Foster Swift's policies have changed throughout its history to reflect the changing work environment and progressive gender and racial politics. In 1983, Foster Swift made reduced hours arrangements available to accommodate the work-life balance for several women attorneys. These efforts to accommodate work-life balance have led to the success of many women attorneys who became shareholders in the firm after (or while in the midst of) a reduced hours arrangement.
The origins of our diversity initiatives go back over 50 years to when we first partnered with the University of Michigan Law School to proactively attract and hire attorneys of color. Since 1993, the firm has had an active Diversity Committee composed of associates, shareholders, staff and administrators. Since its founding, the role of this committee has been to meet and provide guidance to the firm’s Executive Committee for internal diversity training programming, policy consideration and community support. Additionally, the Diversity Committee closely monitors to pulse of DEI initiatives, both locally and nationally, in an effort to stay at the forefront of education, policy, and best practices.
Yet our firm is still evolving. We continue to seek out a diverse workforce and are committed to strengthening our representation of attorneys and staff of all backgrounds. At Foster Swift, we believe that a diverse and comprehensive staff enables us to better serve our communities.
In recent years, the American Corporate Counsel Association’s (“ACCA”) Diversity in the Workplace Statement of Principle has been integral to the firm’s value and efforts. The ACCA’s statement is a diversity initiative adopted by a growing number of our clients. The efforts made by the firm result in concrete actions—not merely good intentions. For example, in early 2021, Foster Swift hosted four firm-wide DEI training programs focused on workplace biases and conflict management, among other topics. Two more training sessions are planned for Fall 2021.
We are updating our diversity training and other efforts to meet our existing diversity goals and we will continue to set new goals as the needs of our firm and our communities change.
The Diversity Committee regularly hosts “Lunch and Learn” educational opportunities. Some of the topics covered include:
- Understanding the LGBTQ Community
- State of Diversity in the Michigan Bar
- Human Trafficking
- Bias in the Workplace
- Implicit bias
- Implicit association
- Intro to Gender Identity
- Five Generations in the Workplace
- Microaggressions in the Workplace
- Imposter Syndrome
Programs to promote work-life balance
As part of the firm's technology package, Foster Swift offers the ability to telecommute. Attorneys are encouraged to be in the office as much as is practicable, but sometimes working from home or out of the office is the best option. Prior approval for occasional telecommuting is not necessary.
The firm has also instituted a part-time policy available to attorneys who have been with the firm for one year or more on a case-by-case basis.