You’ve probably never heard of Kim Rivera. She’s not exactly a household name. But, the work she’s doing to advance diversity in the legal field and beyond is worthy of recognition. Kim is the Chief Legal Officer and and General Counsel at HP, Inc. She is one of the few women to head the legal department of a major corporation, and she’s Latina to boot, making her part of an even smaller minority.
Kim graduated from Harvard Law School and went on to practice law at top law firm, Jones Day, before going in-house. She worked for various corporate legal departments before landing at HP, Inc. where she wasted no time making clear that she was serious about diversity. In 2017, Kim sent a letter to all of the law firms with whom HP worked to let them know about the company’s new “Diversity Mandate.” As part of the new policy, HP would withhold up to 10% of legal fees invoiced by firms who did not meet minimum diversity staffing requirements.
For diversity advocates in the legal profession (me!), this was huge. This was not just talking about the importance of diversity, this was taking meaningful action and using the power of the purse to force the hands of firms who had long ignored the importance of diverse teams.
Kim speaks frequently about the value of diversity, particularly within a profession like law. Whether we realize it or not, lawyers play a critical role in our lives. They help to shape our laws in the courtroom, they heavily influence and create public policy, and the work they do quite literally shapes the society we live in. This is why it is so vital that the profession start to reflect the actual members of this society. We have a long way to go, but with leaders like Kim Rivera at the forefront of these issues, I’m confident we can make great strides. For that, she gets this week’s Friday Spotlight.
Feel free to share your nominations for Friday Spotlight in the comments. Have a great weekend!