chiefs such as Anderson. Nonetheless, he and some
of his Silicon Valley peers have spent years trying to
increase underrepresented minorities in their law
Steps Toward Progress
When Brian Cabrera was general counsel of Synopsys
Inc., in Mountain View, Calif., from 2006 until last year,
he regularly asked recruiters for diverse job candidates.
Cabrera’s senior leadership team adopted his commitment by expanding contact lists and scouring job banks
for resumés of minorities and women.
The result was a law department that MCCA
recognized in 2010 with one of its annual Employer of
Choice Awards. By then, women and nonwhites combined to constitute a majority of the department’s top
leadership, a contrast to the white men who occupied
most of these posts when Cabrera had taken the helm.
Before Cabrera left the semiconductor design software company, half of his direct reports were women.
Several African-Americans and openly LGBT individuals were among high-level managers of the 40-member
But diverse viewpoints and backgrounds aren’t limited to minorities. Similarly, the definition of minorities
isn’t confined to racial, gender and sexual orientation
Just ask Delida Costin, who was general counsel
of Pandora Media Inc., an online, personalized radio
service, from 2010 until last year. Job candidates for the
Oakland-based company included lawyers who hadn’t
taken the traditional route of working for big law firms
after graduation because the firms rescinded offers for
Costin was impressed that these lawyers, however,
overcame setbacks. “They were hungry to obtain work
and gain experience,” she says. “They were persistent
in securing temporary in-house assignments and dis-
Sometimes, diverse candidates emerge when job
vacancies don’t exist.
When Anderson was a law school symposium panelist in 2009 at the historically black Howard University in Washington, D.C., he met a student who stayed in
touch afterward. Anderson was then-general counsel
of Mountain View-based Mozilla Corporation, which
distributes the Firefox web browser.
He later interviewed the man, among other finalists,
for a law department vacancy. The meeting would not
have occurred without their introduction at the sym-
posium, Anderson says, adding, “Recruitment doesn’t
have to be purely formulaic. It can happen organically
if you put yourself in the right places.”
That is what Dawn Smith hopes will result from this
year’s launch of a new summer associate program at
Smith has traveled to multiple law schools in or near
U.S. cities where her company has offices, including
institutions near the corporate headquarters in Palo
Alto, Calif. At these schools, which enroll a critical
mass of African-Americans or Hispanics, Smith asked
deans to steer underrepresented minorities into the
VMware program so that before becoming 2L, they can
work alongside in-house lawyers or with members of
the government relations team.
“While most of our job opportunities are not for
recent law school graduates, we want to introduce stu-
to be purely
if you put