Diversity Equity & Inclusion
Holwell Shuster & Goldberg is committed to promoting diversity within the firm and the wider legal profession. The firm has taken significant steps to further this purpose on three fronts: leadership, talent development, and promoting change.
We understand that we occupy a privileged place in a privileged profession that has historically failed to create a level playing field for diverse individuals—and that if we are to do better, we must recognize the limits of our own perspective. To that end, many of the initiatives we have pursued originated from staff suggestions, affinity group proposals, other grassroots recommendations to the partnership, or guidance from diversity and inclusion consultants.
HSG recognizes that leadership on diversity and inclusion issues should come from every part of the firm. In an effort to ensure that all voices are part of the conversation, and to foster an environment in which everyone can thrive, we have:
- Reconstituted our Diversity & Inclusion Committee to ensure that it includes representation from a cross-section of the firm, including partners, associates, staff attorneys, a paralegal, and a member of the firm’s marketing and recruiting department. Of the committee’s 10 members, eight are diverse and four are people of color; a member of the firm’s management committee has joined to underscore the committee’s importance.
- Launched affinity groups for LGBTQIA+ individuals, women, and first-generation professionals. Associates, staff attorneys, and professional staff serve key leadership roles in these groups.
- Connected all associates with partner mentors, in an attempt to increase informational access and promote transparency regardless of law school, professional background, pre-existing networks, or other traditional connectors.
- Convened planning committees for Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Pride Month to prompt reflection and conversation on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. These committees have sponsored events and hosted a number of women and minority speakers (including Judge Rowan Wilson, Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals; Maura Kathleen Monaghan, co-chair of the commercial litigation group at Debevoise & Plimpton; and Jason Starr, litigation director of the Human Rights Campaign).
- Participated in various service projects, including one through the NYC Bar’s Thurgood Marshall Professional Development Series.
- Developed ongoing D&I-related CLE programming, including various events with the National Women’s Law Center.
We actively train our associates in a manner that positions them as partner candidates. Below are a few examples of significant engagements that HSG diverse associates—from first-years to eighth-years—have taken the lead on, with the support of partner mentors at the firm:
- Examining a key witness in a major antitrust jury trial.
- Arguing (and winning) a bail motion in an appeal before the Second Circuit.
- First-chairing an arbitration (and, again, winning).
- Filing amicus briefs with the Supreme Court—several of which have been cited by the Justices and reported in legal publications.
- Filing an amicus brief for the National Women’s Law Center with the Sixth Circuit.
- Attending and contributing to client pitches within the first few months of their HSG tenures.
The firm has also:
- Introduced a summer associate program with a commitment to developing diverse talent.
- Recruited and retained a diverse and highly accomplished team of staff attorneys and paralegals who contribute significantly to high-profile matters and the firm’s strategic growth.
- Invested in pipeline programs such as the NYC Bar’s Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship for high school students, hosting multiple summer interns through the program.
- Participated in affinity group conventions and career fairs, including conventions of the National Black Law Students Association and the National Latina/o Law Student Association, to name just a few.
HSG has committed to contributing at least $250,000 over three years to anti-racist initiatives, including more than $150,000 in donations to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. It has also made a major financial commitment to Her Justice. That financial support reflects the firm’s belief that one of the best ways to create positive change is to lift up, and partner with, organizations that have a demonstrated track record of dedication to issues of racial and social justice.
Toward that end, for instance, the firm has:
- Established itself as a corporate partner to Her Justice, a non-profit that provides free legal services to women and families in New York City. Through that partnership, HSG lawyers have represented clients in matters ranging from divorces to an application for a U-Visa.
- Signed on as an inaugural law firm partner in the ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab initiative to bring litigation addressing discriminatory police conduct in predominantly Black communities.
- Partnered with the American Friends Service Committee to assert the rights of detained immigrants.
- Litigated, as part of our extensive pro bono work, a series of groundbreaking workplace discrimination cases on behalf of Frontier Airlines pilots and flight attendants who asserted claims of discrimination based on Frontier’s failure to provide accommodations related to pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Served as co-counsel with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. and Shearman & Sterling in a case challenging, under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, Arkansas’ methods of electing Court of Appeals and Supreme Court judges.
- Filed amicus briefs in dozens of cases, including the groundbreaking matters noted below:
- Supreme Court Issues Unanimous Ruling in Favor of American Muslims Wrongfully Placed on No-Fly List
- Holwell Shuster & Goldberg Represents Prevailing Amici in Closely Watched Title IX Appeal
- Holwell Shuster & Goldberg and Muslim Advocates File Amicus Brief in U.S. Supreme Court Over Discriminatory National Security Practices
As part of our commitment to diversity, HSG attorneys regularly speak on diversity and inclusion-related issues. The firm and its attorneys have received recognition for these and other efforts in this sphere, including by Visa as an “All Star” law firm for our diversity and inclusion initiatives. Selected examples appear below.
- Holwell Shuster & Goldberg Recognized by Crain’s New York for Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
- Holwell Shuster & Goldberg Receives Highest Recognition for Pro Bono by Chambers Associate; Also Recognized for Associate Retention, Diversity & Inclusion, and More
- Denisha Bacchus and Meredith Nelson Named to Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2021 Women Worth Watching List
- Karen Sebaski Co-Authors Article in Women Lawyers Journal, Featuring HSG Partner Jayme Jonat
- Blair Kaminsky and Eileen DeLucia Recognized as Notable Women in Law by Crain’s
- Eileen DeLucia to Present at Benchmark Litigation’s Women in Litigation Forum
- Jayme Jonat Named a Litigation Trailblazer by The National Law Journal
- Dorit Ungar Black Recognized as a 2020 New York Business Journal Women of Influence
- Euromoney Recognizes Dorit Ungar Black as Best in Litigation in the 2020 Women in Business Law Awards
- Six Holwell Shuster & Goldberg Partners Named to Benchmark Litigation’s 40 & Under Hot List
- Dorit Ungar Black and Jayme Jonat Recognized on Euromoney’s 2020 Women in Business Law Awards Shortlist
- Jayme Jonat Authors Guest Article for the New York Law Journal
- Margot Hoppin Named to Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2020 Women Worth Watching List
- Jayme Jonat Featured in LexisNexis Virtual Women’s Roundtable
- Zachary Kerner and Angela Gil Honored with Her Justice Legal Team Award
- Jayme Jonat to Present at Ms. JD’s 12th Annual Women in Law Conference