Hilarie Bass will soon depart Greenberg Traurig after 37 years with the firm to launch an institute for diversity and inclusion.
The venture will be dedicated to increasing gender parity across all industries, and helping employers develop new policies to make their workplaces more inclusive.
“I realized I have the ability to utilize my voice in a new way to move the needle in areas I am truly dedicated to and passionate about,” Bass said in a statement about the initiative, the Bass Institute on Diversity and Inclusion.
Bass made such work a priority during her recent tenure as American Bar Association president, which ended this summer.
One of her signature initiatives was launching a long-term study on why women leave the legal profession. The research project, funded primarily by law firms, is still underway.
Bass also spearheaded a new sexual harassment policy for the association.
In a 2017 interview with Bloomberg Law, Bass said she believed the legal profession still has much progress to make toward gender parity.
“I will know we’ve arrived when the average hard-working woman attorney can do as well as the average hard-working man,” she said at the time.
Bass, a trial lawyer, began her career at Greenberg Traurig as an associate before rising through the ranks and becoming co-president in 2013.
She has spent 20 years on the firm’s executive committee and was involved in creating the firm’s women’s initiative.
“As much as I love what I have been doing, having had the opportunity as ABA president to be an advocate for gender parity in the workplace, I became convinced that there is a real need for someone who comes from a position of power to talk about these issues,” Bass said in an email to Bloomberg Law.
“My leadership experience gives me credibility and a unique platform to be an advocate for change on addressing issues critical to women and minorities,” she said.
The institute will be located in Miami and have a “global focus,” according to Bass.
After launching, it will begin by consulting with employers to develop “granular recommendations” for how to increase diversity within the workplace, she said.
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