Nearly 20 alums from UC Hastings College of the Law are among a group of more than 170 general counsels and corporate lawyers who signed an open letter urging the legal industry to commit to improving diversity and inclusion in new partner classes.
The letter includes signatures from Leah Goldberg ’91, General Counsel at East Bay Community Energy; Su-Jin Lee ’99, VP and General Counsel at Popsugar Inc.; Allyson Willoughby ’93, General Counsel at CareZone Inc.; Anjali Kumar ’03, Co-Founder of The Justice Dept.; Bridget Ausman ’11, General Counsel at Enrollease Inc.; Cary Chen ’04, SVP and General Counsel at Recology; Darcy Manning ’97, Chief Legal Officer, VP Finance and Secretary at DHC USA Inc.; Elizabeth T. Duong ’04, VP and General Counsel, Business & Staffing Solutions at ActOne Group; Jarett Nixon ’05, Head of Legal at ThousandEyes, Inc.; Jill Simeone ’93, General Counsel and Secretary at Etsy; Kathy L. Hibbs ’88, Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer at 23andMe; Lina Brenner ’97, SVP Legal at Nurx; Mariah Panza Garcia ’98, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer at Conco; Michelle Paulson ’09, general counsel at Redacted; Nicole Campbell ’92, Chief Legal Officer at App Annie Inc.; Sangeetha Raghunathan ’03, General Counsel at Indiegogo; Sherwin Chen ’02, General Counsel and Secretary at Color Genomics, Inc.; Thomas Chow ’04, General Counsel and Secretary at PubMatic, Inc; and Kristin Sverchek ‘07, General Counsel at Lyft. The additional signees represent public and private companies, start-ups, and non-profit organizations.
“The only way you can flesh out an idea is with diversity of opinion and that needs to be reflected in the diversity of people giving us the opinion,” Sverchek ‘07 told American Lawyer. The open letter was also published in several other stories published on Law. com, the ABA Journal and also in the New York Times.
Published in response to recent announcements of partner classes at top law firms that have been predominately white and male, the letter states that the signees will “direct outside counsel spend to those law firms that manifest results with respect to diversity and inclusion, in addition to providing the highest degree of quality representation.”
The letter continued, “We believe that a diverse workplace is evidence that you have created an environment where all employees feel they belong and are accepted.”
The letter goes on to point out that many firms fail to reflect the demographic composition of entering associate classes. Partnership classes remain largely male and largely white, the letter said.
“We have no doubt that these lawyers worked hard to earn partnership and deserve the success they have obtained at your firms. We also know that there are women, people of color, and members of the LGTBQIA community and others who are no doubt equally deserving, but are not equally rewarded. We are left to wonder if you and your partners value diversity enough to put into place programs to develop, promote, and retain talented and diverse attorneys,” the letter said.