During 2020, much of the world was feeling an acute sense of disconnection as a result of the pandemic, and that disconnection posed a particularly significant threat when it came to long-time efforts to create inclusion and a sense of belonging within law firms, according to Proskauer's director of diversity and inclusion Mark Bunbury Jr.
"As awareness around mental health at work increases, it's critical to realize the relationship between pressure and 'otherness'. In other words, as more pressure builds, any 'otherness' a person may feel is amplified," Bunbury said. "We see this with lawyers from underrepresented groups where there are higher rates of imposter syndrome, depression, anxiety and worse."
That reality, amid the pressures of a pandemic, prompted Bunbury to forge a stronger connection between the firm's wellness department and its DEI department, and also to look for other ways to foster inclusion.