Diversity Newsletter

December 2017

A Note from the Chair – Diversity Developments at Mintz Levin


Tyrone Thomas


Tyrone Thomas, Chair
Mintz Levin Diversity Committee

As 2017 comes to a close, we should all be extremely proud of our progress on diversity and inclusion efforts in the past year. Not only has our firm continued to exceed our peer averages for partner diversity with LGBT attorneys, women, and persons of color, but over 40% of the firm’s governing Policy Committee is comprised of attorneys from diverse backgrounds. We have also continued outreach to our clients who are signatories to ABA Resolution 113, a national initiative to improve diversity in the legal profession, to partner with them in providing diverse teams to deliver excellent service.

Below are a number of exciting developments that will further our efforts to become a national diversity leader in the legal industry. Please continue to share news of our accomplishments and feel free to reach out to me or our new Manager of Attorney Development and Diversity, Bobbie Jo Papagno, if you would like to discuss your involvement in a particular initiative. Thanks for your continued support and have a great holiday season.

  Tyrone Thomas




In This Edition

» New Manager of Attorney Development and Diversity

» New Policy on Creditable Hours for Diversity Efforts

» Mintz Joins the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

» Diversity Spotlight: Interview with Corporate Attorney Leah Pollema

» MIATTY Retreat

» 2018 Richard Mintz Diversity Scholar – Ginny Lee

» Out & About: Diversity at Mintz Levin

» Recent Diversity Achievements


Welcome Bobbie Jo Papagno,
Manager of Attorney Development and Diversity





We are excited to welcome Bobbie Jo Papagno as the Manager of Attorney Development and Diversity. Bobbie Jo joins as a member of the Attorney Development Team and will be based in the Washington, DC office. She will work closely with the Diversity Committee and the firm’s affinity groups — the Women’s Initiative, MIATTY (minority attorneys’ group), and the LGBT Group — to develop, implement, and advance diversity and inclusion efforts at Mintz. Prior to joining Mintz Levin, Bobbie Jo was the Manager of Diversity & Inclusion and Associate Career Management in the Washington, DC office of another national firm.


New Policy on Creditable Hours for Diversity Efforts

Mintz Levin wants to encourage everyone to get involved with promoting diversity in the legal profession, both in our offices and throughout our communities. Accordingly, the firm has approved a policy in which associates, counsel, patent agents, and technical advisors may record up to 24 hours a year for creditable time spent on advancing diversity in the legal profession and working on firm diversity initiatives. This time will be creditable toward the total hours threshold for bonus purposes. The policy will go into effect on January 1, 2018.


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Mintz Joins the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity

We are proud to announce that Mintz Levin is a new member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). LCLD is an organization of more than 275 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners — the leadership of the profession — who have dedicated themselves to creating a truly diverse legal profession. LCLD programs are designed to attract, inspire, and nurture the talent in society and within their member organizations, thereby helping a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to positions of leadership. Mintz is extremely pleased to also participate in LCLD’s Fellows program, which is designed to connect high-potential attorneys from preeminent organizations for a year-long professional development series that focuses on leadership and relationship building. Tara Corvo and Tyrone Thomas represented Mintz in the firm’s introduction to LCLD at its annual meeting in October 2017 in Washington, DC.


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Spotlight: Interview with Leah Pollema


Tell us a little about your practice.




I am in the Corporate & Securities practice group, and I do M&A, venture capital financings, and general corporate work. I work mostly with private companies, many of which are start-ups, in a variety of industries.



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



I am originally from a small town in Iowa, and I went to law school in Kansas City. After law school, I practiced at a mid-sized law firm in Kansas City. My husband’s medical fellowship brought us to San Diego and I lateralled to Mintz in 2015. I was attracted to Mintz San Diego because of the culture and entrepreneurial spirit.



What do you like most about being an associate at Mintz?



I love that I have the opportunity to work on a broad range of deals with folks in several Mintz offices in addition to San Diego, and that my practice allows me to get to know lawyers in all sorts of other practice areas.



Why is diversity important to the legal profession?



Our clients have high expectations — they require not only excellent legal knowledge and advice but also a comprehensive understanding of their business and objectives. This requires establishing interpersonal relationships and often an understanding and acceptance of other cultures and perspectives. I think that we’re able to provide this personalized level of support only when we can offer a diverse team of people with varied backgrounds, experiences, ethnicities, genders, and perspectives.



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



Have a positive attitude. Enthusiasm instills confidence and respect, and your attitude is your first and lasting impression.



Tell us about your life outside of Mintz Levin. What keeps you busy outside of work?



I enjoy fitness and taking advantage of all of the outdoor activities San Diego has to offer. My weekends include hiking, running, paddle-boarding, oceanfront yoga, and golf. I am also an avid reader and addicted to true crime podcasts.



Are there any little known facts about yourself that you could share with us?



Two things: (1) I am a big professional golf fan. I follow the PGA Tour pretty religiously and try to hit at least one tournament in person every year. Attending the Masters at Augusta with my dad is at the very top of my bucket list; (2) My husband and I are expecting our first child — a girl — in April 2018!



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MIATTY Retreat


Brent Henry and Ralph C. Martin


A record number of Mintz Levin’s attorneys of color and senior professionals gathered in the Boston office on November 9–10 for this year’s MIATTY retreat. The agenda focused on “Taking Control of Your Destiny” and included presentations on how to build and grow a successful practice from the “inside out” as well as from the “outside in.” Other informative sessions focused on making the most of networking and career advancement within the firm. MIATTY was honored to have Ralph C. Martin, Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Northeastern University, participate in a fireside chat with Member Brent Henry on the topic of “Inclusion and Diversity: Fact or Fiction.”


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2018 Richard Mintz Diversity Scholar – Ginny Lee



The Richard Mintz Diversity Scholarship — which is named for the son of the founding member of the firm, who himself was a long-standing supporter of diversity — awards a diverse second year law student a paid summer position and a $10,000 payment toward law school expenses for his or her third year of law school. Criteria for the Richard Mintz Diversity Scholarship include demonstrated excellence in academics, community-based activities, and a commitment to enhance diversity. We are extremely pleased to announce our latest Richard Mintz Diversity Scholar, Ginny Lee. Ginny is a student at the University of Michigan Law School. We look forward to welcoming Ginny to Mintz Levin next summer!


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Out & About: Diversity at Mintz Levin


Women and Wine: Leadership and Building Your Professional Brand



On October 4, Mintz Levin hosted “Women and Wine: Leadership and Building Your Professional Brand” at Domenico Winery in San Carlos. The event featured a panel of accomplished women talking about their careers and how they lead in their respective professions to build value. Terri Shieh-Newton moderated the group, which included Mira Chaurushiya (Senior Associate of 5AM Ventures), Robin Walker (General Counsel of Casebia Therapeutics), Suja Subramaniam (Head of Patents for Roche), Kate Black (Chief Privacy Officer of 23andMe), and KT Moortgat (Partner at AbbVieVentures). More than 70 women and men attended the event. In addition to hearing from the engaging panel, the attendees were able to network and even bottle their own wine.


Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair



For the third consecutive year, the Diversity Committee sponsored the National LGBT Bar’s Annual Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair. The conference was hosted in San Francisco August 2-4 and was well attended by hundreds of attorneys, corporate counsel, law students, law professors, and judges. Mintz was well represented with three panel speakers, Lyzzette Bullock, Doug Hauer, and John Koss, and attendees Maryann Civitello, Brian Shea, Stephanie Leopold, and Sarah Roberts. The Mintz Levin group networked with in–house counsel from numerous companies, including Office Depot, US Bank, Xerox Corporation, and TiVo. Mintz was in good company with fellow sponsors including BMW, Walmart, Facebook, Amazon, and GlaxoSmithKline. Attendees spent three days in sessions on topics varying from “Updates on Energy and Environmental Law” to “Jury Selection and Anti-LGBT Bias.” Next year’s Lavender Law conference is scheduled for August 8-10 in New York City.


Hispanic National Bar Association’s Annual Convention



Mintz Levin was a proud sponsor of the Hispanic National Bar Association’s (HNBA) 2017 Annual Convention, which was held in Kansas City September 6-9. The HNBA Annual Convention was attended by over 450 Latino/a attorneys, judges, and law students from across the country, including public officials, business leaders, and general counsels from over 50 companies, including many Fortune 100 corporations. This year’s convention was particularly energized as the Bar celebrated its 45th anniversary, with a keynote from US Secretary of Labor the Honorable R. Alexander Acosta. Ben Sigel (Special Counsel and Director of Client and Community Relations) and Jennifer Carrión (Legal Recruiting Manager) represented Mintz Levin at the Convention, where they attended several informative sessions, participated in a Corporate Board training for helping Latinos/as to sit on corporate boards, engaged in a mentoring speed networking session, and networked with a broad network of in-house and fellow law firm attorneys.


California Minority Counsel Program’s Annual Business Conference



Mintz Levin sponsored the California Minority Counsel Program’s (CMCP) annual business conference, which took place October 21-22 in Los Angeles. Mintz Levin is proud to be a long-time sponsor and supporter of CMCP. Ralph Campillo, Randy Jones, Nada Shamonki, Carolyn Sha, and Ben Sigel represented Mintz Levin at the event, where they were able to meet with in-house counsel from a wide variety of organizations, including Wells Fargo, Facebook, and the University of California.


Hispanic National Bar Association In-house Panel



On October 10, Mintz Levin successfully hosted and sponsored the HNBA – Region I In-House Counsel Roundtable and Reception in the Boston office. The esteemed panel included former Mintz Levin & ML Strategies colleague Mo Cowan (now the VP of Global Litigation & Legal Policy at General Electric), Lizette Perez-Deisboeck (General Counsel of Battery Ventures), Damian Wilmot (VP of Litigation and Compliance at Vertex Pharmaceuticals), and Cristina Gonzalez (named General Counsel of Staples shortly after the roundtable). Over 40 members of the Hispanic, National Bar, and Boston Bar Associations attended the roundtable, which covered a wide variety of topics, including diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace and working with outside counsel, the decision making process in selecting outside counsel, and what it is like to work as an in-house attorney.


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Recent Diversity Achievements


Human Rights Campaign



Mintz Levin received its eleventh consecutive perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality. The CEI evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.


Brent Henry



Brent Henry, a Member in the Health Law Practice and former Vice President and General Counsel at Partners HealthCare, was honored with the Spirit of Change Award at the 8th Annual Boston Bar Beacon Awards for Diversity & Inclusion. He is a former co-chair of the BBA’s Diversity Leadership Task Force, which was formed in 2006 and ultimately led to the creation of the BBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Section. In 2012, he co-chaired a new trustee committee charged with increasing diversity among the faculty, student body, and senior administration of his alma mater, Princeton University. Last year, Brent served on “The Power of Inclusion Forum” as part of the 2016 ACC-Northeast Series on Diversity & Inclusion.


Deborah Daccord



Deborah Daccord, a Member in the firm’s Health Law Practice, and Co-chair of the Health Care Transactions Group, was recognized by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly among the 2017 “Top Women of Law.” The annual event celebrates outstanding achievements made by exceptional women lawyers and highlights women who are pioneers, educators, trailblazers, and role models.



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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

Fred C. Hernandez
Member, San Diego

Yolanda T. Howze
Member, Boston

Christopher Jeffers
Member, Washington, DC

Heather R. Kelly
Director of Attorney Development, Boston

Richard H. Moche
Member, Boston

Bobbie Jo Papagno
Manager of Attorney Development and Diversity, Washington, DC

Gauri Punjabi
Associate, Boston

Carolyn Sha
Associate, San Francisco

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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