Aug. 31, 2021 – University of Houston Law Center alumna Mishell Parreno Taylor ’03 recently co-authored a Bloomberg Law opinion piece that highlights what law firms and other employers can do to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
Prompting business owners to promote authenticity in the workplace in ways such as DEI training to foster communication, a non-judgmental attitude toward personal differences and pro bono engagement, Parreno Taylor’s article, “Turning Pandemic Burnout Into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Opportunities,” encourages an authentic demonstration of acceptance in a workplace environment.
“I think with a profession like the law that is of precedent and tradition, it is exciting to see this window of ways to update tradition, using technology to increase access and have focus on allowing people to bring their whole self to work,” Parreno Taylor said. “The pandemic presented an opportunity to blend personal and professional lives and has forever changed the legal industry.”
Intense conversations about social justice and equity have spurred due to pandemic isolation, strengthening staff relationships and trust in leadership through listening, specific follow-ups and a desire to make unforeseen circumstances serve in the best interest of the team, effectively utilizing pandemic changes as an opportunity for growth and advancement.
“The impact that we have seen on workplaces because of the pandemic has begun a shift in workplace law as well,” Taylor said. “We will be seeing more and more evolution in the field, and as an attorney focused on helping businesses effectively manage human capital, I am excited to see what comes.”
In addition to serving as a trusted business partner to clients, Taylor serves on Littler’s diversity and inclusion council, as commissioner of the Hispanic National Bar Association Latina Commission, on the managing board of Littler Mexico and as pro-bono counsel in claims for asylum and separated minors, advocating for those without a voice.
“This is such an impactful moment in history,” Parreno Taylor said. “I am very impressed with all the efforts that the Law Center has made, particularly with its Pre-Law Pipeline Program, which exemplifies diversity in law.”
Parreno Taylor noted that although technology enabled the practice of law to thrive despite remote confinement, conversation beyond Zoom meetings, group texts and bulk email messages is imperative to virtual legal success, particularly regarding junior attorneys’ need for unbiased feedback, perspective and direction to hone legal development.
Parreno Taylor was the recipient of the of UHLC Alumni Association Private Practice Achievement Award in 2020. She served as articles editor of the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal as a Law Center student, successfully argued a client's claim for political asylum while in law school. She is married to Jason Taylor, a 2001 UH graduate.