Diversity & Inclusion
Riker Danzig has dedicated itself to fostering a work environment that promotes diversity, inclusion and the highest standards of personal and professional excellence. We have put into place a variety of programs intended to recruit, retain, and promote attorneys of a variety of backgrounds, creating a diverse team of attorneys that reflects our clients and our communities. It is our belief that this environment encourages and enables every person to do the best work possible, enriched by our unique life experiences, backgrounds and perspectives. Riker Danzig is proud of its long-standing commitment to diversity, which both strengthens the Firm and enables us to better serve our clients.
The Firm has a proactive Diversity Committee consisting of partners, associates, and administrative staff. The Committee is charged with educating the Firm on diversity issues, supporting and promoting diverse candidates, and sponsoring the Firm at various diversity-related events throughout the year. The Committee regularly meets to address various topics, including discussing ways for the Firm and its various practice groups to enhance and to improve the promotion, retention, and professional growth of diverse attorneys.
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.”
Recently, Riker Danzig co-sponsored a CLE legal community event which addressed implicit bias in the workplace for corporate counsel, attorneys in private practice and those in the public sector. It 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 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 associate 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”:
- Kelly S. Crawford, Firm Co-Chair and Chair of our Products Liability, Toxic Tort and Mass Tort Practice, is the First female in a Top 20 New Jersey-based law firm with a woman in the senior role.
- Judge Zahid N. Quraishi, former Riker Partner who was appointed June 3, 2019 as a U.S. Magistrate Judge for the District of New Jersey. He is the First Asian Pacific American to serve on the federal bench in New Jersey history. Prior to his appointment, Judge Quraishi was the firm’s First Chief Diversity Officer.
- Justice Marie Garibaldi, Riker Danzig Partner from 1973-1982. First female Partner in a major New Jersey law firm, First female New Jersey State Bar President 1982-1983, First female Justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court, appointed by Thomas Kean 1982-2000.
- Peter C. Harvey, Riker Danzig Partner from 1990-2002, First African-American to serve as New Jersey Attorney General 2003-2006.
- Justice Anne M. Patterson, Riker Danzig Partner from 1992-2011. Associate Justice on the New Jersey Supreme Court, 2011 and reappointed in 2018.
- Judge Renee M. Bumb, Riker Danzig associate from 1988–1991. United States District Court Judge nominated by President George W. Bush in 2006.
- Travis L. Francis, A.J.S.C. (Ret.), Riker Danzig Of Counsel 2017-Present. Superior Court Assignment Judge 2007-2017; Superior Court Judge (Middlesex County) 1992-2007.
Riker Danzig attorneys and alumni hold leadership positions and have been honored within diverse bar associations:
- New Jersey Law Journal, "Diverse Attorney of the Year," Travis L. Francis, A.J.S.C. (Ret.), 2019
- Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), Award for Professional Achievement, Zahid N. Quraishi, 2019
- Garden State Bar Association, Young Lawyer of the Year 2018 and Executive Board Member, Natalya Johnson
- National Bar Association, "40 Under 40 Nation's Best Advocate," Natalya Johnson, 2019
- Garden State Bar Association, President, Dara Aquila Govan, Riker Danzig Alumni
- Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ), President-Elect, Jenny Chung, Riker Danzig Alumni
- Hispanic Bar Association-NJ, President, Julia Lopez, Riker Danzig Alumni
- New Jersey Law Journal, “Diverse Attorney of the Year,” Firm Co-Chair Kelly Strange Crawford, 2015
Riker Danzig was proud to support the following events in 2018-2019 that promote and support diversity within our community:
- Armenian Bar Association – "20 Under 40 Rising Stars" Banquet and the Annual Public Servants Dinner
- Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey Gala (APALA-NJ)
- Association of Black Law Students, Rutgers University School of Law 28th Annual Jazz for Justice
- Association of Black Women Lawyers-NJ (ABWL-NJ)
- Association of Black Women Attorneys-NY Ruth Whitehead Whaley Scholarship Awards (ABWA)
- Capital Region Minority Chamber of Commerce Golf Classic
- Executive Women of New Jersey
- Garden State Bar Association 44th Anniversary Scholarship and Awards Gala (GSBA)
- Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey – 38th Annual Scholarship Gala (HBA-NJ)
- Jewish Law Symposium
- Jewish Lawyers Guild
- Morris County Bar Association (MCBA)
- National Bar Association's "40 Under 40" Awards Gala
- New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association Gala (NJMLA)
- New Jersey State Bar Association – Black History Month Program
- New Jersey Women Lawyers Association 12th Annual WILL Platinum Gala (NJWLA)
- NJWLA Intersectionality, Bias and the Practice of Law Program
- NJWLA Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; A Fresh Perspective
- Princeton University Diversity Summit
- Regent Atlantic Capital Wall Street Women’s Forum
- Riker Danzig Women in Leadership Receptions
- Rutgers Minority Student Program (MSP) 50th Anniversary Celebration
- Seton Hall Law School’s 10th Annual Diversity Banquet
- South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey – 6th Annual Gala (SABA-NJ)
- Thurgood Marshall College Fund – 18th and 19th Annual New Jersey Awards of Excellence
- Women Entrepreneurship Week Conference, Montclair State University
- Women’s Political Caucus Awards Reception
2019-2020 Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Chair: Lance J. Kalik (Executive Committee Member)
Maha M. Kabbash, Partner
Khaled J. Klele, Partner
Francis L. Travis, A.J.S.C. (Ret.), Of Counsel
Timothy P. Carr, Director of Administration and Chief Financial Officer
Richelle J. Delavan, Director of Practice Development
Alison M. Feldman Walsh, Director of Human Resources
Ronald Z. Ahrens, Counsel
Katherine B. Carlburg, Associate
Kenneth Dzikowski, Associate
Natalya G. Johnson, Associate
Jorge A. Sanchez, Associate, former Summer Associate and MSP Student
Pauline M. Tarife, Associate, former Summer Associate