White & Case’s Global Senior People Leadership Team and led the talent management efforts of all litigation practice groups, advising practice group leaders on talent-related matters.
Before that, Durant was at another major law firm Kaye Scholer, where she was Manager of Professional Development and Retention and worked with the D&I Committee to implement the firm’s D&I action plan.
In 2020, Crain’s New York Business, a platform for the business community, recognised Durant as a Notable Woman in Talent Resources. Her academic qualifications include an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and her B.A. from Fordham University.
Luca Salvi, Chairman of Sheppard Mullin, said: “Lois’ demonstrated passion, creative drive, and ability to lead others to become more inclusive with our programmes and initiatives have catapulted our D&I efforts forward as a firm. We are thrilled to see her leadership continue in this new role as CDIO.”
Durant said: “Sheppard Mullin supports and cultivates an inclusive working environment where attorneys and staff of all backgrounds have an equal opportunity to fulfil their personal and professional goals. Creating and implementing programmes and policies that support and retain diverse talent speaks to the core of our firm’s culture. I am particularly excited to step into this new role and to further innovate and challenge ourselves, our clients, and communities to do better.”