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Diversity Recruiting Spotlight: Noah Kressler

Diversity Matters Newsletter
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Tell us a little about yourself and your practice.
I am of counsel in the New Orleans office and specialize in corporate transactions, finance and securities. Prior to joining Baker Donelson in 2015, I spent nearly a decade with Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where I was based in New York and London.

Why is it important that firms promote diversity and inclusion?
I am deeply committed to diversity, and diversity at a law firm – or any environment where client services are provided – is unique. Clients demand diversity among their professionals, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because when you bring unique experiences and perspectives to bear on a problem, a better solution arises. Our goal as lawyers is to solve our clients' problems while providing that "wow" level of service, and diversity is necessary to achieve that goal.

Tell us about your experience fostering relationships with law school affinity groups, especially LGBT groups.
For years I have been heavily involved in recruiting, from interviewing students on campus at a dozen schools to callbacks to ensuring those who extended offers accept. I also led the LGBT recruiting initiative at my former firm and worked closely with the director of recruiting to ensure that LGBT law students were being seen and recognized at the initial interview stage, and that those students were meeting with the right attorneys on their callbacks.

I also launched a successful program that hosted receptions with 1Ls at target schools to begin to foster relationships between the schools' LGBT law student groups and attorneys.

Now, as a member of the recruiting committee in the New Orleans office, I am working to replicate these programs and extend it to other affinity groups. Last winter, we successfully hosted cocktail receptions with LGBT law student groups at Tulane, Vanderbilt and the University of Alabama. These were very well received by the schools and students, and created a real buzz about our firm and commitment to diversity. In fact, several students who attended are going through the interview process with us right now. Next year, we hope to further extend the program.

What changes have you seen in diversity since you were in law school?
When I was first looking at law firm jobs in 2003, I remember there being real discussions at my law school and at diversity conferences about how much of your identity to share on your resume. Since then, these students are being heavily sought after by law firms. Career development officers at schools understand the issue more now as well. Most importantly, there is a critical mass of LGBT lawyers at firms to whom students can reach out for guidance.

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