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11 May 2020

Orrick hires senior JP Morgan lawyer to lead diversity push

Duane Hughes will co-ordinate firm's work on $5m Move the Needle Fund to improve diversity

Duane Hughes: 'I wanted to focus full-time on how we make inclusiveness actionable in our profession'

Orrick has hired a senior lawyer from JP Morgan to lead its diversity programme.

Duane Hughes is taking up the post of managing director of inclusion at the firm and will join its executive leadership team.

A key responsibility will be to lead Orrick’s participation in the $5m Move the Needle Fund, under which five law firms have pledged to develop programmes over five years to improve diversity and inclusion.

“We have long known Duane as a client and sophisticated thought leader, and more recently through his participation on Orrick’s diversity and inclusion advisory board,” said Orrick Chairman Mitch Zuklie.

“We know our clients do not want to let diversity slip on the priority list in the midst of this crisis – and neither do we.  So, we felt it was critical to invest in more senior leadership to advance the conversation with our clients, in the community and within our firm.”

Hughes, who will be based in New York, added: “As I thought about the next phase of my career, I wanted to focus full-time on how we make inclusiveness actionable in our profession.”

At JP Morgan he was managing director and senior finance and business manager of the Latin American Private Bank.  

Before that he spent nearly two decades in senior roles at Morgan Stanley, including COO of International Wealth Management. He also founded and chaired the bank’s legal diversity program.

He will work with Orrick’s co-chair for diversity and inclusion, restructuring specialist Lorraine McGowen, on the firm’s participation in the Move The Needle Fund, which is overseen by The Diversity Lab and is pooling the resources and know how of five law firms and more than 25 corporate legal departments.

Last week, Seyfarth Shaw unveiled a ‘coalition’ of representative groups to help lawyers and legal students from diverse backgrounds cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Belonging Project aims to provide ‘a comprehensive suite of professional development resources’ for diverse lawyers and students to counter the disproportionate impact the pandemic is likely to have on their career prospects.

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