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This Is What Leadership Looks Like: BigLaw Partner Leaves to Start Diversity Institute

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By William Vogeler, Esq. on September 17, 2018 4:02 PM

It's easy to see why Hilarie Bass is a world-class leader.

She had a stellar career at Greenberg Traurig, where she chaired the international firm's 600-member litigation department for eight years. As immediate past-president of the American Bar Association, she made it her business to work on equality in the legal profession.

Now, after 37 years, she is leaving her position as co-president of her firm to start a non-profit on law firm diversity. At a time when many top lawyers leave in disputes over money or worse, Bass is at the top of her game.

Diversity and Inclusion

During her term as ABA president, Bass focused on challenges women face in the legal workplace. A survey last year showed that women of color faced the most bias.

Based on her experience, she decided to launch The Bass Institute on Diversity and Inclusion to promote gender parity and workplace diversity for minorities. She will leave her firm to concentrate on the venture at the end of the year.

"I realized that 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," she said in a press release.

World Class

Bass gained her worldwide voice as she traveled to 25 countries for the ABA, which taught her "the global power of the American lawyer."

"Speaking out on these topics and talking granularly about what we need to do is critical to ensure we are not having this discussion 37 years from now," she said.

Contrasting her path to other lawyers leaving Greenberg Traurig, Above the Law said Bass is "leaving the firm on good terms."

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