Dedicated Action

Jeffrey 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 Jeffrey. 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 Hartzell served as past president of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law. 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.

Partner Jeremy Protas served on the Board of Directors for the National LGBT Bar Association from 2010-2017, and served as the Association’s President in 2015. Jeremy founded and implemented a successful “Small Group Outings” program to maintain a cohesive environment as the firm grows. The program pairs partners and associates from varying practice groups, to get better acquainted with their colleagues. This increased comradeship has benefited project staffing, because matters increasingly involve cross technical disciplines and demand the experience of multiple practice groups. He also advocates for LGBT inclusion and support in the workplace to ensure all attorneys, professionals, and staff are celebrated and retained in the legal profession.

Partner Jennifer Burnette is a member 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 Jonathan Hughley serves as an Associate Board member of The Chicago Committee for Advancing Minorities in Large Law Firms, an organization that seeks racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession. He currently serves as the Chair of the Nominations Committee, and is a member of the Partner Roundtable Committee.

Partner Tiffany Gehrke served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois (WBAI). She previously served on WBAI’s Membership and Annual Dinner Committees and was selected to participate as a member of the organization’s inaugural Women’s Leadership Institute. Tiffany describes the WBAI as a remarkable organization that brings together women attorneys and their allies to work towards our common goal of making our profession better and stronger by connecting and empowering women.

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.

An Amici Brief supporting advocating for copyright protection in AI-generated art was filed in early 2024, thanks to Partner Ryan Phelan and the Marshall Gerstein team involved (Jamie Daly, Deborah Pocius). The brief not only emphasizes the growing significance of AI tools in artists' creative processes, but also extends its advocacy to disabled artists whose artistic capabilities are profoundly enhanced through the use of AI tools, enabling them to explore creative avenues previously inaccessible. Read more

Partner Jeremy Kriegel volunteers as a “coach” at the Chicago LegalTrek Contract Negotiation Workshop held every summer at Northwestern University Law School. Jeremy coaches teams of college students through a mock negotiation of a sale of high-tech goods, followed by a 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.

A number of firm attorneys are committed to the Chicago Chapter of the Women In Bio organization (WIB) and its mission. Partner Sharon Sintich, Ph.D. serves as chair of Young Women In Bio. Partners Heather Kissling and Katherine Neville, Ph.D. are members of the Advisory Board. Partner Lynn Janulis, Ph.D. has chaired or co-chaired Membership and Communication committees. Through their work in WIB, they aim to increase awareness and foster career development for women in Illinois interested in biotechnology innovation and commercialization.

Marshall Gerstein continues its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with the introduction of a policy, which allows attorneys, patent agents and technical specialists to count 25 hours of internal and external DEI activities toward their annual billable hours requirement. Launched in collaboration with the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago (IPLAC), Marshall Gerstein’s policy represents an investment in the firm’s talent and culture as well as that of the broader legal industry. Read more

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