Human Rights Campaign Foundation
Diversity & Inclusion
Our success as a firm is directly linked to our ability to create a community that is diverse, inclusive, and respectful of differing points of view. The foundation for our culture was laid by firm founder, community leader, and social-justice pioneer Alan Lowenstein, who was renowned for recruiting and welcoming colleagues of all backgrounds and experiences. From our roots as members of the Lawyers Commission for Civil Rights to serving as co-founders of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, inclusivity is a part of Lowenstein Sandler’s DNA.
Led by our chairman, the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee oversees and connects the collective efforts of so many who are striving to support diversity and inclusion throughout the firm. We encourage honest conversations that empower employees to build an inclusive and supportive workplace.
Employee Resource Groups
- Diversity Leadership Network (DLN). The DLN focuses on recruiting, supporting, and promoting attorneys from diverse backgrounds. The group identifies and puts in place additional supports to foster the organic development of relationships and mentorships that are critical to each member’s personal brand and professional success. Members also design and participate in events that connect Lowenstein attorneys with DLN allies outside the firm.
- LGBTQ Alliance. Our LGBTQ Alliance advocates on behalf of the LGBTQ community inside and outside the firm. We host monthly meetings and quarterly, no-agenda lunches that foster understanding; provide firmwide training on LGBTQ issues; participate annually in the Lavender Law conference and career fair; and celebrate Pride Month through education, social, and community service events (e.g., assembling first-night kits for LGBTQ runaways in shelters). Reflecting our commitment to LGBTQ concerns, Lowenstein is among the first law firms to institute a policy allowing individuals to use the restroom that reflects their gender identity.
- Women’s Initiative Network (WIN). WIN is a grassroots program that supports and empowers our women attorneys to achieve professional and personal success. It is comprised of women from a cross section of the firm’s practice areas, seniority levels, and offices. The group meets for formal programming, monthly lunches, and intimate discussion groups. WIN events lead to natural and meaningful mentoring relationships that assist our women lawyers in developing their careers and flourishing as leaders.
- LS Parents of Young Children. LS Parents of Young Children is an employee group whose members meet at informal monthly lunches to share information, ideas, resources, survival tips, and general support as they navigate and celebrate parenting’s challenges and rewards. Topics explored include work-life balance, parenting styles, summer camps, vacations, and advocating for children with disabilities.
- Business Services Group Women’s Initiative. This group provides a forum and avenues for women on our professional staff to network with and mentor one another and to discuss career development challenges that are unique to women professionals.
- Quarterly Leadership Meetings of Our Employee Resource Groups. Quarterly meetings of the founders and leaders of our different employee resource groups provide an opportunity for the groups to exchange information, ideas, and best practices and to learn about opportunities for cross-support among the groups.
- Expansive parental leave for opposite-sex and same-sex couples
- Domestic partner benefits
- On-ramping period following return from parental leave
- Parental Leave Mentoring Network
- Purposeful sponsorship and coaching
- FWAs such as reduced schedules, flextime, and telecommuting
- We actively recruit, develop, and promote lawyers and professional staff who bring a wide range of perspectives to our practice. We also work closely with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) to build pipeline programs designed to develop diverse lawyers through training, networking, and access to law firm leaders and in-house counsel executives. This year, Lowenstein selected counsel Matthew P. Hintz to represent the firm in the 2018 LCLD Fellows Program, which identifies, trains, and advances the next generation of leaders in the legal profession.
- One of the firm’s signature initiatives is the Lowenstein Sandler LS Scholars Program. For more than 10 years, this program has identified promising, diverse first-year law students, who are offered both a paid summer associate position and a scholarship to be used toward their second year of law school. If a Scholar returns for their 2L summer, they receive a paid summer associate position and an additional scholarship for their third year. More recently, we have partnered with LCLD to enroll our 1L Lowenstein Fellows in the 1L LCLD’s Scholars Program.
- We also participate in Diversity Lab’s Diversity in Law Hackathon series, which aims to boost diversity and inclusion in the legal profession by teaming experienced law firm and in-house lawyers with law students who work to generate innovative ideas for attracting, retaining, and promoting diverse lawyers.
- Received a perfect (100 percent) score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Corporate Equality Index: Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.
- Ranked among the 50 best law firms for women by Working Mother
- Received the Freddie Mac inaugural Award of Excellence for Enhancing Law Firm Diversity & Inclusion.
- Named an NJBIZ Best Place to Work in New Jersey.
Commitment to Pro Bono
Our commitment to diversity and inclusion finds additional support through the Lowenstein Center for the Public Interest and its robust advocacy on behalf of vulnerable individuals and communities in a broad array of high-stakes matters, including the following.
Select pro bono service:
- Filed U.S. Supreme Court amicus briefs in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2017) (the “same-sex wedding cake” case) and in Gill v. Whitford (2017) (constitutional challenge to extreme partisan gerrymandering).
- Secured an LGBTQ community center’s right to remain in its current location despite apparent landlord bias aimed at forcing our client to vacate.
- Partner with organizations such as Human Rights First and Kids in Need of Defense (KIND) to represent unaccompanied minors and adults who have been persecuted in their home countries and are seeking asylum in the United States or other permanent status.
- Secured release from solitary confinement as well as counseling and financial compensation on behalf of a prison inmate wrongfully held for 13 years in extreme isolation.
- Collaborated with Prudential and Volunteer Lawyers for Justice to launch a court-based tenancy clinic and have seen tremendous results, with more than two-thirds of clients obtaining successful outcomes that prevent eviction and, in many cases, imminent homelessness.
See our 2017 Pro Bono Report for a complete discussion of the Center’s recent work.