Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Modrall Sperling celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion. The firm is dedicated to fostering an environment that embraces differences, promotes equality, and engenders mutual respect, thereby creating a culture of inclusion. Modrall Sperling is committed to recruiting, retaining and promoting diverse attorneys and staff, and supporting the diverse community in which we live and practice.
Firm attorneys are and have been leaders in professional and community organizations committed to diversity, equity and inclusion such as the Hispanic National Bar Association, the Navajo Nation Bar Association, the New Mexico Women’s Bar Association, the Albuquerque Community Foundation, United Way of Central New Mexico, and the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce among others.
Modrall Sperling shareholder Roberta Cooper Ramo served as president of the American Bar Association from 1995 to 1996, the first woman in history to lead the largest nationwide organization of attorneys. She also served as the first woman president of The American Law Institute, from 2008 to 2017, and is now the organization’s Chair.
As evidence of the firm’s commitment to advocating for and implementing an inclusive work environment, over half of Modrall Sperling’s attorneys are women, as are a majority of its associates. Approximately one quarter of the firm’s attorneys come from diverse backgrounds. Five of the seven members of Modrall Sperling’s current Executive Committee are women or ethnically diverse. Women shareholders chair all three of Modrall Sperling’s legal departments.
Modrall Sperling is committed to providing leadership, inspiration, and opportunity for women and in further support of women in the legal profession. In this vein, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee has created the Modrall Sperling Women’s Initiative to facilitate the advancement of women with the firm and opportunities for women in the legal profession overall. The Women’s Initiative provides a wide range of programs focusing on professional and personal development critical to the advancement of women lawyers.
Each year Modrall Sperling conducts numerous internal events to raise awareness and celebrate the diverse group of people who work at the firm. These events have included functions honoring Black History Month, Cinco de Mayo, Juneteenth, National Women’s History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Indigenous People’s Day. Modrall Sperling sponsored the National Holocaust Museum’s Western Regional Tribute Event in March of 2022. Firm attorneys and staff were invited to attend virtually and learn about the Museum’s mission to inspire citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. In support of the LGBTQI+ community, firm attorneys, staff, family and friends celebrated Pride Month by marching in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe pride parades in June of 2022.
The firm hosts a number of diversity, equity and inclusion focused trainings and presentations for lawyers and staff on topics such as Unconscious Bias and Micro Aggressions in the Office. In addition, Modrall Sperling’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee has created an internal group email address for all lawyers and staff who subscribe to the group to use in sharing articles, ideas, and other relevant material relevant to diversity, equity and inclusion.
Modrall Sperling’s commitment to supporting diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the larger community includes the creation of a pro-bono, anti-racism program that assists woman and diverse-owned small businesses, as well as legal organizations that support immigration applicants.
In 2022, eight Modrall Sperling attorneys participated in the New Mexico Immigrant Law Center’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) clinic, assisting clients seeking SIJS, a status available to some young immigrants that provides a path to lawful permanent residence for that child. In order to be eligible for SIJS, the child must be subject to a predicate order from a state court in which the court finds that the child has been abandoned, abused, or neglected by one or both parents. The New Mexico Immigrant Law Center relies on assistance from pro bono attorneys to obtain time-sensitive predicate orders necessary to begin SIJS proceedings. At the clinic, attorneys met in-person with clients to complete this first step of their case.
The firm has long supported New Mexico nonprofit Equal Access to Justice, Inc. (EAJ). EAJ provides unrestricted, noncompetitive funds to New Mexico civil legal aid organizations. Their collective work strives to meet the critical legal needs of New Mexicans, ranging from providing legal information, to direct representation, to systemic advocacy. These organizations depend on funds from EAJ to carry out their missions so critical to helping victims of domestic violence, the elderly, and the disabled population of New Mexico.
Modrall Sperling also supports the State Bar of New Mexico’s Judicial Clerkship Program. The purpose of this program is to provide opportunities to students who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups in the legal profession, particularly within the judiciary. An additional goal of the program is to prepare underrepresented individuals with the tools necessary to obtain judicial clerkships. In addition to financial contributions to the program by the firm, Modrall Sperling attorneys Tomas Garcia and Dominic Martinez both served as mentors to program participants during the last two years.
Additionally, Modrall Sperling has established the Max J. Madrid Law Diversity Scholarship, which provides tuition assistance to law students committed to diversity, equity and inclusion who intend to practice law in New Mexico. The scholarship honors our partner and dear friend Max Madrid who tragically passed away in 2012 and was a passionate advocate for the goals of diversity and inclusion. The scholarship provides $10,000 in tuition assistance toward an awardee’s second or third year of law school.
Modrall Sperling is a law firm dedicated to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion – both within our own workplace and in our community at large. The firm’s efforts in this regard are broad and cover many aspects of diversity including age, disability, ethnicity, faith, gender, pro bono, sexual orientation and social mobility.