About  Us

about us

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Our team consists of 200+ people from diverse backgrounds and experiences. We value every member of our team and insist that they bring their complete, authentic selves to the workplace.

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Diversity Equity and Inclusion at Cole Schotz appreciates that all humans, regardless of where they were born, what they look like, or where they started on the socioeconomic ladder are valued.

In short, we embrace excellence here and invest in our diverse, dynamic talent to cultivate their growth and development.

That’s Right: We are a team

COMMITTED TO WORKING TOGETHER AND SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER

We are committed to not only working together, but to doing so in ways that support one another, while simultaneously providing our clients with excellent legal representation.

We do all of that with a lot of humor and good-natured bantering. Humor is a key part of the firm’s culture, along with genuine care for one another.

Does this Sound Pie-In-The Sky?

IT’S NOT – WE HAVE THOUGHTFULLY AND INTENTIONALLY CREATED AND WORK TO MAINTAIN AN INCLUSIVE WORKPLACE.

Truthfully, we are committed to creating and maintaining a firm where the diverse and unique identity of everyone is valued. In fact, we have survey results that prove this: an overwhelming percentage of folks stay at Cole Schotz because they feel valued for who they are and are treated fairly. A strong majority cite the positive firm environment as a reason for choosing Cole Schotz as their home.

All of this emphasizes that we’ve created and maintain an inclusive workplace that values the uniqueness of our team. Our commitment is evidenced by the appointment of a Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer who focuses on driving the firm’s DE&I initiatives and supports our DE&I Committee, which has been in existence for over a decade.

With bold determination and real effort, the firm has accomplished much toward its goal of being a workplace that fully reflects the vibrant diversity of the communities it represents. Together, we work to advance equity in the legal profession – an industry in which marginalized groups are too often underrepresented.

AMONG OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
  • Our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, launched in 2011, consists of team members from all strata of the firm—from administrative colleagues to co-managing partner. Everyone’s perspective is valued as the firm advances its goal of becoming even more diverse and inclusive.
  • In the summer of 2020, the firm began working with Ellie Krug, the only transgender lawyer turned diversity consultant and trainer in the country, who has helped refine and progress our diversity and inclusion roadmap.
  • The firm engages in regular diversity and inclusion trainings, events and dialogues.
  • Gender representation is critical: 38% of our attorneys are women, 30% of the firm’s partners are women, and we are one of the relatively few Am Law 200 firms to have a woman as co-managing shareholder.
  • In addition, 83% of our executive management team are women and include individuals who began their careers with the firm at entry-level positions and have been elevated throughout the years in recognition of their dedication and exemplary performance.
  • We are the recipient of the 2022 Tipping the Scales Award from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance, an award reserved for law firms that have 50% or more women in their 2022 partnership class.
  • The firm supports “STARS,” which empowers women team members to meet the challenges of practicing law in a historically male-dominated profession.
  • Our team members are diverse, including as it relates to race and national origin. Others on our team have families that represent the broad, wonderful diversity that enriches America. As a whole – in one way or another – the firm represents humans of nearly every diverse identity.
  • The firm awards yearly scholarships to full-time second year law students who identify as diverse and attend a law school in a state in which the firm maintains an office.
  • The firm supports The Minority Student Program and regularly participates in MSP programs hosted by Rutgers Law School.
  • Our recruiting efforts also include participation at the New Jersey Law Firm Group Minority Job Fair.
  • The firm regularly contributes to organizations involved in social justice causes and purposefully selects organizations that serve people in need.
  • Mindful that historically the legal system has not always been equitable, the firm encourages its lawyers to engage in pro bono legal representation of persons and organizations in legal need. Importantly, pro bono legal work is accorded 100% “credit” in calculating total billable hours worked.

In summary, we value each and every person – regardless of skin color, religion or spiritual practice, sexual or gender identification, disability status, veteran status, or anything else that some use as a reason to marginalize.

Because every person matters

Dedication Above and Beyond

Supporting THE NEXT GENERATION OF DIVERSE ATTORNEYS

Our commitment to diversity equity inclusion and belonging extends beyond our workplace. We are proud to have established in 2012 the Cole Schotz Diversity Scholarship, which is open to full-time second-year law students attending a law school in a state in which Cole Schotz maintains an office. Please click here to access the application.

Yamilet E. Estrella, 2022 Diversity Scholarship Recipient
Matthew Mayers, 2021 Diversity Scholarship Recipient
Leadership

We welcome our first Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

James A. Lewis, V has joined our work family to further support the firm’s mentorship and sponsorship initiatives with the goal of bolstering the firm’s hiring, retention and attorney advancement. He is a sought-after speaker as it relates to diversity-related topics and a leader in the development of collaborative partnerships to further best practices in diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Committee

Committee Members

Erica A. Roman

co-Chair

Gayle P. Englert

Suhailah Sallie

SHannon M. Smith

Your work, your masterpiece, is deserving of bespoke, inspired lawyering

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