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.
Women at Riker
Riker Danzig recognizes the unique contributions women bring to the legal profession. Our tradition of equal opportunities for women allows us to boast one of the first female partners in any New Jersey law firm, and one of the first on a firm’s management committee. While other law firms were still grappling with the changing dynamic of incorporating women into the life of the law firm, Riker Danzig was ranked first in the country by the National Law Journal for having the highest percentage of women attorneys in any law firm. Our female attorneys continue to 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.
To further encourage our women’s professional development in the firm, Riker Danzig has implemented a mentoring program for female associates. While the program is completely voluntary, we are pleased that it has garnered 100% participation. Structured very informally, the program groups three or four associates with one partner and counsel. Assignments may be made by specific associate request or partner assignment. The associates have the benefit of the partner and counsel’s regular involvement on a one-on-one basis, as well as enjoying the dynamics of occasional small group discussions with the other associates in the group. By approaching needs on a personal level while also inviting group discussion, it is hoped that the concerns and interests of associates at all levels of the firm are addressed and explored.
In addition, many of our attorneys are active in the National Association of Women Lawyers and the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association, organizations committed to the advancement of women in the legal profession. We are pleased to support them in their efforts to address issues and challenges unique to women in the profession.
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.
A primary goal of our Recruiting Committee is to actively seek qualified candidates who can contribute to the diversity of the firm. We have instituted programs to achieve this goal, including the following initiatives:
- 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 minority hiring. We attend the NJLFG job fair that is held annually at Seton Hall University School of Law or Rutgers University School of Law in August. Riker Danzig has served as speakers to the New Jersey Law Firm Group and Ed Chociey, Riker Danzig's Hiring Partner, regularly serves as a mentor to the program.
- Justice Pollock Fellowship: This program was created by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation in honor of one of Riker Danzig’s Of Counsel, retired New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Stewart Pollock. The fellowship provides a minority law student with a ten-week paid internship shared at Riker Danzig and another area law firm. The fellowship recipient is selected by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation from among nominees presented by Rutgers-Newark School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, and New York University School of Law.
- Japan Day: Riker Danzig was pleased to be a sponsor of Japan Day @ Central Park 2017 in support of our client Mitsui Sumitomo Marine Management USA, whose President and CEO, Kurao Onouchi, is the incoming President of Japan Day Inc. Japan Day, held on Sunday, May 14th, takes place each year in Central Park, and was created to thank the people of New York for their appreciation and support of Japanese culture, and to build bridges of cultural understanding. Brian O’Donnell was invited by Reiichiro Takahashi, Ambassador and Consul-General of Japan in New York, to attend a private reception at the Ambassador’s residence in celebration of Japan Day on May 15th. A highlight of the event is the Japan Day 4-mile run. This year, Ashley Higginson finished in first place among the women runners. Out of a field of almost 5,000 runners, Ashley was the first woman to cross the finish line and the 11th runner overall.
- Minority Recruitment Efforts: Participation in the Black Law Students Association job fairs and requesting applicant resumes from law schools with historically large minority enrollments. Contact: Alison Feldman Walsh, Director of Recruitment and Professional Development.
In addition to the programs to which the Firm itself is committed, many of Riker Danzig’s attorneys are personally involved in various worthy causes and organizations, such as the following:
- Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) : Za Quraishi has been selected as this year’s alumni honoree by Rutgers Asian Pacific American Law Students Association (APALSA) for leadership and service in the profession. Za was honored at the Rutgers Mela event on March 23rd at Rutgers Law School in Newark. The APALSA is dedicated to the admission and retention of Asian/Pacific-American law students. Members work to foster awareness of Asian/Pacific-American legal and social issues within the law school and strive to build ongoing relationships with other groups and students interested in both law and justice.
- South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey : Za Quraishi spoke at the South Asian Bar Association of New Jersey’s recent panel entitled, “Partnership Track” on May 25th in Parsippany. Za spoke about his road to partner as a minority.
- Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey (APALA-NJ): Jenny Chung was elected as a director of the Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey. Jenny is one of only five directors for the organization. She will be installed at the APALA-NJ 20th Annual Gala on June 8th at the Palisadium in Cliffside Park.
- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC): Riker Danzig partner Maha M. Kabbash served for eight years on the Board of the New Jersey Chapter of ADC, including serving one year as its President. ADC is a national grassroots civil rights organization with 38 chapters throughout the country. It works to protect the civil rights of all people of Arab heritage in the United States by engaging in political advocacy, providing legal services and raising awareness of Arab-American interests and issues in the mainstream media. ADC also works to provide schools and communities with educational materials about the Arab-American community and the Arab world in order to dispel stereotypes and promote understanding.
- Armenian Bar Association: Scott A. Ohnegian, Chair of the Firm's Labor & Employment Group, is a member of the Board of Governors of the Armenian Bar Association as well as Co-Vice Chair of the NY/NJ/CT Chapter of the Armenian Bar Association.
- Garden State Bar Association: Riker Danzig regularly supports the Garden State Bar Association (GSBA) through its annual contribution to the GSBA Scholarship and Awards Gala. The GSBA assists African-Americans and other minorities in becoming an effective part of the judicial system. It primarily functions for the purpose of enhancing, improving and mainstreaming the status of minority attorneys in the State of New Jersey through mentoring, scholarship, advocacy and outreach programs.
- Association of Black Women Lawyers (ABWL-NJ): The ABWL-NJ, founded in 1975, is the first women’s bar association in New Jersey. As a non-profit and non-partisan organization, ABWL-NJ is dedicated to community involvement, education and diversity in the legal profession. The organization especially encourages greater participation of African-American women in the field of law. The Firm supports ABWL-NJ through its annual contribution to the ABWL Annual Scholarship Jazz Brunch.
- National Bar Association: The National Bar Association, founded in 1925, is the oldest and largest national association of lawyers and judges of color. It serves as the voice for over 44,000 attorneys worldwide, with 87 affiliate chapters throughout the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Africa and the Caribbean. Riker Danzig was proud to sponsor the Young Lawyers Division of the NBA "Junius W. Williams Luncheon" at its Annual Convention, acknowledging the contributions of young lawyers to the NBA and society in general.
In recent years, there have been dramatic societal changes in the norms and attitudes regarding family structures and partnership. In recognition of the changing needs of our employees, Riker Danzig has adopted a Domestic Partner Benefits policy to ensure that all employees have equal access to the firm’s health care benefits. As a result, all of our employees, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status, are entitled to share in the firm’s health care benefits for themselves, their domestic partners and their families.