Diversity Newsletter

June 2017

A Note from the Chair – Diversity Developments at Mintz Levin


Tyrone Thomas


Tyrone Thomas, Chair
Mintz Levin Diversity Committee

As warm weather and summer activities approach, it is exciting to know that the completion of Mintz Levin’s most successful year coincides with the expansion of our diversity efforts. We are proud of our commitment to diversity within the firm as evidenced by one of the most diverse summer associate classes in our history (with a diverse first year associate class to follow in the fall). We are further proud of our external commitment to diversity in initiating thought leadership with our clients who have supported ABA Resolution 113, a key initiative to expand diversity in the legal profession.

One of the rewarding experiences from our diversity initiatives is the development of outreach with concerned organizations that not only are dedicated to inclusion, but also provide thought leadership across the legal profession. It has been my privilege to serve a one-year term as Deputy General Counsel of the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest network of predominantly African-American attorneys. There are many like opportunities with other fantastic affinity bar and business associations, and the firm will continue to support those who wish to consider such opportunities.

  Tyrone Thomas




In This Edition

» Women Leaders in Law

» Spotlight: Interview with E. Crystal Lopez

» National Diversity Council Honors Cynthia Larose

» Law Student LGBT Panel

» MIATTY Retreat

» Congratulations to Reena Thadhani!


Women Leaders in Law





Mintz Levin’s Los Angeles office recently hosted its inaugural Women Leaders in Law event in conjunction with Women’s History Month. The event took place at the beautiful Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica on March 22, and featured an esteemed panel of women leaders, including General Counsel Kim Matthews, Chief District for the Central District of California Judge Virginia A. Phillips, and Dean of UCLA School of Law Jennifer L. Mnookin. The panel, moderated by Mintz Levin Associate Crystal Lopez, addressed the challenges of leading as women, how to create a culture of leadership, and how to balance demanding careers and family. More than 40 people attended the event.


Spotlight: Interview with E. Crystal Lopez


Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you ended up at Mintz Levin?




I started at Mintz Levin in June of 2016. Joshua Briones (Managing Member of the Los Angeles Office) brought me here. We had worked at another firm a number of years ago, and after I completed a clerkship with the Honorable Frederick J. Martone in the US District Court for the District of Arizona, Joshua recruited me to work with him and brought me to Mintz. One of the reasons I felt so comfortable following Josh was because I knew he was a strong advocate for a diverse workplace, and that he is committed to embracing diversity in Mintz’s LA office.



What value does diversity add to your practice?



I think a diverse background allows you to connect with other people in a more personal and meaningful way. Recently I served as a moderator at Mintz’s Women Leaders in Law event in the LA office, and I was able to connect with a California Central District judge over a personal connection we share over our diverse backgrounds. That connection, on a personal level, will better prepare me for professional interactions with that judge, and my understanding of our differences will better inform my advocacy for my clients. Essentially, diversity allows you to identify affinities with other people, which provides a commonality and way to bond with people in a way that is more personal than our common occupation.



Have you encountered any obstacles because of your diversity?



It is hard to readily identify whether I have faced obstacles because of my ethnicity or gender – because people will rarely come out and say that they would rather work with a man than a woman. However, on a number of occasions I have had instances where someone has insisted on speaking to the male partner on the case, rather than me, on an issue and it is hard to tell whether that is because I am a woman, or because I am not a partner. I would say that my managing partner is always very supportive of my capabilities and often pushes back on those types of requests unless there is a real reason the client needs to speak with him.



What opportunities do you see for Mintz, and other law firms in general, to increase diversity?



The biggest opportunity is to increase the number of women and people of color at the partnership level. I think firms are making good efforts to increase diversity at the associate level, and Mintz in particular has been excellent at promoting diversity among the associates. The next step is to get those associates into leadership roles.



What can we do to take advantage of those opportunities?



Mentorship is a key component. Partner diverse associates with strong mentors, who can help associates navigate the path to becoming a partner by not only showing them the ins and outs of the firm, but also by championing them to people in the industry to begin their own business development.



If you could give advice to a junior associate coming through the ranks, diverse or not, what would that advice be?



Find a really great mentor – and take ownership of that relationship. Develop it, reach out, insist on lunch, and ask questions! Mentors are there to help. If you received a bad evaluation or constructive feedback, work with your mentor to establish concrete steps to improve.



What advice would you give a non-diverse senior partner?



Try and actively increase your awareness about diversity, and make a conscious effort to diversify your team. If you look around the room and notice a lot of people that are a lot like you, take active steps to surround yourself with different people, because they will be able to help in ways you hadn’t even imagined.



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Law Student LGBT Panel

On April 4, the Diversity Committee and Legal Recruiting Department co-hosted a Law Student LGBT Panel and Reception for Boston-area LGBT law students. The panel was well attended by students representing Boston University, Boston College, and Northeastern Law Schools. Panelists Erica Coray, Lyzzette Bullock, and John Koss, with moderator Doug Hauer, spoke about their experiences as LGBT attorneys at a major law firm, and then opened up questions for the audience. The panel was followed by a reception open to all Mintz attorneys where the students had the opportunity to network with our attorneys and learn more about the firm. Several students commented that this was the first panel they had attended of its kind and that they were thankful to the firm for hosting. We look forward to making this an annual event.


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MIATTY Retreat

MIATTY, the Mintz Levin affinity group for attorneys and senior professionals of color, held its annual retreat on October 27-28, 2016 in New York. The retreat agenda focused on the theme “Demystifying Inclusion, Retention, and Promotion.” After panel discussions addressing successful lateral transitions and the member (the firm’s equivalent for partner) elevation process, MIATTY was honored to host as its luncheon speaker, Jean Lee, CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. Ms. Lee provided key insight on the expectations of in-house counsel and diversity progress of law firms.

The retreat concluded with an alumni panel discussion moderated by Mintz Member Narges Kakalia with Avisheh Avini (General Counsel, Union Square Hospitality Group), Michael Brown (Counsel, NRG Energy), and Wes Alexander (Senior Vice President of Employee Relations, Travelers).


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National Diversity Council Honors Cynthia Larose



Cynthia Larose, Chair of the Privacy & Security Practice and a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP), has been recognized for the second consecutive year by the National Diversity Council (NDC) as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology.

Recipients of the Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Technology awards are designated by the NDC as the most prominent women leaders in their industry. They drive change, innovation, and inspiration while contributing to business growth.

The award will be given at NDC’s Top 50 Women in Technology Awards Dinner on October 19 in San Francisco.


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Reena Thadhani Appointed to MA Commission on the Status of Women



Governor Charlie Baker has reached out to Reena Thadhani to serve on the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women, a state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality.

Please join us in extending our congratulations to Reena.



Diversity Committee

Tyrone Thomas, Chair
Member, Washington, DC

Joshua Briones
Member, Los Angeles

Jessica W. Catlow
Member, New York

Shannon Davis
Director of Legal Recruiting, New York

Francis J. Earley
Member, New York

Meryl J. Epstein
Member, Boston

Tahisha Fugate
Marketing Manager, Washington, DC

Lisa F. Glahn
Member, Boston

Fred C. Hernandez
Member, San Diego

Christopher Jeffers
Member, Washington, DC

Heather R. Kelly
Director of Attorney Development, Boston

Richard H. Moche
Member, Boston

Gauri Punjabi
Associate, Boston

Terri Shieh-Newton, PhD
Member, San Francisco

Benjamin R. Sigel
Director of Client and Community Service,
Of Counsel, Boston

Matthew T. Simpson
Associate, Washington, DC


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