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Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion is a cornerstone of our culture at Hodgson Russ. Hodgson Russ embraces and strives for diversity and inclusion across all areas of the firm. Diversity in recruiting, hiring, and promoting is ingrained in our firm’s culture. We know that when our team has different talents, backgrounds, experiences, and cultures our ability to provide creative and insightful solutions to our clients grows. To that end, Hodgson Russ has established and supports initiatives within the communities we serve and internally to promote diversity and inclusion.

In the Community

Hodgson Russ supports involvement and leadership by our attorneys and staff in a broad range of community and professional organizations that contribute to diversity. Our attorneys and staff currently serve on more than 100 nonprofit boards, many of which serve women and minority interests, such as Buffalo Prep, Buffalo Urban League, Child and Family Services, Friends of Hispanic Arts, Girl Scouts of Western New York, National Conference for Community and Justice, United Way, and YWCA of Western New York.

Minority Initiatives

Hodgson Russ has a significant number of minority partners in leadership positions at the firm and in the community at the local, regional, and national levels.  Among other community leadership roles, for example, a Hodgson Russ partner is a commissioner of the Niagara Frontier Transit Authority and chairs its Aviation Committee, is vice-chair of Humanities New York, is chair of the Citizens Planning Council of the City of Buffalo, has served on the board of the Buffalo Urban League, and was a trustee of Erie Community College.  A minority woman partner is on the board of the University at Buffalo School of Management.

Women’s Initiatives

Hodgson Russ LLP has been named to American Lawyer’s “A-List for Female Equity Partnership” in 2020 and 2019. This is one of the exclusive and prestigious annual lists in American Lawyer magazine which surveys the largest 200 law firms in America and ranks them by various financial and cultural markers. This particular list ranks United States law firms by the prevalence of gender diversity among the partners in a firm.

The National Law Journal has also ranked Hodgson Russ among the top 50 law firms in the United States for prevalence of women partners. Women attorneys are integrally involved with the leadership of Hodgson Russ, holding positions such as current practice area leader and former firm chair. Ours was one of the first AmLaw firms to be managed by a woman. Women are influential committee members on our firm’s board and committees for strategic planning, finance, attorney compensation, recruiting, and evaluation. In addition, women hold the majority of administrative director and manager positions in the firm.

Some recent initiatives and accomplishments that involve the advancement of women include the following.

  • Hodgson Russ sponsors the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and its annual General Counsel Institute. 
  • Hodgson Russ is a part of the First Cohort of ALL IN, an initiative sponsored by the Western New York Women's Foundation.
  • A Buffalo-based partner was named Woman of the Year by Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) and was a featured speaker at a recent OWIT conference.
  • A Buffalo-based associate was appointed to Erie County Commission on the Status of Women Advisory Board.
  • Various attorneys have won numerous awards from female-focused organizations such as the Girl Scouts of Western New York, ATHENA International, Buffalo Business First's Power 125 Women, etc.
  • In late 2014, a Buffalo-based partner received the Edwin F. Jaeckle Award from SUNY Buffalo Law School in recognition of her significant contributions to the school and the legal profession. This is the highest honor the school bestows.

Taking action

Hodgson Russ presented its first Diversity Scholarship in 2012 to a college-bound senior with an interest in the law at Buffalo Prep, an academic enrichment program for minority young adults. We are proud to support the academic success of diverse young adults and to help build the pipeline for future legal talent.

We continue our long-standing relationship with the University at Buffalo School of Law by participating in its Law Scholars Program, which provides a four-week immersive experience for underrepresented minority students or first-generation college students who are interested in pursuing a career in the law. Several of our lawyers served as mentors to the students in the program, and one of our partners coordinated the selection and assignment of mentors. We also host a reception at our Guaranty Building, introducing these students to our attorneys and summer associates—additional mentors and models as they consider a legal education and career.

Internal Initiatives

Hodgson Russ's diversity efforts are championed and administered on a day-to-day basis by our Committee for Attorney Recruitment, Development & Diversity (CARDD). The current chair of CARDD is Jodyann Galvin.

CARDD developed and oversees a comprehensive strategic plan for diversity initiatives. The plan includes the following.

  • Recruitment: Hodgson Russ actively works to attract diverse candidates, and to identify and address the specific challenges to recruitment of a diverse workforce.
  • Retention: Recognizing that our ability to retain diverse personnel is key to long-term success, we endeavor to identify and develop plans to overcome specific obstacles to retaining a diverse workforce.
  • Benefits and policies: CARDD and the Human Resources Department advise the firm’s board of directors on benefit changes that reflect the needs of our diverse population and help to advance  our diversity goals.
  • Education and recognition: Hodgson Russ expects all attorneys and staff to actively support the firm’s diversity commitment. CARDD and the Human Resources Department evaluate, recommend, and sponsor educational opportunities for attorneys and staff to foster an inclusive culture, and to encourage individual contributions to diversity. Performance reviews include a component that evaluates attorneys’ efforts to create and support a diverse and inclusive environment.