As a core principle on which it was founded, Litchfield Cavo LLP strives to show respect for others in our daily interactions with all individuals. With our Firm’s continued growth and diversification, we are proud of our advancement in this area and recognize the importance of an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We strive to create an equitable work environment that appreciates each individual’s contributions to our Firm’s community and fosters a more diverse, as well as inclusive, talent force. Visible examples of our commitment to diversity include: the majority of our Executive Committee is diverse; all of our Firm’s administrative department heads, including marketing, accounting, human resources and billing, are diverse; the majority of our attorneys are diverse; our Firm’s general counsel is diverse; and, our Firm’s assistant managing partner is diverse.
Our Diversity | Approach
Litchfield Cavo broadly defines diversity as differences among people, including race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, sexual orientation, ancestry, physical or mental disability and veteran status. We continue to make strides with our ongoing diversity initiative, including the following endeavors:
- Ensuring our Firm’s leadership positions are diverse and inclusive;
- Advocating for family-friendly policies, including flexible work schedules, remote work options and paid parental leave;
- Creating a compensation system focused on eliminating subjectivity and possible unconscious bias, thereby promoting pay equity;
- Recognizing important events, including International Women’s Day and Global Diversity Awareness Month;
- Participating in, as well as sponsoring, diverse job fairs;
- Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to improving the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse individuals;
- Encouraging participation from all offices so that there is geographic representation in promoting and advancing the Firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals;
- Fostering a platform for the Firm’s future leaders to promote and advance the Firm’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through the Firm’s Associate Subcommittee;
- Supporting an inclusive culture by participating in diverse membership organizations, community events, bar associations and affinity groups; and,
- Enhancing awareness and appreciation throughout our Firm’s community through mentorship and educational seminars.
Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee meets on a monthly basis and reports directly to the Executive Committee. Our Committee membership includes the current and former General Counsel, our Founding Partners, an Executive Committee member and Local Office Managing Partners. The Committee includes an active Associate Subcommittee that participates in our monthly Committee meetings.
As a child, I argued with everyone—usually over things that had nothing to do with me. I even felt compelled to defend my sister for some reason when she was sentenced to a “time out.” I was often asked, “What are you, her lawyer?” I finally was able to respond, “Yes!” after earning my law degree and passing the bar almost fourteen years ago.
Relatively speaking, 2008 was not that long ago, but feels a lifetime has passed in terms of my personal development as an attorney, and in societal changes that have taken place.
Like most new lawyers, I lacked the confidence that comes with experience. The lack of self-assurance can be isolating when embarking on any chosen career, but I kept the constant fears of doing or saying the wrong thing to myself so others would not sense any insecurity.
Luckily, I had an amazing mentor who was patient and understanding. He shared his time and his knowledge, and was confident in me before I was confident in myself. He talked me through my mistakes and guided me through not only the legal work, but also in marketing and client development. His mentorship at a time very early in my career provided me with years of professional experience beyond my own.
It was not until I joined Litchfield Cavo that I realized the value of mentorship among women attorneys. There is no denying that women in the legal profession face a unique set of challenges. Every woman in this profession has been treated differently than male counterparts simply because they are a woman. Having a mentor was crucial when starting my career, but having a community of women at Litchfield Cavo to discuss shared experiences has been invaluable. Because of the mentorship of women at this Firm, I am better prepared to address the inequalities we face in our field and better armed to work on strategies to combat bias. And since becoming a mother, I have received countless pieces of invaluable and sage advice on achieving the ever-elusive work-life balance.
Female mentorship, and ultimately valued friendships, undoubtedly played a major factor in my elevation to partner. While the start of a career can be lonely, finding the right village empowered me to realize my own value and strive every day to be a person that other women and other attorneys can approach as either a sounding board or a sympathetic ear.
Every day I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, but the definition of success for me is being in a position at Litchfield Cavo where I can help guide developing lawyers along their own path and pay forward the kindness and the wisdom shared with me over the years.
– Jacqueline A. Maulucci, Partner
My legal career began in 1976 as a Paralegal at one of Chicago’s well-known firms. I had no intention of going to law school—I simply needed a job as my then-husband was a med student. I took the LSATs on a dare. I prepared with a $5 study book, as at that time I could not afford a prep course. My husband was unhappy about my new career goal so I moved on, alone. When I graduated from the University of Chicago, I was the first lawyer in my family.
I was the first former paralegal to be re-hired at that firm as an associate, and I was elected partner seven years later. It was a different world then. In the ‘80s, female attorneys wore skirts, stockings and heels. I practiced law for a decade before I wore pants to work (… and my legs have not been seen since!) We all had our own secretaries, and computers were not yet used in legal offices. Although there were several highly-regarded female partners there, I cannot recall any of them ever offering to mentor or to counsel any of the younger women.
I was trained to be a litigator. Trials were hard to find in the ’80s and ‘90s, especially for women. Also, as a hearing impaired person (being completely deaf in one ear since childhood), I was discouraged from seeking trial work. In 1994, I moved to Burditt & Radzius and was one of the firm’s few female partners. I began to handle insurance coverage issues under Dan Litchfield’s guidance. From 1996-1998, I was elected to serve as the firm’s President.
I was one of the founding partners of Litchfield Cavo LLP when it was formed in December 1998. I was the only female partner at first, but Carrie Durkin, Eileen Kavanagh and other women joined as partners before too long. I have occupied the same office since December 1998 (and fully expect it will require a massive dumpster when I leave). I feel lucky to have worked with some of the best minds in the business, including both our insurer clients and our colleagues at Litchfield Cavo. I have had the good fortune to work with Jean Wierzbinski as my assistant for over 25 years—since before we all left Burditt! We are co-dependent of each other and good friends. Together, we filled the role of “Office Mom” for the Chicago office and beyond, as the Firm expanded from a single office with 12 attorneys (plus Rick Cavo in Hartford) to the Firm of more than 250 attorneys it is today.
I have counseled and mentored numerous young women as they forged their own paths in the field of law. In my view, female attorneys often face greater challenges such as struggling with competing demands of clients, colleagues and family (both children and parents). I am awed by the creativity and resilience shown by the women attorneys at Litchfield Cavo during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe we have succeeded in providing a flexible foundation for their personal and professional development.
I hope I am never accused of pulling up the ladder behind me.
– Hope G. Nightingale, Partner