Bryan Cave Combines with Berwin Leighton Paisner to Form Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP Learn More

Bringing diversity and inclusiveness into every aspect of our work and culture is one of our core values, and the top levels of firm leadership  are committed to making our firm and the profession more diverse and inclusive. We place such a high priority on diversity because we know that it enriches the quality and fabric of our firm.  It brings value to our people and also to our clients. Diversity improves the quality of legal services we provide by teaming professionals with different perspectives to tackle our clients’ legal challenges. Diversity benefits our firm directly by enabling us to attract world-class legal talent and firm leaders. Our firm’s inclusivity brings depth and richness to our individual professional experiences, binds us to the communities where we practice, and makes our firm a better place.

Diversity is an engrained part of who we are and how we do things. Making Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner a diverse and inclusive firm is the responsibility of every lawyer and member of our staff. We approach diversity as one team, looking for innovative and impactful approaches, and seeking opportunities to demonstrate our commitment.  It is one of my top priorities for our firm.

- Therese D. Pritchard, Co-Chair of the Firm

With commitment that starts at the top and a shared responsibility of everyone in the firm, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has made significant strides in diversity. We have been recognized as a leader among law firms in the inclusion of women in firm management, and having two women co-chairs, Therese Pritchard and Lisa Mayhew, places us among a select group AmLaw 100 firms led by women.  Our firm earned the 2017 Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum, an organization dedicated to advancing the careers of women lawyers.  We have consistently achieved a perfect 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, reflecting our welcoming and open environment and best-practice policies for LGBTQ lawyers and staff. 

We have accomplished a great deal but know that our work is not done, not just in our firm but in the profession as a whole. Our mission is to create a firm where women lawyers, lawyers of color, LGBTQ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities want to come and stay, and where they can thrive. We look forward to building on our successes.

- Lisa Demet Martin, Chief Diversity Officer

The programs we have developed at our firm to create opportunities for mentoring, sponsorship, and practice and leadership development are helping to move the needle forward. For example, Learning from Leaders is our unique action-based mentoring program in which members of firm leadership serve as mentors to mid-level associates of color. The leader/associate pairs complete a variety of activities together focused on developing practice skills and expertise, building key relationships inside the firm, and seeking opportunities for involvement and leadership outside the firm.  We created “Diversity Leadership: Developing Strategies Through Dialogue” – a curriculum of diversity workshops that all lawyers have participated in to raise awareness and identify specific strategies to foster the development and promotion of women lawyers, lawyers of color, and LGBTQ lawyers at the firm.


Affinity Groups

Our four affinity groups are a valuable resource for our diverse lawyers and the firm. The affinity groups promote the retention, professional growth and advancement of their members by creating opportunities for training, mentoring, networking inside and outside the firm, and business and leadership development. The affinity groups foster communication among attorneys with shared interests and backgrounds, and provide a platform for frank dialogue about diversity and inclusion at the firm. 

The firm’s strategic commitment to diversity has no borders and our diversity initiatives are fully integrated around the world. Affinity groups extend to all our offices; we recruit and hire diverse talent worldwide; and we support the growth and success of diverse lawyers globally.

Bryan Cave Women

Bryan Cave Women (BCW) is dedicated to providing a platform for the career development and success of our women lawyers. The group facilitates relationship building with clients and potential clients and provides professional, business development and community leadership opportunities for our women attorneys. Through programming, such as skills and leadership training sessions and networking events, the group develops connections among our women attorneys and establishes important mentoring relationships. Our BCW affinity group is lead by a Leadership Board of six partners including:

Jennifer Dempsey, Atlanta partner and co-chair of Bryan Cave Women
Carol Osborne, London partner and co-chair of Bryan Cave Women
Sonia Bain, New York partner
Holly Lopez, Irvine partner
Meryl Macklin, San Francisco partner
Darci Madden, St. Louis partner
Jena Valdetero, Chicago partner

BCW Strategic Objectives:

  • Increase the number of women rainmakers, women partners, and women leaders at the Firm.
  • Identify opportunities for meaningful development to meet the needs of our women lawyers at all levels.
  • Elevate the profile of our women lawyers both internally and externally.

Lawyers of Color

The Lawyers of Color affinity group provides an active network for its members and offers a variety of opportunities for dialogue, mentoring, skills training, and leadership and business development.  Affinity group members from offices around the world meet quarterly to discuss issues that impact the recruitment, retention and promotion of lawyers of color.

- Shalem Massey, Irvine partner and co-chair of the Lawyers of Color affinity group
- Donna Rodney, Washington partner and co-chair of the Lawyers of Color affinity group


Lawyers with Alternative Work Schedules and Sites

Our firm is committed to offering balanced hours to lawyers who require flexibility in their work schedules because of family obligations or other demands. The Lawyers with Alternative Work Schedules & Sites (LAWSS) affinity group was formed to meet the needs of our lawyers who work alternative or reduced schedules or telecommute. The group’s mission is to identify strategies for career and business development, and develop best practices for supporting and encouraging work/life balance while continuing to meet the goals and objectives of the firm and each individual.

Our group provides our members the opportunity to share challenges, successes and best practices with the goal of insuring that flexible schedules work for the individual lawyer, the firm and our clients.  By providing this support, we are helping to retain diverse talent and that benefits the firm and our clients.

Judith Gallent, New York partner and co-chair of LAWSS affinity group

- Darci Madden, St. Louis partner and co-chair of LAWSS affinity group


LGBTQ Lawyers

Our firm is committed to offering an inclusive and welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer lawyers. The LGBTQ Lawyers affinity group provides a platform for open dialogue  and offers programming to support that commitment.  In 2009, the LGBTQ Lawyers affinity group undertook a pro bono relationship with the Family Equality Council, a national nonprofit organization working to ensure equality for LGBTQ families.  Lawyers throughout the firm – both gay and straight -- actively participate in the firm’s representation of the FEC. 

Click HERE for our LGBTQ Affinity Group brochure.

If I could tell a potential client or recruit one thing about our group, it is that we enjoy the wholehearted support of firm leadership and the firm generally.

Tracy Talbot, San Francisco partner and co-chair of the LGBTQ Lawyers affinity group



The first step in creating a welcoming and inclusive environment is recruiting a diverse group of lawyers at all levels. Our recruitment strategy embraces a broad outlook and approach to reaching diverse, talented lawyers, from summer associates to lateral partners. We ensure that our recruiting committees are diverse and focus on strengthening diversity within our practice areas. We recruit at schools with diverse student populations and participate in diversity job fairs throughout the country. We also participate in a number of diversity clerkship programs, workshops and pipeline initiatives. The firm maintains ongoing relationships with local law student diversity organizations, including the Black Law Students Association, Asian Pacific Law Students Association, Hispanic Law Students Association and OUTLaw.

Job Fairs and Clerkships

Recently, we have participated in the following diversity job fairs and clerkship programs:

  • American Bar Association Judicial Intern Opportunity Program in Phoenix
  • Bay Area Diversity Career Fair
  • Cook County Minority Job Fair
  • Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair
  • Lavender Law Career Fair
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Scholars Program
  • New York City Bar Association Minority Fellowship Program
  • St. Louis Diversity Clerkship Program
  • St. Louis Diversity Job Fair
  • Southeastern Minority Job Fair
  • WALRAA's Diversity 8-Minute Networking & Reception  


NALP Forms

NALP forms are available for many of our locations. Click on an office name below to learn more:

 Atlanta New York
 Chicago  Phoenix
 Denver  San Francisco
 Irvine  St. Louis
 Kansas City  Washington, DC
Los Angeles    

Diversity Scholarship Program

Our firm sponsors a diversity scholarship program for law students who have received and accepted an offer for a summer associate position after the second year of law school in one of our U.S. offices  Each scholarship recipient will receive $10,000, half of which will be paid after successful completion of our Summer Associate Program. The second half of the scholarship will be paid prior to the second semester of the recipient’s third year of law school, providing they have received and accepted an offer to join our firm as an associate following the completion of their legal education. Click here for more information about the selection criteria and application process.


Diversity Reports and News

We produce an annual report that highlights matters handled by our firm, client and professional organization recognition of our attorneys and community volunteer projects in which we were engaged.  Click on one of the following links to read the report for that year:    2017201620152014201220112010

  Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner has been named both a 2018 Top Performer and a 2018 Compass Award winner by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD).