On November 3, 2017, the law firm of Duane Morris hosted the Diversity Law Institute’s third national diversity event, the 2017 Diversity Summit & Awards, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. DLI Co-Chair and Program Chair Sheryl Axelrod put together a stellar line-up of speakers and presentations for the event. As with the DLI’s Diversity Summits in Atlanta and Chicago, speakers presented candidly on a wide variety of salient topics that invited attendee exchanges. The Diversity Summit & Awards was designed to educate attendees on serious diversity issues in a manner that would stimulate participation and encourage change in meaningful ways in the profession. This year the DLI designated law firm and individual winners of Diversity Law Institute Awards in a variety of categories for successes in their inclusion of women and minorities, as well as their efforts in furtherance of diversity in the profession.

The first panel presentation, Why They Leave: The Attrition of Women and Minority Lawyers from Large Law Firms was moderated by Tianna Kalogerakis, President-Elect of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, and included Sharon Rowen, Director of the film Balancing the Scales, La-Toya Hackney, Assistant General Counsel, TE Connectivity, and Sandra Jeskie, of Duane Morris. The second panel discussion, Driving Success by Designing for Organizationwide Inclusion: Moving Beyond Women’s Initiatives and Diversity Committees was moderated by Vanessa M. Snyder, The Axelrod Firm, and included panelists Shamina Sneed, Executive Director, Legal and Compliance Division, Morgan Stanley, Matthew Horace, CNN Law Enforcement Contributor, MWayneHorace & Associates, and Karyn Polak, Deputy General Counsel, PNC Bank, National Association. After lunch and Pennsylvania Fellow Sheryl L. Axelrod, The Axelrod Firm, Philadelphia, PA, presented Becoming a Change Agent: Tools to Become a Diversity Champion.

Following the day's program, diversity awards were presented to Sheryl L. Axelrod, The Axelrod Firm, PC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Frances Floriano Goins, Ulmer & Berne LLP, Cleveland, Ohio, La-Toya P. Hackney, TE Connectivity, Berwyn, Pennsylvania, Matthew W. Horace, CNN Law Enforcement Contributor, MWayneHorace & Associates, Easton, Pennsylvania, Sandra A. Jeskie, Duane Morris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Tianna K. Kalogerakis, President-Elect of the Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Aliza R. Karetnick, Duane Morris, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Dennis D. Murrell, Middleton Reutlinger Louisville, Kentucky, Karyn Polak, PNC Bank, National Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sharon Rowen, Rowen and Klonoski, Atlanta, Georgia, Suzanne Ilene Schiller, Manko Gold Katcher & Fox, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, Shamina D. Sneed, Morgan Stanley Legal and Compliance, New York, New York, and Vanessa M. Snyder, The Axelrod Firm, PC, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for individual accomplishments and efforts in the area of diversity. In addition, 108 law firms from among the largest 500 law firms in the United States also received recognition for diversity achievements, with presentations made to Duane Morris LLP, The Axelrod Firm, PC, DecisionQuest, Fish & Richardson P.C., Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, LLP, and Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP at the event.

The Diversity Law Institute (DLI) is a nonprofit international association of lawyers and law firms committed to diversity in all aspects of the legal profession and justice systems of the United States and Canada. Its purpose and mission is to advance the interests of women and minorities in the profession and to aid in the administration of justice wherever possible. Its current membership exceeds 3,700 private practice lawyers, judges, in-house counsel and legal scholars. Members are from every U.S. state and the provinces of Canada, and also include representatives from Europe and Asia. A more complete review of the DLI's mission, purpose, projects and origins can be found at www.DiversityLawInstitute.org/.

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