Diversity

Guided by the principle that our clients are best served when we build a diversity of perspectives into the solutions that we offer, Venable continues to grow as a diverse law firm where all voices are represented and heard and where everyone has a chance to fulfil their potential.

 

Diversity and Inclusion

Attacks against Asian Americans

Commitment Against Racism

To realize the true power of a diverse and inclusive workforce, an organization must encourage an environment where all professionals feel supported and have a sense of belonging. With this as our goal, Venable has adopted a multipronged approach to recruit, retain, and promote diverse talent. Through these efforts, we have realized a 50% increase in the number of racially diverse attorneys among our ranks and doubled the number of partners and counsel who are women in just the past decade. In 2020, Venable created the position of partner-in-charge of Diversity and Inclusion, building on the firm’s board-level Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, which was established by our chairman, Stu Ingis, in 2017.

While we are proud of our progress to date, the ongoing struggle for racial, social, and gender equity underscores the urgent need to do even better. And so, we are redoubling our resolve to nurture a truly inclusive environment, through continuously seeking out highly skilled lawyers, paraprofessionals, and support staff from a wide range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and social backgrounds, and developing and implementing programs, outreach, and mentoring opportunities that promote their personal and professional growth.

Recruit
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Venable's Hiring Committee makes a concerted effort to interview diverse candidates who have a demonstrated record of success, including academic achievement and other credentials.

We proudly partner with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), the premier organization fostering equality in the legal profession, to build and cultivate a robust recruiting pipeline. Our partnership with LCLD requires active participation in LCLD conferences by our co-managing partners. We host LCLD’s 1L Scholar program, in which diverse law students spend half the summer at Venable and half in-house with a client. Several prior IL scholars later joined the firm as first-year associates.

We recruit from historically Black law schools and other top-tier schools, and from job fairs, such as the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, the Northeast Black Law Students Association (BLSA) Job Fair, the Western Region BLSA Job Fair, and the Lavender Law Conference.

Learn more about Venable’s recruiting efforts and the pathways you can follow to join our team of professionals.

Venable is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Retain
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We are committed to diversity in leadership. Venable was the first Am Law 100 law firm to have an African American serve as its managing partner: Karl Racine, who went on to become the current DC attorney general. Today, 40 percent of our board consists of women and racially diverse members – nearly double the typical representation of such attorneys on boards at comparable law firms. Women and racially diverse partners lead two of our four divisions, our two largest offices, 15 of our 32 practice groups, three prominent committees, and the Venable Foundation.

  • Firm leadership, including the board, members of the Evaluation and Hiring Committees, and senior staff have received mandatory unconscious bias and inclusion training focused on "Inclusive Leadership."
  • As practice groups are the firm’s primary vehicle for nurturing legal careers, we recently revised job descriptions for practice group leaders that outline their responsibilities for an intentional approach to diversity and inclusion in the promotion process and pipeline development.
  • We sponsor mid-career lawyers’ participation in the LCLD Fellows and Pathfinder programs, which focus on building leadership and networking skills.
  • As a partner member of MCCA, Venable participates in the annual Pathways to Diversity conference and sponsors associates in the Sources of Success Training Program.
  • Venable created the Office of Career Services to provide ongoing support for associates firmwide in all aspects of their careers. Traci Mundy Jenkins, the firm’s first director of career development, is an associate alumna of Venable and will serve as president of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) in the 2021-2022 term.
  • In the spring of 2020, the firm’s management committee spearheaded a “Moments and Movements” initiative to acknowledge and confront racial discrimination. Through the initiative, we have facilitated close to 40 small group discussion circles that allow our professionals to freely share their experiences and learn from their peers. We’ve curated educational resources that explore systemic racism, and hosted pop-up bookshops that offer our clients and employees complimentary copies of important works regarding Black history and culture. We’ve also organized a series of children’s reading circles for young family members of Venable employees and clients, to enhance their understanding of our country’s diverse history. And we have launched a speaker series inviting scholars, authors, and other special guests to discuss issues of racism and equity.

Promote
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Our affinity groups promote career growth and wellness for our diverse attorneys, focusing on support for members and the ongoing development of junior and mid-level lawyers. Through workshops and networking events, members develop relationships with Venable leaders, mentors, colleagues, and clients.

LGBTQ @ Venable

LGBTQ @ Venable is committed to providing education and professional development opportunities and to promoting a sense of belonging for our firm’s LGBTQ lawyers, clients, and friends.

Venable Success Network (VSN)

VSN is designed to help African American attorneys develop a strong network of relationships that contribute to their advancement within the firm and the community.

Women Attorneys at Venable (WAVe)

WAVe works to improve the rate of retention, promotion, and advancement of women attorneys and professionals within the firm, and to increase the strength of our pipeline.

Communities
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One of Venable’s greatest strengths is its service to the communities in which its professionals live and work. Through the firm’s philanthropic and pro bono efforts, our attorneys and staff contribute both time and money to numerous causes supporting educational and social justice initiatives, and provide legal assistance to individuals and organizations in need. Over the past 10 years, the Venable Foundation, Inc. has donated more than $25 million, primarily to nonprofit organizations that provide needed services to low-income individuals and marginalized groups. Attorneys across the firm allocate funding in their respective communities, with a focus on direct giving to maximize our impact. Along with supporting more than 500 organizations, we have awarded nearly a million dollars in grants to legal aid societies and other groups working to reduce poverty, homelessness, sexual violence, and human trafficking.

Learn more about the Venable Foundation.

The Foundation’s work is complemented by Venable’s pro bono practice, much of which is focused on cases involving indigent minorities and victims of violence. Recent accomplishments include filing a Supreme Court amicus brief to protect 700,000 Dreamers from deportation, obtaining asylum for an LGBTQ client from Jamaica who suffered repeated acts of violence, securing the release from prison of a DC man who was wrongfully incarcerated for 24 years, and achieving an important victory in a class action suit to end the Department of Homeland Security’s practice of arresting undocumented immigrants during green card interviews. Our lawyers have also donated their time to serve as nonpartisan poll monitors, helping safeguard voting rights for all Americans.

Learn more about our pro bono work.

Recognition
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  • In 2021, Washington Business Journal recognized Venable among the most diverse companies in the greater Washington, DC area
  • In 2021, Profiles in Diversity Journal named Nora Garrote, partner in charge of Diversity and Inclusion, among its "Latino Leaders Worth Watching" 
  • In 2020, 2019 and 2018, Venable received top honors from the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity for its diversity and inclusion efforts
  • In 2019, Venable was named a Lawyers of Color Diversity & Inclusion Leader
  • In 2019, Venable was named a Gold Standard firm by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF)
  • In 2019, Venable was recognized by The American Lawyer as a "Top Firm" for Diversity
  • In 2019, Venable was recognized by Yale Law Women among its Top Ten Firms for Gender Equity and Family Friendliness Report
  • In 2019, Profiles in Diversity Journal named Lisa Tavares, co-chair of Venable’s Business Division, among its “Women Worth Watching”
  • In 2019, Courtney Capute was named to the Baltimore Sun's Women to Watch
  • In 2019, Venable received the New York City Bar Association's 2019 Diversity Fellowship Program Partner of the Year Award
  • In 2019, Lisa Tavares was named to the Emerging Women Leaders in Law (Private Practice) by DCA Live
  • In 2018, Savoy featured Lisa Tavares and Claude Bailey among its "2018 Most Influential Black Lawyers"
  • In 2018, Profiles in Diversity Journal named Claudia Lewis, co-head of the FDA practice and Venable board member, among its "Women Worth Watching"
  • In 2018, the DC Breastfeeding Coalition recognized Venable's DC office with the Silver Level Award during its Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace Awards
  • In 2016, Venable received the Diversity and Inclusion Partnership Award from Edward Jones
  • In 2015, the University of Maryland Black Law Students Association (BLSA) recognized Venable efforts to promote diversity with its 2015 Firm Diversity Award
  • In 2013, Venable partner Suzanne St. Pierre was honored by pro bono client Brooklyn Community Pride Center at the organization's annual gala. BCPC provides social services to the LGBT community in Brooklyn, with a focus on youth and seniors
  • In 2012, for the third year in a row, Venable was named a Top 100 Law Firm for Diversity and Top 100 Law Firm for Women by MultiCultural Law magazine
  • In 2012, Venable received a diversity award at the 33rd Annual Awards Banquet of the Black Law Students Association of the University of Baltimore
  • In 2011, Venable received the Law Firm Diversity Award at the DRI Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. In 2011, the firm also received an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon for the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs
  • In 2010, the University of Maryland Chapter of the Black Law Students Association recognized Venable as "Firm of the Year"