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Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our culture at Hodgson Russ, and we have a long history of committing to D & I initiatives. Diversity in recruiting, hiring and promoting is ingrained in our firm’s culture and enables us to provide creative and insightful solutions to our clients. Hodgson Russ has established and supports diversity initiatives within the firm and throughout the communities we serve. Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, facilitated by our Diversity Partner and Manager of Professional Development and Diversity, focuses on three main areas: Pipelines to the Law, Internal Education, and Community Support. Our committee works across all areas of the firm to share and implement best practices that will enable the firm to continuously grow and learn so that we are best able to serve our clients and one another.

Bloomberg Law - 2023 DEI Framework

Hodgson Russ LLP is one of 55 U.S.-based law firms named to Bloomberg Law’s 2023 DEI Framework. We are proud to be recognized for our level of disclosure of diversity-related metrics and distinguished performance in this critical arena. To learn more, go to: https://pro.bloomberglaw.com/dei 

Hodgson Russ Diversity Vision Statement

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

Hodgson Russ LLP values the voices that our female attorneys and staff bring to the firm. In 1998, Hodgson Russ Partner Dianne Bennett became the only woman in the country to lead an AmLaw 250 law firm. Dianne served as president and then co-chair and chair of the firm until 2004, beginning a rich tradition of women holding key leadership positions. This long-standing commitment to female attorneys continues today; in fact, our firm has been named to American Lawyer’s “A-List for Female Equity Partnership” multiple times. 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. 

Women's Initiative Highlights:
  • Winner of the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance's “Tipping the Scales” award in 2023 and 2020, for our continuous efforts to ensure that women have an integral role at the firm.
  • Recipient of the 2022 ATHENA Organization Award®, which recognizes a for-profit organization that supports, develops, and honors women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential and creating balance in leadership throughout Buffalo Niagara region. 

Ten women seated and standing in an office setting“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, Winner of Business First's Power 125 Women 2018-2019, Power 150 Women 2020, Power 200 Women 2021-2022

Our attorneys have a long-standing tradition of leadership in women's causes, and we are proud of their many accomplishments.

  • Labor & Employment Partner Kinsey O'Brien serves as President of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York, Western New York Chapter (WBASNY WNY) through May 31, 2024. 
  • ‚ÄčLitigation Partner Jodyann Galvin and Associate Fallon Martin were recognized by Girls Rule the Law in April 2022 for their continued support of the organization's Clothes Closet for middle school mock trial teams. 
  • Sujata Yalamanchili, partner in our Real Estate practice, was the recipient of the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award®, honoring 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.
  • Health Care Partner Jane Bello Burke continues to serve as an officer of the New York State Bar Association’s Health Law Section, a position she has held since June of 2019.

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. Our Pipeline to the Law program includes supports for underrepresented students at the high school, undergraduate, and law school levels.

  • The firm has a long term relationship with Buffalo Prep, a program that provides access and preparation for talented youth to achieve success in high school and higher education. We provide mentorship, support, and scholarships to graduates of the Buffalo Prep program, and members of the firm maintain mentor relationships, offer internship opportunities, and provide guidance as students navigate college and beyond.

  • Hodgson Russ sponsors the University of Buffalo’s Discover Law Program, which provides a four-week immersive experience for undergraduates and first-generation college students interested in pursuing a career in law. The firm's support goes far beyond our two annual scholarships; we host networking events, provide learning opportunities, and foster the development of important relationships with attorneys who can guide students through their law school experience.  As founding and continuing sponsors of this program, we believe in the quality of students emerging from the Discover Law program, and Hodgson Russ has offered positions in the firm to a number of graduates.

  • Hodgson Russ participates in the Albany County Bar Association’s (ACBA) Diversity Internship Program in partnership with Albany Law School, hosting law students each semester and providing them with substantive experiences while still in school. 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. Hosting two third-year law students, the attorneys of the Hodgson Russ Albany office have an opportunity to impact the lives and careers of aspiring attorneys as they navigate law school and beyond.

A Culture of Diversity & Inclusion Learning

At Hodgson Russ, we understand that a strong law firm is always growing and expanding its understanding of the communities where it works. We are fortunate to belong to a variety of dynamic and culturally alive communities across the United States and Canada, and we encourage our employees to take advantage of the many internal education programs we provide to expose them to the complex diversity of our communities, such as:

  • Internal training sessions on Cultural Humility and Redlining
  • Diversity Month celebrations and educational opportunities
  • Cultural exchanges that explore ancient Asian arts, traditional African foods, and a host of heritages and customs that represent our rich communities

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. From supporting the 5/14 Survivors, both financially and through hands-on volunteering, to our award-winning work with the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project (“VLP"), the employees of Hodgson Russ don't just talk the talk – we walk the walk. Members of our team can regularly be found volunteering at local animal shelters, hosting fundraisers for a wealth of charities, and serving on boards and in the trenches to break the cycle of poverty through education at local community schools.

For more on our Corporate Social Responsibility, please CLICK HERE


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