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Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Meyers Nave’s promotion of diversity and inclusion reflects the values of our clients, our society and our firm. We support diversity and inclusion 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. Our Diversity Committee focuses on the three pillars of diversity, equity and inclusion, which are fundamental principles woven into the fabric of our firm: they drive the success, innovation and professional leadership of Meyers Nave. Please click here for a video message about diversity from Amrit Kulkarni, a member of the Executive Committee and Chair of the Land Use, Environmental and Transportation and Infrastructure Practice groups.

Diversity and our Diversity Fellowship Program were the themes of our 2016 and 2019 holiday e-cards. Law360 and the San Diego Business Journal also highlighted our commitment to diversity as a key aspect to our merger with the Brown Law Group, a prominent woman- and minority-owned law firm. (Please see “Diversity Is Key In Calif. Boutique Merger With Meyers Nave,” Law360, 9/3/2020, and “Encouragement Changes Lives: Celebrating Black Entrepreneurship,” San Diego Business Journal, 2/1/2021) Meyers Nave is also highlighted as “One Small Firm Solution” in a March 2021 AttorneyAtWork article titled “Diversity in U.S. Law Firms: It’s Always Going to Be Incremental.”

 

Elevating Women and Minority Attorneys to Principal

In 2004, Meyers Nave became one of the first among very few law firms in the U.S. with a minority woman as Managing Principal. Jayne Williams served as the Firm’s Managing Principal for two terms from 2004 to 2010. Women and minority attorneys currently make up 77% of Meyers Nave lawyers and 11 of the firm’s practice groups are led by women and minority attorneys. During 2015-2020, Meyers Nave elevated eight attorneys to Principal and seven are women and minorities. Two were also elected to chair practice groups at Meyers Nave. We are very proud of this demonstration of our commitment to recruit, train, mentor and advance a diverse team of leaders at Meyers Nave.

Professional Development, Mentoring and Training

The professional development efforts of our Diversity Committee include a monthly program featuring diverse leaders from corporations, public entities and non-profit organizations. The program provides Meyers Nave attorneys with opportunities to learn from diverse executive-level professionals about their career paths, preferred practices for working with outside counsel, examples of excellent client service, and insights on developing contacts into business. Recent presenters include George Schell, General Counsel of the Presidio Trust, and David Kelly, General Counsel and Vice President for Basketball Management and Strategy for the Golden State Warriors. We also provide business development training, networking opportunities and other programs focused on mentoring, leadership, education and increasing the visibility of women and minority attorney role models throughout the firm.

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 2019 holiday e-card celebrated the first Fellow hired full-time after graduation. Our successful program is also featured in an article titled “UC Hastings Students Thrive as Meyers Nave Fellows” that was published on August 24, 2020 in the UC Hastings College of the Law alumni magazine.

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. Our program has already helped advance the careers of six law students (four of whom are women) and in 2020 we hired one of our Fellows as an Associate. The Diversity Fellowship Program includes (1) a paid, full-time, 10-week Fellow position at Meyers Nave during the summer after the first year of law school with possible extension to second year summer, (2) annual tuition assistance of $10,000 following each summer completed with Meyers Nave, (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. Please click here for more information about the program, including application, comments from our Fellows and pictures and highlights from each year’s program.

Women’s Initiative: Meet Our Women Leaders

Meyers Nave is proud of our successful efforts to help advance women in the legal profession and throughout our firm. Meyers Nave was one of the first law firms in the U.S. to have a minority woman as Managing Principal (from 2004 to 2010). Today, half of our attorneys are women, nine practice groups are led by women, one of three executive committee members is a woman, two of four attorneys elevated to Principal since 2018 are women, and four of our six Diversity Fellowship Program participants are women. Please visit our Women’s Initiative page to learn more about the women attorneys who recently joined Meyers Nave, the awards and recognitions received by our women attorneys, the organizational programs that Meyers Nave supports, and the leadership speaking engagements of our women attorneys.

Diversity Recognition

The Charles Houston Bar Association is an affiliate of the National Bar Association and represents the interests of African-American lawyers, judges and law students throughout Northern California. Meyer’s Nave Principal Eric Casher’s many years of service to CHBA include serving in numerous positions on the Board of Directors, including President (2018), Vice President (2014, 2016, 2017), Special Assistant to the President (2015), and General Counsel (2013). 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.

Organizational Involvement and Support

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 Minority Corporate Counsel Association, California Women Lawyers, Sacramento Lawyers for the Equality of Gays and Lesbians, Charles Houston Bar Association, California Minority Counsel Program, Filipino Bar Association of Northern California, Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce, Lawyers Club of San Diego, Asian American Bar Association, LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, South Asian Bar Association of Southern California, and the Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment, among many others.

Our attorneys’ involvement in these organizations includes serving in leadership roles, such as Principal Eric Casher serving as President of ChangeLawyers, Principal Arlene Yang serving on the Board of the Lawyers Club of San Diego along with Associate Annie Smiddy serving as Co-Chair of the Bylaws and Policy Committee, Principal Richard Pio Roda serving as the Meyers Nave liaison to the League of California Cities’ Asian-Pacific Islander Caucus, and Principal Camille Hamilton Pating serving on the Steering Committee of the Women’s Impact Network for the Bar Association of San Francisco. Eric Casher also serves on the League of California Cities’ newly formed Advancing Equity Advisory Committee charged with identifying how cities and towns can recognize and eliminate biases and disparities, heal racial divisions, and build more equitable communities.

Meyers Nave also provides substantial financial support of organizations that promote diversity in the legal profession. A partial list includes (1) membership contribution to the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, (2) Bronze Sponsor of the California Minority Counsel Program’s Business Conference, (3) Silver Sponsor of the California Women Lawyers’ Dinner and Silent Auction, (4) Platinum Circle Sponsor of the Charles Houston Bar Association Annual Gala Dinner, (5) Gold Sponsor of the Daily Journal’s Women Leadership in Law Conferences in Northern and Southern California, (6) Gold Sponsor of the LGBT Bar Association of Los Angeles’ Annual Gala, (7) Pioneer Sponsor of the California Bar Foundation’s Diversity Awards & Scholarship Reception, (8) co-sponsor of the Bar Association of San Francisco’s African American Partners and Associates Summer Reception, (9) Bronze Sponsor of BASF’s Women’s Impact Networking Conference, (10) Scholarship Sponsor of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association’s Annual Noche de Gala, (11) Silver Annual Sponsor of the Lawyers Club of San Diego and (12) leadership sponsor of the League of California Cities’ Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) Caucus.

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. The following three diverse Meyers Nave Principals have been appointed to judgeships in California.

  • Benjamin T. Reyes II: In 2017, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. 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 Brown appointed Meyers Nave Principal Kim Colwell to the Alameda County Superior Court.
  • David S. Cunningham: In 2009, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Meyers Nave Principal David S. Cunningham III to the Los Angeles County Superior Court.