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Holland & Knight's salute to veterans who have served our country, including our very own attorneys and professionals.

Diversity Council, Groups and Committees

In order for diversity to mean something, to be more than a superficial catch phrase, it must be incorporated into a firm's culture. Diversity must be put “in action” and made a priority. A firm must be committed not only to the members who are racially, ethnically or gender-diverse, but also to appreciate, celebrate, support and encourage the various thoughts, ideas and values that underlie those differences.

We are proud of our efforts to increase and strengthen the diversity of our lawyers and staff. Through the establishment of a firmwide Diversity Council, several Affinity Groups, local office Diversity Committees, mentoring programs and other diversity-related programs and initiatives, the firm has put diversity in action and has committed itself to being a leader with regard to inclusive policies for all firm employees.

Diversity Council

The firm's 20-member Diversity Council oversees our numerous diversity initiatives and programs, provides support for diversity-related charitable and community organizations, and explores avenues for increasing diversity among suppliers and business partners. As evidence of our commitment to diversity at all levels of the firm, the Diversity Council includes both a staff member and an associate as full participating members, as well as our Managing Partner, the Chair of our Directors Committee, each Affinity Group Leader, and a Local Office Diversity Committee representative.

The Diversity Council is led by Tiffani Lee, a partner in the firm's litigation section who also serves as the firm's Diversity Partner.

Affinity Groups

Through the firm’s seven Affinity Groups, our diverse lawyers and staff are able to address the distinct challenges and opportunities that arise as a result of our differences. By promoting and encouraging members, the Affinity Groups help to sustain an environment that is inclusive and supportive, which fosters both personal and professional success. Our Affinity Groups have helped to distinguish Holland & Knight through the visibility and opportunity extended to members.

The firm’s Affinity Groups are as follows:

African American Affinity Group

The African American Affinity Group promotes, supports and encourages the firm’s African American attorneys by helping to maintain an environment that is inclusive, challenging and supportive in order to maximize both personal and career success. The African American Affinity Group supports an in-house mentoring program, and is dedicated to assisting the firm with its goal of recruiting, promoting and retaining top minority attorneys. Contact: Erika Royal

Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Affinity Group

The Asian/Pacific Islander (API) Affinity Group uses regularly-scheduled meetings and its own email distribution list as a means of communication to keep the firm’s API attorneys informed of important developments, opportunities for leadership and professional development. Its goal is to maintain a strong and productive network among our API attorneys, and to assist the firm with its goal of recruiting, promoting and retaining top minority attorneys. Contact: Stacey Wang

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affinity Group

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Affinity Group promotes equal opportunity and professional development for the firm’s LGBT lawyers. Through its representation on the firm’s Diversity Council, the Group works to ensure that Holland & Knight remains a leader among law firms with regard to its LGBT-friendly policies and initiatives. Externally, members of the LGBT Group, in concert with the firm’s Community Services Team, have spearheaded pro bono “impact” litigation involving LGBT asylum issues and U.S. laws severely limiting the ability of persons with HIV-AIDS to travel to the United States. Contact: Michael Manthei, co-chair; Dianne Phillips, co-chair

Native American Affinity Group

The Native American Affinity Group's goal is to recruit, retain, promote, support, encourage and empower the firm's Native American attorneys. Through its representation on the firm’s Diversity Council, the Group works to ensure that Holland & Knight's diversity objectives are meaningfully represented and achieved by the firm's Native American attorneys. Contact: Robert Barton

Hispanic Affinity Group

The Hispanic Affinity Group’s goal is to recruit, retain, promote, support, encourage and empower the firm’s Hispanic attorneys. Through its representation on the firm’s Diversity Council, the Group works to ensure that Holland & Knight's diversity objectives are meaningfully represented and achieved by the firm's Hispanic attorneys. Among the major law firms in the United States, Holland & Knight is a leader in recruiting and retaining Hispanic lawyers. The Group seeks to create and sustain an environment that is inclusive, challenging and supportive in order to maximize both personal and career success for its Hispanic attorneys. Contact: Jorge Hernandez-Torano

Women's Initiative

The Women's Initiative strives to help women advance professionally not only within the firm, but also within our communities. The oldest of our diversity initiatives, which began in the mid-1990s as an internal forum for women attorneys to voice their perspectives on creating a successful working environment, the Women's Initiative has become a respected and emulated program. This initiative helps our women partners and associates increase new client generation and expand relationships with existing clients and contacts, many of whom are also women. Contact: Judy Nemsick, chair

The Rising Stars Program, an outgrowth of the Women's Initiative, is a leadership training program dedicated to improving opportunities for the firm's women overall. The Rising Stars are immersed in a formal leadership and marketing program for a year, followed by a continued commitment to support new participants and organize the group as a resource for clients. The Rising Stars program has received numerous accolades, including being recognized as a "Best Practice" by a number of groups and organizations dedicated to the advancement of women in the legal profession and business.

Veterans Group

The Veterans Group was founded on the fundamental premise that the men and women who have served our country and defended our freedoms deserve our talent and resources to improve their quality of life. The Group's goal is "do good work" by raising awareness and by providing pro bono and/or community services support for veterans and their families in each of the cities where Holland & Knight has offices. Attorneys work on pro bono case referrals through the American Bar Association (ABA) Military Pro Bono Project and respond to a wide range of legal needs including landlord/tenant issues, mortgage and foreclosure concerns, trust and estate matters, and family law matters. Holland & Knight and the Group are dedicated to other military initiatives that benefit active-duty service members, veterans and their families as well, such as the Wounded Warrior Project and United Way's Mission United Initiative. The firm also partners with the ABA's Section of Taxation and the Internal Revenue Service to coordinate a Military Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in various locations. Contact: Daniel Sylvester

Local Office Diversity Committees

Our diversity activities stretch throughout the firm. Each of our U.S. offices has a standing Diversity Committee which is composed of both lawyers and staff. The Committees devise and implement programs and community outreach unique to their locations. The leaders of our local Diversity Committees meet regularly with the Diversity Partner to discuss issues and share information on their various events, sponsorships and “best practices.”