Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
At Cantor Colburn, we are committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Encouraging, promoting, and fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment is a core value of the Firm. We believe that when we incorporate DEI best practices systemically, we are better able to attract, retain, and promote the best talent, create an environment where our workforce functions at the highest level, and provide the best service to our clients.
We are legal and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professionals who are deeply committed to diversifying the intellectual property (IP) community. We believe that the IP community greatly benefits from the inclusion and participation of women and historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority, LGBTQ+, and disabled attorneys and agents. We partner with several large clients in collaborative, innovative ways to effectuate positive change in our DEI journeys with the goal of attracting, welcoming, encouraging and supporting women and diverse professionals in the law, STEM, innovation and entrepreneurship. We invite our clients and contacts to partner with us on solutions.
The Firm’s Equity Advancement Committee (EAC) is leading the charge to strengthen DEI at the Firm. The EAC focuses on hiring, mentoring, retaining, and promoting women and historically underrepresented racial and ethnic minority, LGBTQ+, and disabled attorneys and agents as well as eliminating systemic barriers to advancement, equity, and inclusion.
There are positive indicators regarding the Firm’s strategies and practices around tracking, mindsets, transparency, and openness. Among professionals at Cantor Colburn, 30% are women and 30% are racial/ethnic minorities/LGBTQ+.
Cantor Colburn is proud to be Mansfield Certified after going through a rigorous 18-month Mansfield Rule for Midsize Law Firms Certification process, from September 2021-March 2023. The certification measures whether midsize firms have considered at least 30% women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitches, lateral lawyer hiring, and more. And while working to achieve these benchmarks, the certified midsize firms also embedded transparency in their advancement processes through written leadership role descriptions and clearly defined pathways to leadership. Mansfield’s methods are grounded in behavioral science, including the 30-50% consideration requirement, which researchers show achieves the critical mass in leadership necessary to disrupt biases. The structural elements of the certification process are key to this effort, including: the accountability through frequent check-ins/audits, data collection, and reporting; the participants’ ongoing collaboration through monthly group knowledge sharing forums; and the transparency of publicly certifying. During Cantor Colburn’s certification process, 40% of attorneys and agents joining the firm were diverse and 30% were women; 30% of promotions were diverse and 30% were women; and more than 75% of pitches included a team with well over 30% women and diverse members.
The Firm’s Employee Resource Group, the Women’s Initiative, focuses on mentoring and business development training and knowledge sharing for our women professionals. Our attorneys and agents are active in affinity bars and industry associations with DEI goals.
In partnership with several clients, Cantor Colburn has hosted a summer intern through the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholarship Program, sponsored by the American Intellectual Property Law's Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in IP Law, which provides financial support, internship experience, and networking opportunities for law students from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups as they pursue careers in IP law. Cantor Colburn supports the UConn Commercialization Technology Services Fellows, which has similar goals for graduate students. Over a decade ago, the Firm established and continues to invest in the Cantor Colburn LLP Endowed Scholarship in Engineering at the University of Connecticut. The scholarship is for undergraduate engineers and gives priority consideration to female and/or African-American students.
The firm also supports numerous community organizations that focus on DEI in our communities, including the Boys & Girls Club, the Aurora Women and Girls Foundation, the Connecticut Invention Convention, the National Invention Convention, and Capital Classics, to name just a few.