Diversity & Inclusion
History of Diversity
Wolf Haldenstein boasts a long history of support for the rights of, and employment opportunities for, women and minorities, including participation in civil rights and voter registration activities in the South in the early 1960s by partners of the Firm; the part-time employment of disadvantaged youth through various public school, college and bar association programs; the varied pro bono activities performed by many of the Firm’s lawyers; the employment of many women and minorities in various capacities at all levels at the Firm; the hiring of ex-offenders in supported job training programs; and the hiring of minority and women-owned business third-party vendors.
Wolf Haldenstein believes that we can better represent our clients when our Firm is made up of diverse individuals. The Firm is committed to promoting an inclusive work environment that welcomes individuals from a variety of backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs. The Firm promotes diversity internally and externally through the support of affinity groups, diversity in our ranks, diversity in the bar generally and hosting a diverse pipeline for future legal professionals. Examples of Wolf Haldenstein’s diversity initiatives are provided below.
Supporting a Pipeline of Diversity & Inclusion
Mentoring & Networking: In early 2017, Wolf Haldenstein joined with the New York City Bar Association in hosting an evening of mentoring and networking for diverse college students and recent graduates. The objective of the event was to discuss the professional and personal benefits of a career in the law with over forty diverse students while guiding them on the importance of seeking mentors and networking. Firm partners Janine Pollack and Regina Calcaterra served as the keynote speakers and other firm members joined in for the one-on-one networking meetings with each of the students.
Summer Internships: In cooperation with the Hunter College Pre-Law Program and New York City Bar Association, Wolf Haldenstein provides paid summer internships to diverse college students who are interested in pursuing a career in law. Students who participate in the Wolf Haldenstein Internship Program gain real life work experience while examining legal matters alongside nationally recognized litigators. Wolf Haldenstein interns have the opportunity to work on consumer protection, social justice, labor and investor protection matters. The program includes one-on-one mentoring from firm partners and associates and weekly lectures on various areas of the law.
Promoting & Supporting Workforce Diversity & Inclusion
To further advance the interests of the Firm’s women attorneys, several years ago, Wolf Haldenstein established a Women’s Committee (also known as “Women of Wolf Haldenstein” or “WOW”) that is headed up by Firm partner Demet Basar. WOW’s mission is to address issues that affect professional women at the Firm, including: offering guidance and support on how to balance office, family, health, nutrition, fitness, and overall well-being; offering women opportunities to lead initiatives on environmental, economic and social justice, charity, and community issues; and opportunities for networking development.
Partner Janine Pollack is the chairperson of the Women’s Initiative of the National Association of Shareholder & Consumer Attorneys, also known as NASCAT. The Women’s Initiative fosters strong relationships among the women in the plaintiffs’ Bar.
Wolf Haldenstein hosts the Women’s Entrepreneurial Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Network (the “Network”), a group co-founded by a Wolf Haldenstein associate Gloria Melwani in early 2015. Its mission is to foster collaboration, business development, and career growth for women practicing in the plaintiffs’ bar, in various practice areas. The Network meets quarterly and invites speakers to host discussions on women in the law.
Collective Effort Encouraging Diversity & Inclusion at Wolf Haldenstein and Throughout the Bar
As a member of the New York City Bar Association, the Firm has formally adopted the Bar Association’s Statement of Diversity Principles and actively contributes to all of its efforts towards addressing diversity and inclusion in regional law firms. We also comply with all applicable federal, New York, California and Illinois state and local non-discrimination policies.
To realize the Statement of Diversity Goals, the Firm has created a diversity committee where a senior partner is responsible for the committee and promoting its efforts. The diversity committee is itself diverse. Diversity committee recommended practices include the development of a mission statement and formal goals, analysis of the organization’s historical diversity practices, identification of current needs, development and implementation of practices designed to promote diversity and establishment of a system of metrics to gauge the organization’s success.
One of the goals of the diversity committee is to make the current work environment equally hospitable to all attorneys. A welcoming work climate facilitates hiring, increases retention and leads to promotion of professionals who add to our diversity. The diversity committee ensures that all affinity groups: (1) have meaningful mentoring available; (2) receive equal opportunities to perform significant work for important clients; (3) receive equal training, guidance and feedback; and (4) are fully included in work-related social activities with other lawyers and clients.
In addition to serving on the Executive Committee of National Association of Shareholder & Consumer Attorneys (NASCAT), Wolf Haldenstein Partner Janine Pollack also serves as the chairperson of NASCAT’s Women’s Initiative which fosters strong relationships among women in the plaintiffs’ Bar. Ms. Pollack is also participating as a team leader in developing and drafting Standards and Best Practices for Increasing Diversity in Mass Tort and Class Action Leadership for the Duke Law School Center for Judicial Studies and is a member of the Women in the Legal Profession Committee of the Bar Association of the City of New York where she served as co-editor of the Committee’s recent publication, “Street Smarts for Women Lawyers.”