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Diversity & Inclusion

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Hodgson Russ fosters a diverse and inclusive workplace where all belong and can thrive. We
develop programs and structures that respect, promote, and celebrate diversity and inclusion in
all aspects of what we do, including recruiting, professional development, compensation, and
advancement. The firm is also committed to supporting diversity in our communities.

Hodgson Russ's diversity efforts are championed by our Diversity Committee, led by Andrew Freedman

Women's Initiatives

“Making inclusion a priority is a daily commitment and I am proud that the firm realizes its focus on diversity will only strengthen our organization.”

- Sujata Yalamanchili, Real Estate & Finance Partner, Power 125 Women Award Winner, 2018, 2019; Power 150 Women Award Winner 2020

Hodgson Russ LLP values the voices that our female attorneys and staff bring to the firm. As one of the first AmLaw firms to be managed by a woman in 1988, women attorneys are integrally involved across all levels at the firm and continue to hold key leadership positions.

This long-standing commitment to female attorneys continues today and is visible as our firm has been named to American Lawyer’s “A-List for Female Equity Partnership” in 2020 and 2019. This exclusive and prestigious list in American Lawyer magazine surveys the largest 200 law firms in America and ranks them by various financial and cultural markers. Hodgson Russ received the “Tipping the Scales” award in 2020 by the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance (see the official press release here). We are proud that our firm was recognized for our continuous efforts to ensure that women have an integral role at the firm.


  • National Law Journal ranked Hodgson Russ among the top 50 law firms in the United States for prevalence of women partners in 2019.
  • Christine Bonaguide and Sujata Yalamanchili, board members for the WNY Women’s Foundation, along with Luisa Bostick and Jody Galvin, helped launch and are a part of the First Cohort of ALL IN, an initiative sponsored by the Western New York Women's Foundation.
  • Julia Hilliker, a partner in litigation, was named to Buffalo’s Business First 40 under 40 in 2018 for her professional success and her contributions to the WNY community. Hilliker joins many of our women partners who have previously received this honor.
  • Partner, Jane Bello Burke, serves as an officer of the New York State Bar Association’s Health Law Section since June of 2019.
  •  Sujata Yalamanchili, partner in our Real Estate practice, was named the recipient of the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award®. The award honors an exceptional individual who has achieved the highest level of professional excellence, contributed time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assisted others—particularly women—in realizing their full leadership potential.

Fostering a Diverse Future: Creating a Pipeline to Law

At Hodgson Russ we know that creating access to the field of law is a complex process requiring financial support and the development of relationships that help a young person navigate high school, undergraduate education and law school. We have developed a series of programs that expand and build on opportunities for future leaders to learn more about working in the legal system.


High School Support

  • Since 2012, Hodgson Russ has presented a college scholarship to a college-bound senior with an interest in the law from Buffalo Prep.

Undergraduate Support

  • We continue our long-standing relationship with the University at Buffalo School of Law by participating in its Discover Law Program. Discover Law is a four-week immersive experience for underrepresented minority students or first-generation college students who are interested in pursuing a career in the law. Hodgson Russ contributes financially including sponsoring three named scholars in 2018, 2019 and 2020. In addition, we host networking events for students at the firm and provide mentors to the students in the program.
  • The firm supports a “Tour of the Courts” college intern through the Say Yes Internship and Career Pathways Program.

Law School Support

  • In partnership with the Albany County Bar Association’s (ACBA) Diversity Internship Program and Albany Law School, the Albany office hosted two 3L students (spring and fall semesters). The ACBA Diversity Internship Program entails a ten-week internship in which students work a minimum of ten hours a week, totaling approximately 100 hours.
  • We sponsor and support the UB Law School’s OUTLaw and Students of Color Dinner each year. In 2020, we hosted an LGTBQ+ networking event for students to ask questions and connect to practicing LGBTQ+ attorneys in the area.
  • We provide mentoring opportunities for mock trial teams at both the high school and law school levels.

A Culture of Diversity & Inclusion Learning

Hodgson Russ acknowledges that a strong law firm is always growing and expanding its understanding of the communities where it works. We consistently bring in outside speakers, host panels, and expose the firm to the complex diversity of our communities.


  • In 2020, we hosted a Diversity at Work panel featuring business leaders from M&T Bank, Delaware North and Excellus who gave perspectives about how Diversity and Inclusion is impacting their business and best practices they have learned.
  • Dr. Arin Reeves spoke at the firm in 2016 and again in 2019 about Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Intelligence. Dr. Reeves held several programs during her time at the firm and we continue to work to implement her best practices on a consistent basis.
  • In 2019, we hosted Journey’s End Refugee Services, which included a presentation to our staff and attorneys about Journey’s End’s mission to welcome refugees without regard to ethnic origin or creed and to assist them to become healthy, independent, contributing members of the community.
  • We honor diversity and inclusion at the firm and throughout the community by participating in local parades like the Pride Parade and Juneteenth Parade, by hosting Lunch & Learn documentaries and movies, and by holding internal conversations around diversity and inclusion.

In The Community

Our firm is proud of the work our attorneys and staff do to support diverse projects and organizations in the local community.


  • UB Law School Students of Color named Hodgson Russ the 2020 recipient of the Law Firm Recognition Award. This award recognized the firm’s many contributions to the betterment of our community.
  • Jody Galvin received the Legal Service Award in January 2019 from the National Federation of Just Communities.
  • Andrew Freedman, Diversity Partner, and Anna-Lesa Calvert, Manager of Professional Development and Diversity, completed the Buffalo Niagara Diversity Academy.  Course attendees worked with leaders across business sectors to exchange ideas about inclusive leadership skills, and to create actionable strategies for addressing today’s diverse work environment.