Diversity is more than just an initiative.
Cultivating a diverse workforce is a key part of our core values. We know from experience that recruiting, retaining, developing and promoting attorneys and staff from a variety of backgrounds contributes to the firm's overall success and, by extension, to our clients' success.
Diversity adds value.
A diverse workforce—lawyers and staff with distinctive backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints—benefits both our firm and our clients. We're positioned to look at each issue with fresh eyes and varied lenses, and we find unique solutions to problems as a result.
Our numbers speak for themselves.
Numbers and data are not our only goal; rather, creating an environment of support and collaboration that allows diverse attorneys to thrive is our primary focus. However, our diversity percentages prove our efforts are succeeding—they match those of a general practice law firm, rather than the lower percentages typical in an intellectual property firm.
Merchant & Gould has a three-prong approach
Our comprehensive diversity effort includes:
- Enriching our own firm. In an increasingly global marketplace, diversity in the workplace is more critical than ever before. We focus on recruitment, retention, and the progression of career paths for all attorneys and staff within our firm. New employees, associates, and lateral attorneys know that their unique talents have a platform to grow on and that they'll be supported in their career development, regardless of race, age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or family status.
- Engaging in our communities. Educating others about diversity is a priority at Merchant & Gould. We get involved in our communities and the legal profession to promote diversity. Our lawyers lead and participate in minority legal organizations, such as Minnesota’s Diversity in Practice, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Association of Women Lawyers, and the Women’s Intellectual Property Law Association, to name a few. We also collaborate with clients on diversity events, such hosting the annual American Intellectual Property Law Association's Women in IP event in our communities, and participating in minority recruitment conferences.
- Developing future talent for the profession. IP law typically has fewer diverse lawyers and staff than other legal specialties. We work with engineering societies, law students with diverse backgrounds, and others to encourage and promote diversity specifically in intellectual property law. Several of our attorneys have leadership roles in minority bar associations and speak at minority bar events and professional conferences. To support pipeline efforts, we fund scholarships for diverse students at law schools including the University of Minnesota and the University of Tennessee, and participate with the PAGE Education foundation to sponsor and mentor students of color and help them attend college. We are also actively involved with Girls, Inc. in Denver and Girls Rule! in collaboration with the Minnesota Zoo.
Diversity Committee Chair, John T. Winemiller, Ph.D.