Press Release

Tom Chen, Theresa Conduah, and Vera Suarez Featured in 2021 Diversity Issue of World IP Review

July 26, 2021

Haynes and Boone, LLP Partners Tom Chen, Theresa Conduah, and Vera Suarez were featured prominently in World IP Review’s (WIPR) 2021 diversity issue.

Below are excerpts of the publication.

Chen was quoted in an article titled “The Need for Action” that examines WIPR’s global survey of its readers regarding the prevalence and importance of diversity and inclusion initiatives at their organizations, among other issues:

Here is an excerpt:

Of those who identify as being part of a minority, more than half (51%) feel they have been disadvantaged in their career. While half say they have experienced discrimination, only 10% say they reported it.

“People do not report discrimination because they do not feel comfortable reporting it or think it will have a detrimental effect on their career or think that nothing will be done about it,” says Tom Chen, partner at Haynes and Boone in Costa Mesa, California.

Conduah was quoted in an article titled “A Call for Change: How to Make It Matter” that analyzed the impact of the George Floyd murder and Black Lives Matter movement on diversity efforts at law firms.

Here is an excerpt:

IP lawyers argue that while efforts to create diverse organizations are not new, most have been centered around achieving target goals, rather than tackling deep-rooted prejudices.
“Targets are important, but creating an equitable environment is more than just metrics. There are individuals behind the metrics and there needs to be more focus on inclusion and belonging efforts,” argues Theresa Conduah, partner at Haynes and Boone in California.

“Learning about the experience and barriers faced by black people is a critical step in driving change. There has to be an openness to redefining systems to create a more equitable environment.”

Suarez spoke to WIPR for an article about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the legal industry broadly and diversity efforts in particular.

“Psychologically, the pandemic has been a complete rollercoaster, and we are all exhausted. Everyone has had their life disrupted in some way,” says Vera Suarez, partner at Haynes and Boone in Dallas, Texas, as she reflects on the upheaval triggered by COVID-19. The worldwide health crisis forced the business world, including the IP sector, to swiftly adapt to new ways of working as staff grappled with unprecedented challenges. . . .This trend is also blighting the legal sector, according to a study by the American Bar Association, “Practicing Law in the Pandemic and Moving Forward: Results and Best Practices from a Nationwide Survey of the Legal Profession,” published in April 2021. The survey showed that among the female attorneys surveyed, more than half with children aged five or younger and 41% with children aged six to 13 are contemplating a change in their working hours.

These findings come as a little surprise to Suarez. “There is no doubt that primary caretakers—who are most often working mothers—were in the very demanding situation of finding time to work while also trying to provide childcare and/or managing home-schooling,” she says. . .. Lawyers tell WIPR that a new partially remote, virtual culture could help deliver progress when it comes to D&I. “The pandemic is a shared experience and also very publicly acknowledged, which is helping to reduce stigma around mental health,” Suarez believes. “Most of us have never before experienced a pandemic, and there is a collective acceptance that it is likely to affect our wellbeing.”