Meyers Nave’s promotion of diversity and inclusion reflects the values of our clients, our society and our firm. We support diversity throughout our offices, in the legal profession, and in our communities. The individuality of our attorneys and staff — and their collective experiences, perspectives and backgrounds — helps us provide clients with the most effective and creative legal services. Diversity and inclusion are fundamental principles that are woven into the fabric of our firm: they drive the success, innovation and professional leadership of Meyers Nave.
Meyers Nave proudly sponsors a broad range of activities with diverse bar associations, law student organizations, alumni associations, youth groups, and clients — wherever we can make an impact. Our attorneys are involved in many diversity oriented organizations, including California Women Lawyers, Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians, Charles Houston Bar Association, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, Asian American Bar Association, LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles, Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment, among many others.
Meyers Nave is a Bronze Sponsor of the California Minority Counsel Program’s 28th Annual Business Conference (2017), a Silver Sponsor of the California Women Lawyers’ 43rd Annual Dinner and Silent Auction (2017) and a Pioneer Sponsor of the California Bar Foundation’s Diversity Awards & Scholarship Reception (2017). We celebrate these organizations’ leadership in promoting diversity in the legal profession by providing women attorneys and attorneys of color with access and opportunity for business and professional development. Meyers Nave is involved in numerous regional and national minority bar associations.
Diversity Fellowship Program
Meyers Nave announced its new Diversity Fellowship Program in the firm’s 2016 holiday e-card, which received Honorable Mention in a national contest and was recognized for demonstrating “the firm’s commitment to diversity.” Our Diversity Fellowship Program is designed to promote diversity throughout the legal profession by helping to build a pipeline of diverse attorneys at the law school level. The Diversity Fellowship Program includes (1) a paid, full-time, 10-week Fellow position at Meyers Nave during the summer after the first and second years of law school, (2) annual tuition assistance of $5,000 for the second and third years of law school, upon completion of the first- and second-year Fellow programs, (3) mentoring during law school from Meyers Nave attorneys focusing on academic work and the practice and business of law, and (4) a potential Associate position at Meyers Nave after law school. As a reference for next year’s program, please click here to review the application information.
Our first program participant shares the following description of her experience: “My summer experience exceeded all my expectations! From day one, I felt like I was part of a team. I worked on substantive assignments from a variety of cases, learned new areas of law, and had the opportunity to observe strategy meetings, depositions, and hearings. All of the attorneys I worked with were really bright, friendly, and made sure I was learning and making an impact. The program’s high level of training and support shows the firm’s commitment to turning summer associates into associates.”
Meyers Nave Principal Eric S. Casher currently serves as President of the Charles Houston Bar Association. CHBA is an affiliate of the National Bar Association and represents the interests of African-American lawyers, judges and law students throughout Northern California. Eric’s many years of service to CHBA include serving in numerous positions on the Board of Directors, including General Counsel (2013), Vice President (2014, 2016, 2017), and Special Assistant to the President (2015). In 2015, Meyers Nave received the Corporate Recognition Award from the Charles Houston Bar Association. The award is presented to an organization that demonstrates a commitment to strengthening diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and in our communities. In addition to financial participation that has included a CHBA scholarship, Meyers Nave helps advance CHBA’s mission through a broad range of activities, such as hosting a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major For Justice Advocacy Competition, hosting a Judicial Panel on behalf of CHBA, sponsoring the President’s Reception at the National Bar Association Conference, and hosting an alumni panel for the UC Hastings College of the Law Black Law Students Association and Hastings Alumni Association.
Diversity on the Bench: Three Meyers Nave Judicial Appointments
Under SB 56 and SB 182 the California Governor is required to report statewide demographic data provided by judicial applicants. The February 28, 2017 report notes that Governor Brown made 356 appointments to the bench since 2011 and nearly 40% of appointees self-identified as a member of a minority group. Of the 45 judicial appointments in 2016, 17 were nonwhite, 17 were women, and four were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Firsts during the 2011-2016 period include the first South Asian American woman judge appointed in California, first American-Muslim judge appointed in California, first Hmong American judge appointed in the country, first Native American judge and Latina judge appointed to the Riverside County Superior Court, first openly gay judge appointed to the Imperial County Superior Court, first Latino judge appointed to the Yolo County Superior Court, first woman judges appointed to the Sierra County Superior Court and Del Norte County Superior Court, first Latino justices appointed to the Fifth and Sixth District Courts of Appeal, first Asian-American judge appointed to the Ventura County Superior Court, and first openly gay justice appointed to the California Court of Appeal.
Three Meyers Nave Principals Appointed to Judgeships
- Benjamin T. Reyes II: In 2017, Governor Brown appointed Meyers Nave Principal Benjamin T. Reyes II as the first Filipino-American judge appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court. Judge Reyes also is only the second Filipino-American judge appointed to serve in the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties in 36 years. Please click here to read the Governor’s press release.
- Kimberly E. Colwell: In 2013, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Appointed Meyers Nave Principal Kim Colwell to the Alameda County Superior Court. Please click here to read the Governor’s press release.
- David S. Cunningham: In 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Meyers Nave Principal David S. Cunningham III to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Please click here to read the Governor’s press release.
Meet Our Women Leaders: Meyers Nave sponsored the Daily Journal’s inaugural Women Leadership in Law forum in May 2017. We provided attendees with “She Said What?”, a book of leadership quotes by women leaders. We also created a document so the women who help lead Meyers Nave can describe their areas of expertise and share a favorite quote from the women leaders who inspire them. Women lead eight practice groups at Meyers Nave. Please click here to Meet Our Women Leaders. In 2017 and 2018, nine women attorneys joined Meyers Nave:
- Naree Chan, Associate, Municipal and Special District Law
- Viviana Heger, Of Counsel, Land Use and Environmental Law
- Nancy Harris, Principal, Commercial Litigation
- Claire S. Lai, Associate, Municipal and Special District Law
- Heather McConnell, Of Counsel, Trial and Litigation
- Laura McKinney, Of Counsel, Municipal and Special District Law
- Eva Plaza, Of Counsel, Trial and Litigation
- Tivonna Stern, Senior Associate, Municipal & Special District Law
- Vidya Venugopal, Associate, Land Use and Environmental Law
Interview Profiles: Meyers Nave women attorneys have been featured in a broad range of publications that cover the legal profession throughout California. For example, Northern California 2017 Super Lawyers magazine features a two-page interview profile with Shaye Dively about her involvement in two published appellate court victories that were critical in winning the battle to build the new $477 million downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings.
Recent Speaking Engagements: The women who help lead Meyers Nave share their insight and experience at conferences that focus on professional development and career advancement in the legal professional. A recent example is Meyers Nave Principal Brenda Aguilar-Guerrero who spoke about “Pathways to Partnership” at the California Women Lawyers Annual Conference.
Amrit Kulkarni, Partner, Meyers Nave
Amrit Kulkarni leads the firm’s Land Use, Environmental Law and Transportation & Infrastructure Practice Groups. Amrit’s group has received two Tier 1 rankings in the “Best Law Firms” list developed by U.S. News – Best Lawyers® in Litigation-Environmental (Metropolitan Los Angeles, 2016) and Natural Resources Law (Metropolitan Oakland, 2015 and 2016).