Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
At Bilzin Sumberg, we understand that a diverse workforce improves our ability to serve the needs of our clients while creating a more dynamic firm culture. We continually strive to foster an inclusive environment where everyone can thrive and contribute to all aspects of firm life.
Our commitment to diversity is reflected in our multifaceted mission, which seeks to:
- Create a more collaborative culture that nurtures the creativity and innovation required to solve our clients' most challenging legal issues
- Provide an inclusive environment where people of all backgrounds can thrive, an environment where all people including and especially, minorities, are empowered to succeed and excel
- Facilitate necessary institutional changes through strategic partnerships with various organizations to create environments that foster success and raise awareness to recognize and respect individual differences
- Ensure minority attorneys have opportunities to network within the firm, the profession and the business community - providing them access to strong ally, mentor, and sponsorship opportunities
Recruiting & Diversity Pipeline
Professional Development & Inclusive Workplace
Commitment to Social Justice
Elevating the Consciousness of Diversity within the Firm
Bilzin Sumberg, Greenberg Traurig, and Holland & Knight Come Together for a Discussion on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with The Honorable William Thomas
On February 8, 2021, Bilzin Sumberg's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee hosted a virtual discussion with The Honorable Williams Thomas on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal profession. The event was held in conjunction with local commercial law firms Greenberg Traurig and Holland & Knight, with attorneys and staff from all three firms in attendance. A widely respected Circuit Court Judge on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, Judge Thomas was invited to speak as part of Bilzin Sumberg's collaboration with Greenberg Traurig and Holland & Knight on raising the consciousness of diversity, equity, and inclusion among Miami's legal professionals during Black History Month.
The program opened with remarks from Kelly-Ann Cartwright, the Directors Committee Chair of Holland & Knight, highlighting the achievements of Judge Thomas, including his work as an Assistant Public Defender and an Assistant Federal Public Defender for Miami-Dade County and the Southern District of Florida respectively, before being elected to the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit for Miami-Dade County, where he has served for the past 18 years.
Judge Thomas focused his talk on the historical context within which today's racial discontent and strained race relations have developed. He discussed the economic and social policies at the state and federal levels that have disadvantage African Americans, as well as how willful and systemic bias has created a relentless cycle of high poverty, low education, and lack of opportunity for the African American community, which has developed into racial tension and social disharmony in our society.
During the Q&A session moderated by Albert E. Dotson, Jr., Managing Partner of Bilzin Sumberg, Judge Thomas talked about the way forward for achieving greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. He opined that the two greatest challenges to effectuating change in the legal community when it came to diversity and inclusion was the lack of resources aimed at young people from underrepresented communities to learn about the practice of law as a career, and the lack of mentorship opportunities for professionals from these communities once they had started practicing law. Educating young people about the rewarding prospects of the field of law prior to college, and then providing them with valuable mentors in the profession to build their technical expertise and business development skills, were crucial for strengthening the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the professional pipeline. Judge Thomas also emphasized the importance of candid and open discussions about race and other forms of diversity in professional settings because of their ability to galvanize change, and warned that treating uncomfortable issues with silence would only perpetuate inequity and misunderstanding.
Jaret L. Davis, Co-Managing Shareholder of Greenberg Traurig's Miami office, closed the discussion by thanking Judge Thomas for his valuable insight, and reminded attendees that the event served as a form of calibration, allowing them to reassess how best they can enhance meritocracy in the legal profession going forward.
Our Street Law Partnership
Bilzin Sumberg works closely with the National Association for Law Placement (NALP) through their Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Program. Street Law introduces students from underrepresented communities to the legal profession by connecting them to practitioners from law firms. Bilzin Sumberg employees volunteer with the program to educate such students about the practice of law and cultivate interest in the field, thereby strengthening the diversity of the legal profession's recruitment pipeline.
The firm's volunteers participate in every aspect of the program, which includes teaching lessons in substantive areas of law, introducing students to the many professional roles that support a law firm, and growing awareness of how the law impacts ordinary people in their daily lives.
Year Up South Florida
Bilzin Sumberg proudly partners with Year Up South Florida, a non-profit workforce development program for motivated and talented young adults, to take on interns from diverse backgrounds from the South Florida community. Through this partnership, Bilzin Sumberg provides interns with enriching professional development that serves as the foundation for their future careers in law. The internships are full-time, paid opportunities in which participants can also earn college credit. Bilzin Sumberg's work with Year Up South Florida demonstrates the firm's commitment to growing extraordinary talent among the diverse communities that make up the fabric of South Florida.
Bilzin Sumberg celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month: A Conversation with Jose Gonzalez
October 12, 2020 - In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Bilzin Sumberg dedicated its first event as part of its Diversity and Inclusion Lunch Series to discussing the challenges and opportunities facing Hispanic-Americans. Al Dotson, the firm's Managing Partner, introduced the event by highlighting the importance of the Hispanic community's contribution to American society while noting Bilzin Sumberg's proud record of operationalizing diversity and inclusion within the firm and promoting it in the community.
The event took the format of a live Q&A discussion between Javier Aviñó, the Practice Group Leader of Bilzin Sumberg's Government Relations and Land Development Group, and Jose Gonzalez, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at All Aboard Florida, a high-speed intercity passenger rail project being developed by Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) to connect Miami, Southeast Florida, and the Orlando area. Mr. Gonzalez's decades of experience in both Miami-Dade County Government and the private infrastructure sector in South Florida allowed him to give special insight on the Hispanic community in the region.
"[Bilzin Sumberg] was also one of the many that joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance. Launched in June, the group’s action items include developing a legal inventory of laws and policies that result in negative outcomes for people of color. The aim is to inform and implement legislative and regulatory strategies to address anti-Black racism.
'The focus is to prioritize and support anti-racism and to create commitments and goals within our firms, as well as our communities,' Dotson Jr. said.