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April 30, 2018

At Pullman & Comley, diversity and inclusion starts at home. Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee ("D & I Committee") is continuously looking at our own diversity and inclusion efforts to see where and how we can do better.  In the first quarter of 2018 we spent considerable time and energy evaluating ourselves and assessing our progress.  We also continued our efforts to foster and promote diversity and inclusion within the Connecticut legal community and beyond. 

Self-Reflection 

Internal D&I Interviews – Over the last several months several members of our D&I Committee began the process of interviewing Pullman & Comley partners, associates, paralegals and staff to elicit honest thoughts and feedback about our firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts.  

LCD Best Practices Forum -- On February 8, Mike Kurs attended the Lawyer’s Collaborative for Diversity (“LCD’s”) “Best Practices Forum – What Clients Want & How to Get There.” The panel included included, among others,  John Ashmeade, Yale New Haven Health, Mike Cammarota (Accenture), and Jose Santos (UTC, retired).

Recruitment – During the first quarter, the firm worked to recruit and select a candidate to participate in its 1L Diverse Summer Associate Program with Yale New Haven Health System. The Diverse Summer Associate Program is a highly-selective program that offers a first-year law student the opportunity to work at Pullman & Comley in a law firm setting for half of their 1L summer followed by work in Yale New Haven’s in-house legal department for the second half of the summer.  One 2L (second year) law student, who was selected to participate in the program in 2017, is returning to work at Pullman & Comley for this summer.   

“Strategies for Attracting, Retaining, and Growing Women Leaders in the Technology Sector” -- On February 6, two of our attorneys attended the Connecticut Technology Council HR Forum Series panel which focused on “strategies for attracting and retaining women professionals, particularly in the CT tech sector, and getting more women in STEM careers into the executive suite.” The panel was moderated by Nancy Hancock and included Lisa Jacobi, Senior Vice President & Chief HR Officer at COCC and Whitney Swesey, People Development Manager at Datto.  

Making Our Mark

Lambda Legal –  John Stafstrom is now vice chair of the national board of directors of Lambda Legal, a highly influential national non-profit organization dedicated to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.  Congratulations to John! 

Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity (“LCD”) -- Pullman & Comley, which is an active LCD member, spearheads many of LCD’s critical initiatives, including its effort to gain exposure in Fairfield County. Pullman & Comley will employ a diverse college intern through LCD’s college intern program this summer.  The intern will split time between Pullman & Comley and Yale New Have Health System's legal department. 

Connecticut Bar Association  During the first quarter, Pullman & Comley attorneys undertook a number of diversity and inclusion efforts through the Connecticut Bar Association (“CBA”): 

  • January 23, Pullman & Comley's managing partner, Tim Shearin, attended the Diversity and Inclusion Summit Pledge meeting at the CBA headquarters. 
  • January 29, Bob Hinton attended a CBA Diversity & Inclusion committee meeting.
  • Erick Russell held an Executive Committee meeting for the CBA’s LGBT Section, and planned apanel discussion on Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission and its potential implications. 
  • Credible Roles in the Courtroom: Diverse and Women Attorneys” -- On January 23, Mike Kurs attended a Federal Bar Council program entitled “Credible Roles in the Courtroom: Diverse and Women Attorneys” and a Women in the Law reception at the New York State Bar Association (“NYSBA”) Annual Meeting. 
  • New York Bar State Bar Association - Mike Kurs and Bob Hinton will be presenting at a June 14 New York Sate Bar Association ("NYSBA") CLA program on Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias.
  • Yale New Haven's Mock Trial Program - Kelly O'Donnell is currently coaching the Fifth Grade prosecution team at the Hall School in Bridgeport as part of Yale New Heaven Health's Mock Trail program. 

Sharing Our Values

Connect Us – Pullman & Comley D&I Committee co-chair Jill Bicks has worked to initiate a relationship between Pullman & Comley and Connect-Us, a Bridgeport non-profit seeking to provide Bridgeport youth with job skills and internships in order to develop their professional abilities and opportunities.  

MLK Day Service -- Pullman & Comley attorneys, paralegals and staff organized rooms and cleaned up the emergency homeless shelter at the South Park Inn, Hartford, CT,

Project H.E.L.P. and Hartford Promise-- P&C’s Bob Hinton participated in two Project H.E.L.P. legal clinics for the homeless at Columbus House. Bob is also mentoring a “Promise Scholar” in connection with Hartford Promise (a Large Scale College Fund and College Success Program for Hartford Public School Students ).

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