Marshall Gerstein’s Partnership with Leadership Council for Legal Diversity Creates Multiplier Effect
Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP, now in its second year as a member of the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (LCLD), is witnessing firsthand the positive impact the program has on recruiting, professional development and client relationships.
LCLD is an organization comprised of over 400 leaders in the legal profession – including corporate chief legal officers and firm managing partners – committed to creating a truly diverse legal profession through its own initiatives and programs.
“We began our involvement in 2021 as a way to accelerate and accentuate our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) goals,” said partner Ryan Schermerhorn, chair of the firm’s Recruiting Committee, a member of its Diversity Committee and primary contact for its involvement with LCLD 1L Scholars Partnerships. “As a signatory to the ‘Leaders at the Front’ pledge, we are committed to intentionally creating real results in our diversity efforts.”
Marshall Gerstein’s involvement with LCLD is creating interest and momentum, not only among partners and associates, but also clients and potential new hires. A key facet of those efforts has been the firm’s participation in LCLD’s 1L Scholars Program, which provides diverse law school students with scholarships and summer associate positions at participating firms along with in-house experience at clients of those participating firms.
Two of this year’s summer associates came to Marshall Gerstein from the 1L Scholars Program. Schermerhorn is beyond impressed with the results. “I was blown away by the quality of the applicants. It made our summer associate hiring choices pleasantly difficult. Rudy Tummala, Whitney Jenkins, and Daniel Henry are highly competent, hard-working students. And they were a lot of fun to work with! LCLD has been a real benefit to us in so many ways.”
In fact, the summer associates’ work caught the attention of several of the firm’s larger clients. “The feedback from our client colleagues has been phenomenal. They are most appreciative of these talented future attorneys and the work they’re doing. We’re leading by example and outside counsel is taking notice.” Schermerhorn illustrates one aspect of the program’s success: “Our clients extended job offers to both of our 1L Scholars, but, thankfully, both 1L Scholars declined those offers and agreed to return to our firm next summer!”
Marshall Gerstein attorneys also are active in LCLD’s Fellows and Pathfinders Programs. The Fellow’s Program is designed for diverse, high-potential, mid-career attorneys at LCLD Member organizations. The goal of this program is to provide Fellows with professional and personal development opportunities, leadership training, and relationship-building opportunities. The Pathfinder’s Program targets diverse, high-potential, early-career attorneys at LCLD member organizations to hone foundational leadership skills. The program provides Pathfinders with practical tools for developing and leveraging internal professional networks through relationship-building skills and teaches them career development strategies applicable to both in-house and law firm practice.
Schermerhorn is excited about the future and is proud of the firm’s increasing involvement with diverse young attorneys and law school students. “As part of the ‘Success in Law School Mentoring Program,’ we’ve just put out a call for first year student mentors for this school year and the response has been equally impressive.” At least eight attorneys are interested in participating in the program designed to highlight legal excellence and personal involvement.
LCLD recently recognized the firm with the 2022 Compass Award and designated it a Top Performer for leadership in diversity. As one of the few intellectual property firms receiving both recognitions, Marshall Gerstein is setting the standard for career exploration among diverse law students interested in a career in IP.