Diversity and Inclusion

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.

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.

Recruiting

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

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 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. Contacts: Erika Royal, co-chair; Zalika Pierre, co-chair
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 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 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
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
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 Sylvester, chair; Nicholas Hasenfus, co-vice chair; Gordon Griffin, co-vice 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
  • 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.
  • Mansfield Certified Plus: Recognized as one of only 51 firms to earn the Mansfield Certified Plus 2019 designation where women, minority, and LGBTQ lawyers represent at least 30 percent of firm leadership roles and committees.
  • 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."
  • Best Law Firms for Women: We have been named one of the "Best Law Firms for Women" by Working Mother magazine for four consecutive years.
  • 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."
  • Top 10 Female Friendly Firm: We were named a "Top 10 Female Friendly Firm" by 2018 Yale Law Women.
  • 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.
  • 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.