Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Friedman Kaplan is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment, within both the firm and the broader legal profession. We are known for our creativity in helping our clients craft innovative and tailored legal solutions, and our ability to do so is enhanced by the perspectives and backgrounds our attorneys and staff bring to the Friedman Kaplan community. We celebrate the talented and diverse group of individuals in our firm and additionally recognize that we and the legal community as a whole must consistently strive to improve our DEI efforts.
We have implemented a formal policy which institutionalizes diversity as one of the pillars of our recruiting goals and a cornerstone of our investment in firm personnel and culture. In 2018, our firm transitioned its management structure from a Managing Partner model to a Management Committee comprised of next-generation partners, a majority of whom are female, ethnically diverse, or identify as LGBTQ+. We have also established an internal committee with members from firm leadership, attorneys, administrators, and staff, who work together on initiatives to advance the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
The firm is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a group of over 400 law firm managing partners and corporate general counsels working to create a more open and diverse legal profession, and participates in its innovative programs aimed at helping a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to positions of leadership. Three of our attorneys participate in LCLD’s Fellow and Pathfinder programs, which provide in-depth training, networking, and mentorship opportunities for a diverse group of early and mid-career attorneys. Through LCLD’s Leaders at the Front initiative, Management Committee member Mala Ahuja Harker recently pledged her personal and Friedman Kaplan’s commitment to DEI and the implementation of organizational changes that are specific, meaningful, and measurable to advance diversity at the firm and in the legal profession.
The firm is also a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, which provides law firms and law departments with research, best practices, professional development, and training to enhance their efforts to hire, retain, and advance lawyers from diverse backgrounds. We also encourage and support our attorneys in participating in bar associations and affinity groups aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion. We focus on mentoring our younger attorneys, particularly women attorneys and those from groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession. We strive to give all attorneys meaningful roles to contribute to case strategy and opportunities to develop substantive lawyering skills, including leading cases, arguing motions, taking depositions, and cultivating relationships with clients and prospects.
We also look for ways to harness our legal expertise to combat systemic inequities in society. In 2020, Friedman Kaplan joined the newly-formed Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, a coalition of over 200 law firms collaborating with legal services organizations to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism, to use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color, and to promote racial equity in the law. Our attorneys also participate and hold leadership positions in other organizations that work to promote equity in the law, including serving on the boards of Volunteer Lawyers for Justice, the Legal Action Center, and the New York Civil Liberties Union and as a founding donor for the When There Are Nine Scholarship Project.
In 2021 Friedman Kaplan was named to Bloomberg Law’s inaugural Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Framework as one of 28 U.S.-based law firms recognized for its level of disclosure of diversity-related metrics and distinguished performance against six core pillars: demographics, leadership and talent pipeline, recruitment and retention, business innovation and strategy, marketing, and diversity & inclusion in the community. The firm was again recognized by Bloomberg Law as part of its 2022 DEI Framework. The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity named Friedman Kaplan a recipient of a 2022 Compass Award which recognizes those law firms and corporations that show a strong commitment to building more diverse organizations and a more inclusive legal profession. We are proud of these external recognitions, while also remaining steadfast in our commitment to improvement.