Our Commitment to Diversity and Equality
Lieff Cabraser is committed to diversity and inclusion in our professional work through our firm values and across our people. This commitment is embedded in the firm’s culture and reflected in our long-standing support of charitable groups and bar association programs, advancing diversity and ensuring equal opportunities for all.
We participate extensively in the diversity initiatives and programs of the Bar Association of San Francisco, including its 2010 Goals and Timetables and Recommendations for Minority Hiring and Advancement and the No Glass Ceiling Initiative, each of which commit the firm to voluntary benchmarks for the hiring and promotion of diverse lawyers.
Pro Bono and Amicus Work Promoting Diversity
Lieff Cabraser has undertaken numerous pro bono cases in support of diversity, equality, and employee and civil rights. For example, in 2008, we served as counsel for Amici Curiae the National Employment Lawyers Association and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right Under Law before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in support of former African-American employees of Johnson & Johnson who alleged they were discriminated on the basis of their race. Gutierrez v. Johnson & Johnson, 523 F.3d 187 (3rd Cir. 2008).
We have taken an active role in support of marriage equality in California and nationwide. Lieff Cabraser believes in the Constitution’s promise of liberty and equality for all.
On March 5, 2015, Lieff Cabraser joined 378 businesses to ask the United States Supreme Court to strike down state law bans on same-sex marriage in connection with the pending case, Obergefell v. Hodges.
Commenting on the firm’s participation in the case, Kelly M. Dermody, the managing partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, stated, “Our firm recognizes that it is illogical and unfair that we are compelled by Tennessee law to institutionalize discrimination for our own employees in Tennessee even as they fight to justice for our firm’s clients every day. We proudly join the other 378 employees – often adversaries in our cases, but united on this issue – to seek equality under the law for all marriages.”
Lieff Cabraser previously participated as an amicus party in the similar employer brief filed in the 2013 landmark United States Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor (the challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act), and served as amici counsel in connection with the 2013 United States Supreme Court case challenging California’s Proposition 8, Perry v. Hollingsworth.
Earlier, before the California Supreme Court in Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal. 4th 364 (2008), we served as Amici Curiae counsel for forty bar and legal advocacy non-profit organizations throughout California and nationwide. Amici Curiae argued that Proposition 8’s denial of equal protection to a class of individuals with respect to a fundamental right violated the California Constitution.
Support of Bar Organizations Promoting Diversity
Lieff Cabraser sponsors, participates in, and serves in leadership roles for bar organizations and non-profit groups that promote diversity and seek to eliminate barriers to the hiring, advancement, and retention of diverse persons (including racial and ethnic minorities; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgender persons; and persons with disabilities) in the legal profession and the broader community. These bar organizations and non-profit groups include:
- American Bar Association Labor & Employment Law Section:
- Standing Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, including its Diversity Task Force [Our lawyers have served on and co-chaired this Committee and Task Force];
- Administrative Committee on Equal Opportunity in the Legal Profession [Our lawyers have served on and co-chaired this Committee];
- Asian American Bar Association [Our lawyers have been members and have participated in AABA activities];
- Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund [Our lawyers have been members];
- Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF):
- Diversity Pipeline Programs (designed to increase the diversity of the pipeline to college, law school, and the legal profession) [Lieff Cabraser has sponsored and our lawyers have participated in these programs];
- Volunteer Legal Services Program (pro bono legal services in areas of landlord-tenant, consumer debt, and homelessness, among others) [Lieff Cabraser has sponsored these activities; our lawyers have participated in these activities and served on the VLSP Board and advisory committees];
- Equality Committee/Bottom Line Partnership Task Force (addressing hiring, retention and advancement of minority attorneys, developing recommendations for best practices, and issuing voluntary goals and timetables for San Francisco legal employers) [Our lawyers have participated in and co-chaired this Task Force];
- Subcommittee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Issues (addressing hiring, retention and advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender attorneys, and developing recommendations for best practices in this area) [Our lawyers have participated in and co-chaired this Task Force];
- No Glass Ceiling Task Force (addressing retention and advancement of women lawyers in San Francisco firms and law departments) [Our lawyers have participated in this Task Force];
- California Women Lawyers [Our lawyers have served on the Board and Committees];
- Equal Rights Advocates [Our lawyers have served on the Board and Committees];
- Filipino Bar Association of Northern California [Our lawyers have served on the Board and Committees];
- Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation [Our lawyers have served on the Board and Committees];
- Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (including its Education Equity Project, which works to ensure that California students attend schools that meet minimum standards for adequate and safe school facilities, qualified teachers, and instructional materials) [Our lawyers have served on and co-chaired the Board and Committees];
- Legal Aid Society – Employment Law Center of San Francisco, including its programs to create workplaces free from discrimination on the basis of gender, race, and sexual orientation [Our lawyers have served on the Board and Committees];
- Legal Momentum, formerly known as the National Organization for Women (NOW) Legal Defense and Education Fund [Our lawyers have served on the Board and Committees];
- Minority Bar Coalition [Our lawyers have participated in MBC and have served on the Planning Committee of MBC’s Unity Conference];
- National Association of Women Judges [Our lawyers have served on and co-chaired the Resource Board and Friends Committees];
- National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest association of predominantly African-American lawyers and judges [Our lawyers have been members and have spoken at national NBA conferences];
- National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) [Our lawyers have served on the Board of NELA Regional Committees and spoken at national NELA conferences on eliminating bias and discrimination in the workplace];
- National Center for Lesbian Rights [Our lawyers have served on and co-chaired the Board and Committees];
- Pride Law Fund [Our lawyers have served on and co-chaired the Board and Committees]; and
- South Asian Bar Association of Northern California [Our lawyers have participated and served on the Board].
Support for Diversity Employment Programs
Lieff Cabraser actively works with law schools and associations to promote full and equal participation in the legal profession by diverse attorneys, including through:
- Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program, offered through BASF to provide employment opportunities for minority law students [Lieff Cabraser has participated in this program annually];
- BASF Minority Summer Associate Reception [Lieff Cabraser has sponsored this annually];
- Bay Area Diversity Career Fair [Lieff Cabraser has participated in this recruiting program];
- National Black Law Students Association Job Fair, Western Region [Lieff Cabraser has participated in this recruiting program];
- “Placement Night,” organized by the Law Students of African Descent at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law [Lieff Cabraser has participated in this recruiting program].
Recognition of Our Promotion of Diversity and Social Justice
Our firm and attorneys have been honored to receive numerous awards for our leadership on initiatives that promote diversity and civil rights, including:
- “Distinguished Jurisprudence Award,” Anti-Defamation League Central Pacific Region, 2014 and 2002 (the award honors outstanding lawyers for their leadership and dedication to serving the public interest and protecting the rights of historically disenfranchised persons);
- “Florence K. Murray Award,” National Association of Women Judges, 2010 (the award recognizes an attorney for influencing women to pursue legal careers, opening doors for women attorneys, and advancing opportunities for women within the legal profession);
- “Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award,” American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession, 2010 (the premiere award for women lawyers who have excelled in their field and paved the way to success for other women lawyers);
- “Community Justice Award,” Centro Legal de la Raza, 2008;
- “Community Service Award,” Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom, 2008;
- “Award of Merit,” Bar Association of San Francisco, 2007 (for Equality Committee work);
- “Living the Dream Partner,” Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, 2005; and
- “Navigator of Civil Rights,” NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, 1998.