A Firm of Inclusion
With an independent department dedicated exclusively to Firm diversity and inclusion efforts, Fried Frank is committed to ensuring that the Firm is a place of inclusion where attorneys and business services personnel can thrive and reach their full potential.
The Diversity & Inclusion Office, headed up by a full-time non-practicing and non-billing former BigLaw and in-house attorney with 15 years of D&I experience, and consisting of a Director, a Manager, and a Senior Coordinator, works with the Firmwide Diversity & Inclusion Committee and the Firm’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) to carry out the Firm’s strategic diversity and inclusion plan. The plan focuses on three distinct, yet related initiatives:
- Diversifying leadership through programs designed to make certain that the Firm recruits, retains, develops, and promotes a diverse group of the best people;
- Enhancing the impact of the Firm’s ERGs by ensuring the access of all employees to continued opportunities for networking and camaraderie that focus on their professional development needs; and
- Raising the D&I profile of the Firm internally by guaranteeing that the D&I initiative is woven into everything we do, and externally through a strategic approach to the sponsorship and support of minority bar and other associations and organizations dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal community.
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee has representatives from the partner, associate, and business services populations from the Firm’s other offices and works to provide strategic guidance and advice to the D&I Office.
The Firm has 4 ERGs: the Women’s Forum; the Attorneys of Color Resource Group, the LGBTQ Resource Group, and the Working Parents Resource Group. These ERGs, which host programs and events regularly, are an integral part of the Firm’s commitment to inclusion.
Fried Frank also participates in the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) career program, which places diverse students in law firms for summer internships prior to the students’ first year of law school. The program brings in recent law graduates as fellows under the Fried Frank Civil Rights Fellowship, in which the Firm partners with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).
We are proud of the public recognition of our inclusive culture. In the 2019 Vault Associate Satisfaction Survey, the Firm ranked #16 (out of 130) for Overall Diversity, #9 for Individuals with Disabilities, and #16 for LGBT Diversity. In addition, the Firm once again achieved a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, a reflection of the Firm’s policies and practices protecting LGBT employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, diversity training, and healthcare and domestic partnership benefits. In 2018, Fried Frank received the Flex Impact Award from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance for our reduced hours/full compensation return to work after parental leave provisions, and in 2019, the Firm was awarded the Diversity Champion Award by the South Asian Bar Association of North America (SABA).
Our diversity efforts extend beyond the Firm to the pipeline necessary to foster meaningful diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Through the Fried Frank Pre-Law Scholars Program, we partner with Hunter College to prepare pre-law focused college students of diverse backgrounds for the LSAT and a successful legal education. In addition, the Firm regularly collaborates and sponsors programs and events with minority bars at the regional and national level.
Additionally, the Firm has instituted robust adoption, alternative work arrangement, parental leave, gender transition, and hiring policies, all designed to ensure that we are able to recruit, retain, and develop a diverse group of the best people.
Diversity and inclusion is a standard principle at Fried Frank, and the Diversity & Inclusion Office works tirelessly to ensure that all attorneys and professionals at the Firm can thrive and have a successful career.
Please reach out to the Firm’s Manager of Diversity & Inclusion, Lourdes Olvera-Marshall (Lourdes.Olvera@friedfrank.com), with any questions concerning diversity at the Firm or the department’s plans for the coming year.
Fried Frank has long held a commitment to pro bono work and a strong sense of philanthropic responsibility. Our attorneys work with a variety of pro bono clients including immigrants, veterans, micro-entrepreneurs, victims of domestic violence, artists seeking representation on intellectual property matters, indigent individuals accused of crimes, and charter schools.
Fried Frank is widely acknowledged by both the legal and nonprofit communities for its pro bono efforts. Some recent accomplishments:
- In one of the Firm’s largest pro bono undertakings to date, more than a dozen attorneys have been actively litigating in federal court, as class counsel, on behalf of thousands of non-citizen soldiers who enlisted in the US Army’s MAVNI program and are seeking to become naturalized US citizens based on their military service. As a result, more than 1,000 soldiers have now become US citizens. This team of Fried Frank litigators was selected to receive the prestigious Jack Wasserman Memorial Award, given “for excellence in litigation in the field of immigration law,” from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA).
- The Firm represented women from Central America seeking asylum and being held in detention centers with their children in Texas. We helped them prepare for credible fear interviews and filed requests for reconsideration of the denial of asylum in some instances. We have been recognized for this pro bono work by both the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council.
- At its 2018 Annual Photography Auction & Benefit, Fried Frank was honored by the nonprofit organization Her Justice for its pro bono contributions. The Firm was recognized as a runner-up for the Firm Commitment Award, which honors the top five law firms that have donated the most pro bono hours per capita, based on the size of their New York offices.
- A Fried Frank team was selected to receive Her Justice’s Legal Team Award at the 2018 Commitment to Justice Awards. The team was recognized for their work on behalf of a victim of human trafficking whom they helped to successfully secure T-nonimmigrant status.
- Fried Frank had the privilege of partnering with real estate education nonprofit Project Destined to support the launch of its inaugural Bronx program. Representatives from the Real Estate Department helped to support a team of students as they learned about the process to bid on a building in the Bronx and then pitched their bid to a panel of judges. We were thrilled that the Fried Frank-sponsored team won the pitch competition and, as a result, received $10,000 in scholarship funding.
- Litigation associate Kristin M. Whidby received The Florida Bar President’s out-of-state Pro Bono Service Award. Ms. Whidby was the only out-of-state recipient and was recognized for donating more than 450 hours of pro bono legal service in the last three years, with a particular focus on difficult family law cases involving abused women.
- The Legal Aid Society honored Fried Frank with a 2018 Pro Bono Publico Award for outstanding service to the organization and its clients.
- Fried Frank was among a record number of firms honored at the 15th Annual 40 at 50 Judicial Pro Bono Recognition Breakfast. The annual event celebrates the pro bono commitment of law firms where at least 40 percent of their attorneys dedicated 50 hours or more toward providing free legal representation to low-income individuals or charitable organizations during the previous year.
In addition, for over two decades, Fried Frank has served as a mentor firm to the School Without Walls public magnet high school located on the campus of George Washington University. Our activities include participation in preparing the students for the annual Street Law Mock Trial Tournament, in which they have won six times between 2002 and 2017, and where they have been finalists on another four occasions.