Diversity & Inclusion

Riker Danzig has a long history of commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.  We are proud of our heritage as a leader in promoting women and people of color, including some who broke traditional leadership barriers within law firms, and others who built on their foundation at Riker to break new ground in the courts and government.  While the Firm takes pride in its strong tradition, we recognize that persistent vigilance is required to combat the ongoing and pervasive issues of systemic racial bias and other forms of discrimination in many aspects of our society, including several areas of the justice system. 

Therefore, the Firm views its commitment to diversity and inclusion as more than a static process.  It is not enough to just recognize discrimination and social injustice; instead the Firm will remain focused on doing its part to help change attitudes and behavior through action, both within its workforce and throughout its involvement in the community and halls of justice.  To that end, the Firm continuously strives to improve, steadfast in our belief that we serve our clients best by promoting and incorporating the different viewpoints reflected by diverse attorneys and staff. 

We have put into place a variety of programs intended to recruit, retain, and promote attorneys of a variety of backgrounds, including those traditionally underrepresented in the legal industry.  We endeavor to create a diverse team of attorneys and staff who enrich each other with unique life experiences, backgrounds and perspectives in ways that reflect our clients and our communities. It is our belief that this environment fosters excellence, and best serves our clients’ needs. It is also the right thing to do.

The Firm has an established Diversity Committee that consists of Firm leadership, partners, associates, and professional and administrative staff.  The Committee meets regularly to plan and execute the Firm’s strategies and initiatives to maintain and improve its diversity and inclusion.  The Committee is charged with educating the Firm on diversity issues, supporting and promoting diverse candidates, and representing the Firm at various diversity-related events throughout the year. 

In addition, the Firm is committed to celebrating diversity in a manner that does not divide us, but instead, is focused on celebrating what we have in common despite having some differences.   

The Firm’s current key initiatives include:

Our female attorneys hold positions of leadership in the Firm, including serving as Co-Chair of Riker Danzig, serving on the Firm’s Executive Committee, as practice group chairs, office principal partner, and chairs of firm committees. The Firm also hosts recurring women’s forums to discuss the unique concerns of our women attorneys, and offers opportunities for enhancement of their professional development.  Riker Danzig’s women attorneys are consistently singled out by the legal community for distinctive honors, including NJBIZ’s “Best 50 Women in Business,” New Jersey Law Journal’s “Top 40 Women Under 40,” New Jersey State Bar Association’s “Young Lawyer of the Year,” “Best Lawyers in America®,” Super Lawyer’s “Top 50 Women Attorneys in New Jersey,” the Garden State Bar Association’s “Young Lawyer Award,” Super Lawyer’s “Rising Stars,” and the Network Journal’s “40 Under Forty Achievement Award.” See Awards and Honors Methodology.

No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.

Riker Danzig attorneys also serve as active members of several affinity bar associations, and some have been recognized for their accomplishments.

Some of the specific recruiting initiatives the Firm is actively involved with include:

New Jersey Law Firm Group:  Riker Danzig maintains an active membership in this Group, which promotes the hiring of minority law school students at the major New Jersey law firms.  As part of this effort, we meet regularly to explore new state-wide initiatives that foster diverse hiring.  We attend the NJLFG job fair that is held annually at Seton Hall University School of Law or Rutgers University School of Law.  We serve as speakers to the New Jersey Law Firm Group and many attorneys regularly serve as  mentors to the program.

Minority Student Program:  The Minority Student Program (MSP) is a nationally-acclaimed and highly successful post-admissions program that serves students of any race or ethnicity who are members of groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession, and who have faced discrimination or overcome social and economic hardships. The program takes a proactive approach to help students to succeed in law school by offering legal skills development, academic support, alumni mentoring and networking, internships and other opportunities. 

Riker Danzig has supported MSP for decades by providing a paid summer internship for a student. The student takes part in all of the activities and programs offered to our other summer associates. Thus, the MSP student experiences the same work (client-related or pro bono), social functions and educational programs as our other summer associates, and is fully integrated into our summer associate program, which is our main recruiting tool.  The Firm also supports the MSP annual fundraiser, the Minority Student Program Banquet.  A current Riker Danzig counsel who participated in the MSP Program is Jorge Sanchez

Since its establishment in 1968, MSP has supported almost 3,000 students in their pursuit of a career in the law in New Jersey and nation-wide.  For more information, please go to https://law.rutgers.edu/minority-student-program.

Minority Recruitment Efforts:  The Firm participates in the Black Law Students Association job fairs and requests applicant resumes from law schools with historically large minority enrollments.

Riker Danzig is proud of the following Riker Danzig women and diverse attorneys and alumni who serve(d) on the Bench or in public service, and their achievements as “firsts”:

Riker Danzig attorneys and alumni hold leadership positions and have been honored within diverse bar associations:

Riker Danzig was proud to support the following recent events that promote and support diversity within our community:


2021 Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Chair:  Lance J. Kalik (Executive Committee Member)

Members:

Ronald Z. Ahrens, Counsel
Edwin F. Chociey, Jr.
, Partner
Richelle J. Delavan, Director of Practice Development
Semoni Elliott, Senior Accountant
Jennifer Gonzales-Frisbie, Director of Business Development
Sarah Heba-Escobar, Associate
Maha M. Kabbash, Partner
Khaled J. Klele, Partner
Alicia Longmore, Budget and Strategic Planning Analyst
Jorge A. Sanchez, Counsel, former Summer Associate and MSP Student
Francis L. Travis, A.J.S.C. (Ret.), Of Counsel
Alison M. Feldman Walsh, Director of Human Resources
Eileen Zhu, Chief Financial Officer


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Events

On June 24, 2021, Riker Danzig hosted a webinar for alumni, clients and friends concerning “Hot Topics in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”  The webinar addressed key DEI issues in the legal profession, as well as health equity, including COVID-19’s impact on communities of color. 

Our panel of impressive leaders from government and business was comprised of:

Riker Danzig partners Edwin Chociey and Maha Kabbash moderated the lively panel discussion, which encompassed the following specific topics:


In April 2019, Riker Danzig co-sponsored and hosted a CLE legal community event that addressed implicit bias in the workplace for corporate counsel, attorneys in private practice and those in the public sector.  Our event was supported by many affinity bar associations, including the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), Association of Black Women Lawyers-NJ (ABWL-NJ), Garden State Bar Association (GSBA), Hispanic Bar Association - New Jersey (HBA-NJ), Morris County Bar Association (MCBA), New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA), and the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey (SABA-NJ).


Riker Danzig Celebrates Black History Month

Riker Danzig’s Diversity Committee distributed daily emails throughout February 2021 in celebration of Black History Month, providing interesting stories and details of African-American culture and history, extending to important inventions, sports, social life, religion, art and more.  We invite you to enjoy some of this fascinating content at the following links:

The History of Black History Month   

The Pullman Porters

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

African American Greeks

What’s Inside the Green Book?

The Tulsa Race Massacre (“Black Wall Street”)

The African American Press

The Power of “Place” About Martha’s Vineyard

The African American Church

The Harlem Renaissance

The National Museum of African-American History and Culture (N.M.A.A.H.C.)