Jeffrey S. Sharp, the Firm’s Managing Partner, has served as a mentor in the Chicago Committee's Mentorship Academy. "Just as promoting equal opportunity is important to our community, sustaining a welcoming and inclusive culture is important to our Firm because it allows us to draw from a broader talent pool in order to serve our clients better," said Mr. Sharp. The Academy is a year-long program designed to bring minority attorneys at all levels together with leaders in law firms to build substantive individual and group mentoring relationships.
Partner Julianne M. Hartzell served as president of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law for the 2011-2012 term. She is currently the co-chair of the Coalition’s Community Outreach committee. The Coalition is a non-profit association whose mission is to share effective methods to enhance the retention and promotion of women lawyers and to promote a dialogue and support network among women, furthering their career advancement and professional development.
A number of Firm attorneys are very involved with the Chicago Chapter of the Women In Bio organization (WIB). Partner Li-Hsien (Lily) Rin-Laures, M.D. helped found the Chicago Chapter. As chairwoman of the steering committee, Dr. Rin-Laures aims to increase awareness and foster career development for women in Illinois interested in biotechnology innovation and commercialization. Other Firm attorneys committed to WIB and its mission include partner partner Lynn L. Janulis, Ph.D., co-chair of the membership committee and vice chair of the communications committee, and partners Heather R. Kissling and Katherine L. Neville, Ph.D., members of the advisory board.
Partner Jeremy Kriegel volunteers as a "coach" at the Chicago LegalTrek Contract Negotiation Workshop held every summer at Northwestern University Law School. Mr. Kriegel coaches teams of college students through a mock negotiation of a sale of high-tech goods, followed by a group question-and-answer session. Chicago LegalTrek, affiliated with the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, is a program designed to diversify the legal profession by encouraging college students from historically underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the legal profession.
At the Microsoft Women and Minority Law Student IP Summit, Partner Paul Stephens, was a panelist in a roundtable discussion on diversity. The program focused on career development, recruiting and retention for minorities and women in law firms and corporate legal departments.
Jeremy D. Protas, a partner with an emphasis on electrical engineering, has been a member of the Board of Directors for the National LGBT Bar Association since 2010, and currently serves as President of the Association’s Board of Directors. Mr. Protas has also established a scholarship for LGBT law students interested in pursuing a career in patent law. "Diversity in the legal community, and especially in the patent law community, is important to me. My hope is that this scholarship will encourage LGBT law students to consider careers in patent law."
Partner Jennifer Burnette is a member of the Executive Committee of the Women’s Board of the Adler Planetarium, supporting women and their successes in science and engineering. The mission of the Women's Board includes advocacy in science education and research programs for women and minorities.
Partner Jeremy D. Protas founded and implemented a successful "Small Group Outings" program to maintain a cohesive environment as the Firm grows. The program fosters comradeship by pairing partners and associates from varying practice groups for lunches or dinners, to get better acquainted with their colleagues. This increased comradeship has benefitted project staffing, because matters increasingly cross technical disciplines and demand the experience of multiple practice groups.