Press Release
June 15, 2023

Founders of Holland & Knight’s Rising Stars Program Recognized with “Diversity and Inclusion: Lifetime Achievement” Award by Chambers USA

MIAMI (June 15, 2023) – Holland & Knight Partners Deborah Barnard and Janis Schiff were honored with the “Diversity and Inclusion: Lifetime Achievement” Award by Chambers USA. The award recognizes the honorees’ commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion throughout their careers, and the difference they have made both at Holland & Knight and in the wider legal community. Ms. Barnard and Ms. Schiff were presented with the award during a virtual ceremony celebrating the recipients of the Chambers USA Awards 2023 on June 15.

Ms. Schiff is a Washington, D.C., real estate partner who chairs the firm’s National Retail Development and Leasing Team. Ms. Barnard is a product liability and environmental litigation partner in Boston and serves as the firm's Professional Growth and Development Partner. Both have served on the firm's Directors Committee and in other significant leadership positions.

Ms. Barnard and Ms. Schiff founded and have led Holland & Knight's groundbreaking Rising Stars program since its inception. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the program continues to produce remarkable results. All Rising Stars graduates at the firm are now partners, and 40 percent of those who were non-equity partners in the program are now equity partners. Four female members of Holland & Knight's Directors Committee are former Rising Stars. Other graduates lead Holland & Knight offices and practice groups and serve in other firm leadership roles.

Every year Holland & Knight selects a group of talented and dedicated women lawyers to participate in Rising Stars – a dynamic and intensive program of leadership and business development. To be eligible, Rising Star candidates must be in at least their eighth year of practice and have been affiliated with Holland & Knight for at least two years.

From the beginning, Rising Stars broke new ground in how it structured leadership and business development training for women. "The concept was to take women on the rise, give them additional resources and tools, and pair that with lots of personal support," says Ms. Schiff. Ms. Barnard adds, "From its inception, we knew everyone had different needs, strengths and weaknesses. We needed to be able to provide participants with personal attention to maximize impact."

The keys to the success of Rising Stars and its widespread impact are the novel approaches adopted by Ms. Barnard and Ms. Schiff coupled with their personal investment: Individualized focus on the participants with simultaneous development of professional and often personal bonds within each class and between classes creates the Rising Stars network. This selective program also requires participants to write a "legacy letter" describing how they will use what they learned to "pay it forward" and support the advancement of other women attorneys in the firm.

“We are thrilled that Chambers has recognized the significant contributions Deb and Janis have made over the course of their careers to ensure the success of our Rising Stars program,” said Holland & Knight Diversity Partner Tiffani Lee. “This program has served as a crucial pipeline for success for many of our attorneys and is further demonstration of our firm’s unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion. Deb and Janis could not be more worthy of being honored with this prestigious award.”

The annual Chambers USA Awards featured both diversity and inclusion categories and practice area awards this year for the first time. Chambers shortlisted Holland & Knight Partner John Haney in the “Diversity & Inclusion: Future Leader” category, and the firm was also shortlisted in the “Pro Bono: Outstanding Firm” category.

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