Greene Espel is honored to celebrate dual recognitions for its contributions to diversity and inclusion in the legal industry.
On September 2, 2020, Law360 recognized Greene Espel among 40 U.S. firms with the most diverse equity partnerships. Law360 emphasized that while “progress on diversity in the legal industry has been slow . . . the 40 firms on this list are showing that law firms can create opportunities, and work to build a partnership with more diverse talent and diverse perspectives.”
That same day, Minnesota Lawyer recognized Greene Espel for making a “significant impact with respect to diversity and inclusion in the greater community or within their organizations.” The Minnesota Lawyer award recognizes Greene Espel’s internal diversity as well as its external commitment to promoting diversity and eliminating racism in the community.
Internally, for example, 63% of Greene Espel attorneys are women, people of color, or LGBTQ. But even beyond the numbers, Greene Espel’s attorneys and staff are all individually committed to advancing diversity and reducing racism in our community. Attorney Amran Farah just completed a two-year stint as the president of Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers (MABL). In that role, among other activities, she organized a tremendously successful peaceful protest of attorneys following the death of George Floyd. Attorney Sam Clark serves as vice chair of the board of directors at Ujamaa Place, a nonprofit focused on assisting young black men experiencing barriers to success such as unemployment, homelessness, drug use, racism, and frequent interactions with the criminal justice system. Our marketing manager, Ethelind Kaba, is a community organizer who has engaged diverse and immigrant communities to advocate for closing gaps in education and homeownership. Our attorneys also include the past-president of the Somali American Bar Association, the past chair of the Council of Minnesotans of African Heritage, a board member of B.R.A.V.E., a non-profit focused on the success of young East African girls, and two past presidents of the Infinity Project (whose mission is to increase the gender diversity of the state and federal bench to ensure the quality of justice in the Eighth Circuit).
Our commitment to diversity isn’t just internal, it is external too. Our firm now boasts a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion consulting practice that helps clients conduct diversity assessments, review policies, undertake investigations, create DEI plans, and provide bias and equity trainings. This practice grew naturally out of attorney Sybil Dunlop’s work creating award-winning diversity trainings. As she began traveling the country to provide her training, we realized that there was a real need for the quality provision of services in this arena. And no lawyers were offering these services. We are now filling this gap in the market.
We know that the legal profession remains our nation’s least diverse profession. And we view ourselves as having an obligation to change that fact. Our diversity makes us stronger, helps us provide better client service, and is frankly necessary to the legitimacy of the judicial system in which we all work. We’re proud of our award, but we’ll also keep trying to improve.