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Diversity

Schwabe comprises more than 175 lawyers and over 200 staff from diverse backgrounds—giving back to their communities, doing great legal work for amazing clients and representing their communities at Schwabe.

 

A note from Schwabe’s CEO, Graciela Cowger and Diversity Chair, Joe Straus. Our commitment to diversity from the top down.

 
Learn more about diversity at Schwabe

Our diversity mission statement

At Schwabe, we do not simply acknowledge and tolerate our differences—we celebrate and depend on them to succeed. To live up to our vision, we must evolve and embrace change as an opportunity. Our efforts to recruit, retain, and promote diverse talent are crucial to advancing cutting-edge solutions that help our clients prosper, innovating within the legal field to improve client service, and cultivating our prized culture of collaboration to reflect the values of our clients and the communities in which we operate.

We recognize we have a long way to go. Our firm, like our profession, still has room to improve and grow. In that spirit, we are actively committed to:

  • fostering an environment and culture of belonging where every person feels valued and heard;
  • developing cultural competencies at every level of our firm to enhance collaboration;
  • evaluating and refining our behaviors, policies, and processes to ensure that our people are well equipped, equitably assessed, and fairly rewarded; and
  • leaning into discomfort by inviting and engaging in tough conversations that incite positive change at our firm.

We are dedicated to leading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and appreciate the opportunities to do so, both within Schwabe and in the community at large.

Diversity in our communities

We see the world beyond our law firm, and are committed to promoting diversity and equity in the legal community and the community at large.

We have a long history of supporting the Urban League of Portland, one of the oldest African American service, civil rights and advocacy organizations in the area. In fact, Schwabe’s former president served on the organization’s board of directors and its executive committee.

Schwabe attorneys are members of more than 20 affinity groups—from the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association to the Northwest Indian Bar Association.

We dedicate our time to making other industries diverse. We hold positions on diversity committees for the Pacific Northwest College of Art, participate in the CREW Network and support the success of women in the commercial real estate industry.

Diversity in law school opportunities

We start early to ensure that our attorneys reflect the communities in which we live through our recruitment of summer associates.

The firm recruits heavily at law student job fairs, both locally and nationally (for example, the Pacific ‎Northwest ‎Minority Job Fair and bar-‎‎sponsored diversity programs). Schwabe’s recruitment at these job fairs is in addition to the on-campus interviews conducted annually by the firm at various law school campuses across the nation.

In addition, Schwabe created its 1L Diversity Fellowship Program for students who have completed their first year of law school. The 1L Diversity Fellowship Program consists of one paid summer associate position in either our Seattle, Washington or Portland, Oregon offices. Recipients receive a scholarship to assist with law school expenses during the student’s second year of law school. Since 2014, we've had an impressive legacy of our 1L Diversity Fellowship recipients progressing to becoming full-time associates with the firm.

Diversity Committee

Michelle Baird-Johnson, Director of Talent Acquisition and Integration

Jayme Mori, Associate

CaroLea Casas, Associate

Rosa Ostrom, Associate

Graciela Gomez Cowger, Chief Executive Officer

Meghan Ridenour, Business Development Specialist

Derrick De Vera, Associate

Estiven Rojo, Associate

Erin Forbes, Associate

Joseph Straus, Shareholder & Diversity Committee Chair

Darius Hartwell, Shareholder

Anne Talcott, Shareholder

Darien Loiselle, Shareholder

Christina York, Human Resources Director

Alvin Ma, Recruiting Specialist

 

Diversity Thought Leadership

June 26, 2020 - Learn with Schwabe: Celebrating Pride by Remembering Its Roots as a Riot

Jun 2, 2020 - Silence is not merely complacency; it is an endorsement of racism

May 6, 2020 - Schwabe Diversity Chair and Attorney Joe Straus Honored in PSBJ's 2020 Business of Pride Edition

Apr 29, 2020 - Schwabe’s Lisa Schaures on Business Models and Diversity

Mar 2020 - Celebrating Women: Beyond Legal Advice Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3

Nov 25, 2019 - Opinion: Homogeneity is the enemy of equity

July 10, 2019 - Derrick De Vera's Leadership Tomorrow 2019 Commencement Speech

July 1, 2019 - Driving Diversity: An Inclusive Workplace Creates a Competitive Advantage

June 1, 2019 - From Classroom to Career

Feb 14, 2019 - How Midsize Firms Can Prioritize Partner Diversity Past 'Checking the Box'

Aug 31, 2018 - Opinion: Legal Industry Needs to Take a Fresh Look at Recruiting Strategies

July 10, 2018 - Everyday Tips for Disrupting Gender Inequality in the Workplace

May 16, 2018 - A Diverse and Inclusive Profession Benefits Us All