Five years ago, Atanu Das, Partner at Guntin &Gust, founded the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC). Mr. Das identified an opportunity for a committee to increase awareness of DE&I issues among IPLAC members and correspondingly to aid in promoting changes within the expanded IP community. He subsequently served as co-chair of the committee for several years. Mr. Das has spearheaded a significant push in DE&I programming in an effort to accelerate learning and initiate change.
Mr. Das developed a DE&I program of events that included topical internal book club and film discussions enabling further education, open communication and sharing of personal experiences. CLE programming and special developmental seminars were also created for patent agents, attorneys and IP professionals throughout the Chicago area, focusing on the issues involved in providing equity in the workplace.
Additional targeted programming has been conducted through student outreach. As a Distinguished Scholar in Residence for Loyola University School of Law, Mr. Das’ experience provides the insight to work with under-represented student groups, such as the Society of Women Engineers. Early educational programming that introduces these students to the connections between STEM and law is a key factor in promoting future careers in IP law.
In recognition of their hard work and multichannel programming efforts, IPLAC announced the DE&I Committee as the winner of the Committee Award for Most Impactful committee in 2021.
IPLAC’s DE&I Committee “promotes diversity, equity and inclusion within IPLAC itself and the Chicago IP Community at large through programming, outreach, opportunities for mentorship and sponsorship, assessing opportunities for improving diversity and formulating diversity equity, and inclusion strategies.”