Inclusion in Action

Diversity logoAt Holland & Knight, we seek to further develop an organization and a culture where all talented individuals – including those traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession – can have, and can see, a path to long-term success.

We are committed to these efforts because diverse and inclusive teams reflect the world we serve and produce better results for our clients.


What We've Been Up To Lately

Holland & Knight hosted a webinar featuring world-class speaker and culture change expert Michelle Silverthorn titled "Authentic Diversity: How to Interrupt Bias and Build an Inclusive Workplace." This program discussed how individuals can shift their understanding on bias, help recognize the importance of contributing to the work of allyship and inclusion, and provide practical guidance on how to equip to build spaces of authentic diversity and belonging, where everyone is welcome to rise, thrive and succeed. (April 2023)

Authentic Diversity: How to Interrupt Bias and Build an Inclusive Workplace

What you see in history is a kind of dialectic between the forces of silencing [women] and the forces of resistance.

To celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Holland & Knight’s Women’s Initiative invited Dana Rubin, author of Speaking While Female: 75 Extraordinary Speeches by American Women, to give a presentation titled “Women’s Voice in Law.” Dana's presentation discussed the many women in law whose speeches have been front and center on significant historical events and deserve greater recognition. These women included Clara Shortridge Foltz in 1893, who introduced the idea of a public defender system; journalist and suffragist Ida B. Wells, who campaigned against lynching laws; Congresswoman Patsy Mink advocating for Title IX in 1970; Congresswoman Barbara Jordan delivering the opening statement on the Articles of Impeachment against President Nixon in 1974; and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Conner in 1991 on the hurdles and progress of women in the legal profession. (March 2023)

Dana Rubin Presentation

This isn't Black history, this is American history. And it's the type of history we need to be paying attention to all over the country, with Rosewood as a primary example.

In honor of Black History Month, Holland & Knight proudly hosted a discussion titled “Lessons of Rosewood.” The life, death and legacy of Rosewood, Florida involves the destruction of a small bustling town, that primarily consisted of African Americans, by a mob of white Floridians and Klansmen in January 1923. Almost 70 years later, Holland & Knight helped spearhead the Rosewood Claim Bill in 1994. This was the first—and, to date, the only—instance where a legislature has compensated Black Americans for crimes of racial violence. (February 2023)

Additional Information 

Leadership Commitment

Holland & Knight's commitment to diversity and inclusion starts from the top. Our Managing Partner, Steven Sonberg, and Chair of the Directors Committee (the firm's highest policymaking body), Kelly-Ann Cartwright, both are members of the firm's Diversity Council. Mr. Sonberg is also a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), an organization of chief legal officers of major corporations and managing partners of major law firms dedicated to improving diversity in the legal profession.

Diversity Council

Our Diversity Council is responsible for leading the firm's diversity and inclusion strategy and initiatives. The Council is led by Litigation Partner Tiffani Lee, who also serves as the firm's Diversity Partner. With representatives from each local office and the chairs of the firm's Affinity Groups, the Council directs the firm's diversity and inclusion efforts.

Local Office Diversity Committees

Our efforts to build an inclusive organization are found at all levels and in all offices. Most of our offices have a local office Diversity Committee, comprised of both lawyers and staff, as well as a local Women's Initiative group. These committees devise and implement programs and community outreach unique to their locations. The leaders of our local Diversity Committees meet regularly with the Diversity Council to discuss issues and share information on their various events, sponsorships and best practices. Similarly, the local coordinators of the Women's Initiative meet regularly with the national chair of the Women's Initiative to exchange ideas and discuss current issues and best practices.


Learn more about Holland & Knight's strategic recruiting efforts by visiting our Careers page.

Affinity Groups

Through the firm’s nine 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 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
The Black 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 Black 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. Contacts: Loren Forrest, co-chair; Leila Batties, co-chair

The DiverseAbility Affinity Group's mission is to focus on attracting, supporting and promoting the firm's attorneys and staff affected by disabilities of all types – physical and mental – by helping to maintain an environment that is inclusive, challenging and supportive to maximize both personal and career success. Its main goals are to support and enhance the professional, personal and career development of attorneys and staff affected by disabilities; encourage retention and promotion of attorneys and staff with disabilities; and encourage the recruitment and hiring of talented attorneys and staff with disabilities. The group also provides support to attorneys and staff who take care of disabled family members living at home. Contacts: Michelle DeVos, chair; Daniel Sylvester, co-chair; Ashley Hart, co-chair

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. Contacts: Jorge Hernandez-Torano, co-chair; Isabel Diaz, co-chair
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer/Questioning (LGBTQ) Affinity Group promotes equal opportunity and professional development for the firm’s LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ-friendly policies and initiatives. Externally, members of the LGBTQ Group, in concert with the firm’s Community Services Team, have spearheaded pro bono “impact” litigation involving LGBTQ 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

The Middle Eastern/North African (MENA) Affinity Group seeks to create a space for MENA-identifying teammates and allies. The group is committed to building connections internally and externally by fostering professional networks, organizing educational opportunities, and supporting the professional development of lawyers, law students and legal professionals with shared interests. Contacts: Hamid Namazie, chair; Tahany Alsabahi, vice chair; Sina Faizy, vice chair.

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: John Haney
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. Through our Veterans Business Partnership, we stand ready to serve you. We can match key attorneys to your needs, whether you require litigation, business, real estate, regulatory or lobbying counsel. Contacts: Daniel Kavanaugh, Business Partnership Chair; Nicholas Hasenfus, Pro Bono Chair; Gordon Griffin, Executive Chair
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

Professional Development

Holland & Knight is committed to helping our attorneys achieve success at the firm.

Launched in 2003, the Rising Stars® program was developed by the firm's Women's Initiative. The firm annually selects a group of talented women lawyers to participate in this dynamic and intensive program of leadership, marketing, management and professional skills development, professional mentoring and experiential learning. Graduates of the program have become leaders of the firm. Learn more by visiting our Women's Initiative page.

Holland & Knight provides consistent and robust training to create a more inclusive organization. For example, in fall 2018, we held a two-day diversity and inclusion workshop hosted by diversity and inclusion thought leader Kathleen Nalty. This workshop, attended by several firm leaders, sought to discuss how best to achieve a more inclusive organization.
Each Holland & Knight associate has a dedicated in-house career development coach to provide guidance and support for his or her goals and professional growth. In addition, every associate is assigned an attorney mentor to provide coaching and guidance on how best to succeed at the firm.
Attorneys may request an affinity mentor, in addition to the primary mentor assigned through the firm's formal mentoring program, to provide additional guidance and coaching.

Community Engagement

Holland & Knight believes in the value of engaging with organizations outside of our law firm in an effort to build a more inclusive profession. We sponsor and participate in local, regional and national diversity associations, conferences and events, including:

  • National Bar Association
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • National LGBT Bar Association
  • Charting Your Own Course
  • Best Law Firms for Women: Holland & Knight was recognized as one of the 2023 "Best Law Firms for Women" by Seramount for using best practices in recruiting, retaining, promoting and developing women lawyers.
  • Human Rights Campaign: In 2022, Holland & Knight received a "perfect score" on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index for the eighth consecutive year. The index report rates American workplaces on their commitment to LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion.
  • Mansfield Certified Plus: Achieved "Mansfield Rule Certified Plus" status from the Diversity Lab for the fifth year in a row in 2022. The designation recognizes that, in addition to meeting or exceeding the pipeline consideration requirements for certification, the firm has successfully reached at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of their current leadership roles and committees.
  • 2020 Excellence in Service Award: Recognized by the NALP/Street Law Diversity Pipeline Program for the firm's exceptional community service in its commitment to the Street Law Program.
  • Veterans Program of the Year: Veterans Group was named "Veterans Program of the Year" at the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2020.
  • Outstanding Service Award: The only law firm to receive the ABA’s Military Pro Bono Project Outstanding Service Award every year since its inception in 2012. Additionally, more than 30 attorneys from Holland & Knight have received the individual award for outstanding service.
  • Veterans Jobs Mission: Holland & Knight is the only law firm member of the Veterans Jobs Mission, a private sector-led coalition committed to hiring transitioning U.S. military veterans.
  • 2019 Bank of America Diversity and Inclusion Award: Holland & Knight was selected from more than 200 law firms to receive Bank of America's Diversity and Inclusion Award, recognizing our focused attention on the training, development, and promotion of diverse attorneys and for consistently staffing Bank of America matters with diverse legal teams.
  • HNBA 2019 Corporate Partner of the Year: Recognized by the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) for our longstanding support of the organization and our unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Best Law Firm for Minority Partners: We were recognized in the 2019 Law 360 Diversity Snapshot in the Top 5 for "Best Law Firms for Minority Partners."
  • Most Pioneering Firm for Female Lawyers: We were recognized at the inaugural Chambers USA Diversity & Inclusion Awards as the "Most Pioneering Firm for Female Lawyers," celebrating the firm's commitment to increasing the opportunities for, and representation of, female lawyers. Holland & Knight was also shortlisted for "Outstanding Firm for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion."
  • Best Firm for Diversity: Holland & Knight was named "Best Firm for Diversity" in North America by the 2018 Americas Women in Business Law Awards in recognition of the firm's culture of diversity.
  • Top 10 Female Friendly Firm: We were named a "Top 10 Female Friendly Firm" by 2018 Yale Law Women.