Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Cohen & Gresser
At Cohen & Gresser, we are dedicated to creating a work environment that values the contributions and viewpoints of everyone, and we have developed comprehensive policies and programming that help foster an inclusive culture at Cohen & Gresser.
We embrace diverse viewpoints, perspectives, and backgrounds. Our mutual respect for one another fosters an openness and cohesion that benefits our firm and enables us to better serve our clients with creative and innovative solutions tailored to their specific needs. Our commitment to diversity starts at the top, with an active Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee—including both attorney and professional staff members—that focuses on developing and supporting initiatives in the areas of recruiting, retention, professional development, and community outreach.
Outside the firm, we are actively engaged with and support professional organizations and associations that are committed to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the business and legal communities. Our lawyers and professional staff are enthusiastically involved in mentoring and coaching activities that aim to increase opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds. The firm has signed, and strongly supports, the New York City Bar Association’s Statement of Diversity Principles, which defines diversity as an inclusive concept encompassing race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, nationality, age, marital status, and parental status.
The firm is part of the affinity network of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and a sponsor of the International Association of Korean Lawyers. We regularly organize programs and events for several organizations promoting diversity and inclusion in business and in the legal profession.
In addition to the professional organizations mentioned above, our lawyers are also members of:
- The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (US);
- The Asian American Bar Association of New York;
- The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association;
- The Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York;
- The Women in White Collar Defense Association (international);
- The Female Fraud Forum (UK);
- Interlaw (UK);
- Network for Knowledge (UK); and
- The Law Society LGBT+ Lawyers Division and Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division (UK);
- The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (Le-Gal).
Work with future lawyers
Attorneys and professional staff at the firm are enthusiastically involved in activities increasing opportunities for young people of diverse backgrounds, including:
- Coaching diverse students from a financially challenged New York City public high school in moot court competitions;
- Hosting an intern annually in our New York office, and participating in “speed networking” and other events, as part of the Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program (a project of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York);
Mentoring students from diverse backgrounds, offering advice and guidance to improve representation in law, including with the New York City Bar Association, Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc., and GROW Mentoring (UK).
We continuously seek opportunities to enrich our relationships with clients by staffing our matters with diverse teams of talented and committed professionals. We are also committed to helping clients ensure that their own policies fully support inclusivity and diversity.
Cohen & Gresser works with many clients on matters involving issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in their workplace. Notably, founding partner Mark Cohen was appointed as Court Monitor by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York in United States of America and Vulcan Society, Inc. v. City of New York (07-cv-2067-NGG), a discrimination case in which the court ruled that the Fire Department of New York’s hiring and employment practices violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. As Court Monitor, Mr. Cohen’s duties include oversight of the recruiting, testing, hiring, training, and promotion of minority firefighters in the Fire Department of New York. Other similar work has included advising a large non-profit on racial and gender equity issues in its workforce.
Our attorneys are also regularly involved in pro bono and charity work aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion. For example, our attorneys recently partnered with the ACLU of Louisiana and other private law firms and corporations in the Justice Lab initiative, which challenges racially discriminatory policing practices through litigation and other restorative justice efforts. For a full listing of the current and recent pro bono projects our attorneys are involved with, visit our Pro Bono Section.
Other diversity events and initiatives
The firm runs diversity training that is mandatory for its US staff, covering issues such as implicit bias, disability inclusion and recognition, the value of diverse perspectives and inclusion on decision making and team building.
- The firm holds a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Week in October, including a speaker panel on race issues, among other activities
- Each quarter, colleagues from throughout the firm contribute written pieces from diverse viewpoints as part of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion ‘Spotlights’ series.
- Attorneys across our offices lead regular networking events for women in law and other professions.
Firm policies supporting diversity
Cohen & Gresser recognizes the importance of providing and promoting health care for all our employees, their spouses, domestic partners, and dependents from the first day of employment. All our benefits policies are open to domestic partners.
To further support our diverse group of attorneys, we offer generous parental leave programs:
- In our US offices, primary caregivers are given 12 weeks of leave (plus 4 weeks of existing PTO), and secondary caregivers are given 4 weeks of leave (plus 4 weeks of existing PTO);
- In our London office, primary caregivers are given 6 months of fully-paid leave, plus 3 further months at 50% pay, and secondary caregivers are given 3 weeks of fully-paid leave.
Cohen & Gresser believes that transparency is essential to achieving progress in matters of diversity and inclusion. Any potential candidates or others who have questions about our benefit policies should reach out to Rianna Williamson, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The firm has adopted policies permitting attorneys to work part time or remotely in appropriate circumstances.
The Firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
To find out more about diversity, equity and inclusion at Cohen & Gresser, we encourage you to reach out to any member of the Firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Current members are:
- Joanna K Chan (New York, Committee Co-Chair)
- Jumana Rahman (London, Committee Co-Chair)
- Charlotte Ritchie (London, Committee Co-Chair)
- Kwaku Andoh (New York)
- Cait Bartley (New York)
- Kirill Bashilov (New York)
- Yettive Buntin (New York)
- Drew S Dean (New York)
- William E Kalema (New York)
- Alex Kelly (New York)
- Phoebe H King (New York)
- Jessica Liu (New York)
- Melissa H Maxman (D.C.)
- Alice Mills (London)
- Matthew V Povolny (New York)
- Jenny Osei (London)
- Bonnie J Roe (New York)
- Jenn Sportack (New York)
- Josie Stevenson (New York)
- Daniel H Tabak (New York)
- Ava Thompson (D.C.)
- Alexandra Wald (New York)
- Rianna Williamson (New York)
- Ivy Wu (New York)