The Chambers Diversity and Inclusion: Latin America Awards 2021 took place on Friday, 3rd December at the Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach. In conjunction with the Chambers Latin America Awards for practice area research, we celebrated the fantastic achievements of firms and individuals who are furthering the advancement of diversity and inclusion across Latin America. Since 2014, the Chambers team have conducted in-depth research and hosted numerous diversity seminars across Latin America, including events in São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Asunción and more. We launched the inaugural awards in 2015 and this was our seventh year.
This year’s awards provided the opportunity to shine the spotlight on role models and trailblazers in pro bono, corporate social responsibility as well as inclusion. This year we included an environment and sustainability award for the first time, celebrating the work of firms and companies in embedding these values in business strategy and culture.
Diversity and Inclusion: Future Leader
Highly Commended: Lucía Álvarez – FerradaNehme (Chile)
Winner: Diego Corral – ROBALINO (Ecuador)
One of the founding members of Fundacion PAKTA, a collective dedicated to the protection of the LGBT+ community advocating for those who could not afford legal representation, Diego has dedicated his life as a lawyer to supporting the marginalised. Of particular significance in the last year, he has worked against the forced displacement of an indigenous community in the Amazon and fought to close conversion therapy clinics in Ecuador.
Diversity and Inclusion: Outstanding Contribution
Winner: Brenda Rogel Salgado – Hogan Lovells (Mexico)
A trailblazer and champion for diversity and inclusion, Brenda Rogel Salgado is the first woman partner in Hogan Lovells Mexico office. She co-leads the D&I committee in Mexico and is a key part of the Women’s Initiative Network, through which she trains other lawyers on avoiding unconscious bias and microaggressions. Her influence and advocacy led to the firm adopting a policy recognising D&I activity – such as leading and organizing D&I events, recruiting diverse lateral lawyers and business services professionals to the firm, mentoring or sponsoring diverse lawyers and business services professionals – as billable credit.
Environment and Sustainability Program of the Year
Highly Commended: Payet, Rey, Cauvi, Pérez Abogados (Peru)
Winner: Beccar Varela (Argentina)
Beccar Varela have developed a unique environment and sustainability program that involves 77% of associates and over half of their partners. In 2021 they developed the Argentine chapters of the global reports on illegal wildlife trafficking for the ABA Rule of Law Initiative, and the world’s ocean acidity for the Ocean Foundation. Most significantly, they designed the structure of a trust for the Argentine Network of Municipalities against Climate Change, enabling various municipalities from provinces across Argentina to unite efforts for the joint development of social and environmental impact projects.
Pro Bono Program of the Year
Highly Commended: PPO Abogados (Bolivia)
Winner: Pérez Bustamante & Ponce (Ecuador)
The commitment of Pérez Bustamante & Ponce to pro bono work is best illustrated through their dedicated foundation, coordinating their efforts to prioritize vulnerable and marginalized groups. In 2020, the Foundation handled 1,572 cases involving a total of 10,481 hours. Their innovative ‘Dialogue Talks’ campaign contributes to the development of a culture of peace by enhancing people’s abilities to settle disputes through discussion, with 1,482 talks given to 61,399 attendees from 255 public and private institutions to date.
Diversity and Inclusion: Firm of the Year
Highly Commended: DLA Piper
Winner: BLP (Costa Rica)
BLP have a holistic, wide-ranging D&I strategy that nurtures and supports staff throughout their career, combined with a commitment to positively effecting their community. Highlights include workshops focused human rights, development, and sustainability to determine specific actions to promote human rights and prevent discrimination in the workplace; an internal program for the training and inclusion of people with disabilities in the workplace; as well as a number of progressive, parent-friendly policies that help to promote gender parity.
Diversity and Inclusion: Outstanding Contribution (General Counsel)
Winner: Lorena Barrientos – Algramo (Chile)
Lorena has been instrumental in creating an inclusive culture at Algramo. She is a key part of the Feminist Committee, encouraging a feminist culture at the company, and is member of a number of Women’s Networks. She led the introduction of a new policy to extend parental leave rights to LGBT+ parents, which is currently not enshrined in law in Chile, as well as developing a gender-neutral manual to help counteract bias. As a member of the Chilean Bar Association’s D&I Committee she promoted the amendment to bylaws to include a gender quota for the Board, requiring at least 40% of each binary gender.
Diversity and Inclusion: Special Commendation
Winner: Ana Dolores Román – Pfizer (Colombia)
This special award goes to Ana Dolores Román for outstanding leadership in D&I, using her position to influence advancement across the region. Highlights include a supplier diversity program for vendors that focusses on businesses owned by disadvantaged groups, promoting D&I best practice through many joint initiatives and co-founding a program to promote gender equality in the healthcare sector.
Diversity and Inclusion: In-House Team of the Year
Winner: HSBC Legal LATAM
HSBC’s D&I strategy works from the bottom up and the top down. Over 50% of their staff are members of Employee Resource Groups covering a variety of strands of diversity while they organized progressive conversations to raise awareness on topics addressing the workplace of the future. Externally, they request panel firm and suppliers to provide D&I information and work with a social mobility NGO. Internally, they recently launched a reverse mentoring pilot program with senior global management and have a policy for diverse interview panels to ensure inclusive hiring practices.