DLA Piper supports BASF´s Global Outside Counsel Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Program
4 May 2022 – DLA Piper as a global panel firm of BASF supports the company’s Global Outside Counsel Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Program, which has recently been expanded to also include global and regional firms in additional regions of Asia Pacific, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and South America.
BASF originally started in 2016 to develop their Outside Counsel DEI Program, which analyzes the diversity, equity, and inclusion data of outside legal service providers. Outcomes of the analyses are leveraged to create more equitable opportunities for women and lawyers from underrepresented demographics; specifically, opportunities to participate in firm leadership, act as BASF relationship partners, and work on BASF matters.
In January 2022, BASF successfully launched the Global Outside Counsel DEI Program. Consistent with its foundation in the U.S., the approach is intentionally data-driven and action-oriented. As a participating firm, DLA Piper meets several criteria such as completing the BASF Global DEI Survey once per calendar year and jointly reviewing the Global Diversity Index derived from this survey, endeavoring for a steady and sustained increase in the overall number of lawyers with diverse background within the law firm and demonstrating commitment to the retention and promotion of lawyers with diverse background. DLA Piper also partners with BASF to train and mentor diverse lawyers so that they have the opportunity for significant client exposure.
Creating more equitable opportunities for under-represented groups in the legal industry is also at the core of DLA Piper’s diversity and inclusion principles, which focus on People, Processes and Purpose to support the firm's culture of enabling people to thrive, regardless of background or identity. Internationally, DLA Piper has set the goal to increase female partnership to 30% by 2025 and to 40% by 2030. In addition, at least half of all internal partner promotions will come from under-represented groups, including cultural heritage and ethnicity, gender and identity, disability and neurodiversity, background and social mobility, sexual orientation and people working part time.
Benjamin Parameswaran, Country Managing Partner at DLA Piper in Germany and Global Client Relationship Partner for BASF, comments: “BASF is at the forefront with its Global DEI Program. The positive change in DEI representation BASF is effecting within its own organization, coupled with a direct and collaborative approach to DEI with law firms is testament to its commitment to shifting the status quo. DLA Piper is proud to work with BASF on this considered, transparent and dynamic approach, which is also reflected in our own DEI principles and goals, where diversity in the legal community is not viewed as an exception or afterthought, but as a top decision-making priority across legal teams and the broader business for all.”
Matt Lepore, global general counsel at BASF, who has started the program in 2016 for North America and rolled it out globally after he was named global general counsel in May 2021 reflects on his six years of experience with the U.S. Program, adding: “Change of this magnitude is not possible without partnering with our valued and innovative law firms. I recognize with deep personal and professional gratitude the law firms committed to collaborating with BASF toward equity in the legal profession.”
The Global Outside Counsel DEI Program was developed by BASF’s global Outside Counsel Management Team, headed by Global Head of Legal Operations Andreas Vosskamp (Germany) and Sneha Desai (US), under the project-lead of Clemens Hartmann, with Heike Weber, Svetlana Shelepina (all Germany) and Sarah Zhao (Hong Kong).
BASF´s Global Outside Counsel DEI Program complements BASF Legal, Compliance & Insurance’s strong focus and efforts on DEI with a dedicated DEI group headed by Caroline Onyango-Dyregaard (Denmark).