Pullman & Comley views diversity as a core value of our firm that informs and influences our office culture, our professional and personal relationships, and strengthens our approach to problem solving. Our objective is to create and maintain diversity in our workplace. We seek to foster understanding, acceptance and inclusiveness for the breadth of diversity that exists in our firm and the communities in which we live, including racial, gender, sexual orientation, religious and economic diversity. We also respect and support our clients’ activities that further a commitment to diversity in each of these areas.
Pullman & Comley strives to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of our society, enriching us with multiple perspectives and experiences that enhance both our strategies for our clients and our contributions to the legal profession and the greater community.
- The firm's lawyers are actively involved in national, state and local bar efforts to advance diversity and inclusion.
- We have taken steps to enhance the opportunities and further educate our attorneys and staff on ongoing diversity and inclusion activities.
- The firm has expanded its summer associate program to introduce 1L students to opportunities in the law department of a significant client.
- We are continuously working with our contacts to attract diverse lateral talent.
Guiding Principles of Diversity at Pullman & Comley
Diversity is not a “statement.” Inclusion is not a “concept.” Being diverse is what we as a society are; being inclusive is what we should be. That’s what Pullman & Comley LLC believes in, and that’s how we operate as a firm. We are committed to diversity and inclusion because it is simply the right thing to do.
In addition to our firm’s equal employment opportunity commitments, we embrace the following guiding principles to ensure that diversity and inclusion remain a core value of our firm:
- Ensure that all firm employees are treated with respect, dignity, and civility.
- Provide equal and equitable opportunities to each employee to maximize skill development and advancement.
- Foster a firm culture that is welcoming and inclusive of all people, recognizing that individual differences strengthen the firm and enhance the level of representation we provide to our clients.
- Provide positive leadership within the legal profession and the greater community regarding diversity and inclusion issues.
Our commitment to diversity includes:
- A dynamic Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee that contributes to and actively participates in organizations that promote diversity and advocate for the protection of diversity in the workplace. The DEI Committee also organizes internal “Lunch and Learn” sessions to educate the firm’s members on diversity topics such as the use of gender-neutral pronouns and the history of "Juneteenth," and organizes an annual firm-wide “Day of Service” to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King.
- Longtime leadership role in the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity (LCD), an association of law firms, government agencies, law schools and corporate members committed to increasing the recruitment, retention and advancement of lawyers of color, not only as good social policy, but also as an exemplary business practice. The firm was a founding member of the LCD and actively participates in its programs (including its college pipeline internship program), and Jessica Grossarth Kennedy is a member of LCD’s Board of Directors in an LGBT liaison role. Lee Hoffman, chair of Pullman & Comley, is a former member of the LCD’s Board of Directors.
- A proud sponsor of several affinity bar associations, with many of our attorneys taking leadership roles within the following organizations:
Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association
George W. Crawford Black Bar Association
Connecticut Asian Pacific American Bar Association
South Asian Bar Association
Connecticut Italian-American Bar Association
- Jessica Grossarth Kennedy, founding and past chair of the LGBT section of the Connecticut Bar Association, has taken an active role in the promotion and success of this section, which presents issues of particular concern to LGBT individuals in the legal profession and those who seek legal services.
- An annual “Celebrating Diversity” networking event which provides an opportunity for business owners to exchange ideas and develop relationships with other business owners, community leaders and non-profit representatives in the Greater Bridgeport Community.
- Providing diversity training to educate employees about their rights and responsibilities for creating an inclusive workplace culture.
In addition, as part of our commitment to employing outstanding lawyers, Pullman & Comley participates in the Cultural Diversity Initiative (CDI) sponsored by the UConn Law School Diversity Committee and the various affinity student organizations at UConn Law School. The focus of CDI is to offer diverse 1L students the opportunity to interview with participating law firms in hopes of gaining employment as a summer associate. For more information on the firm’s participation in CDI, visit our Summer Program page.
Diversity & Inclusion Summit
Pullman & Comley is five years into a six year collective pledge that was signed at the Connecticut Bar Association (CBA) Inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Summit to reaffirm our ongoing commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion within our firm and within the Connecticut legal community as a whole.
As part of the pledge, signed by nearly two dozen legal leaders in the state, the firm has agreed to fully participate in the CBA’s Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which provides benchmarking tools and implementation goals for the next few years and beyond. We are proud to be part of this evolutionary process that will have a positive impact on the just application of the law and strengthens the public’s trust in the administration of justice.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Members
You are invited to contact a DEI Committee member or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. We look forward to hearing from you. The members of the DEI Committee are:
- Kaila V. Cavanagh
- Sebastian D'Acunto
- Monte E. Frank
- Matthew D. Glennon
- Lee D. Hoffman
- Robert L. Holzberg
- Dana M. Hrelic
- Melinda B. Kaufmann
- Jessica Grossarth Kennedy
- Jonathan B. Orleans
- Zachary D. Schurin
- James T. (Tim) Shearin
- John F. Stafstrom
- Mark J. Sommaruga, Chair
- Marcy T. Stovall
- Gwaina D. Wauldon
Read our past INCLUSION INSIGHTS Newsletters:
“As a Diversity Committee member, I strive to ensure that our actions consistently and continually emulate our inclusive nature as a firm. As a gay woman, I now know that I could not have landed at a more accepting firm. Our Diversity Committee has two overriding goals. One is to celebrate Pullman & Comley’s concrete commitment to an accepting, supportive and understanding organization. The second is to foster an environment that supports diversity by working with our clients, and attracting new clients, that consider inclusivity and diversity a key component to their businesses.” -Jessica Grossarth Kennedy
John F. Stafstrom Jr. Talks to WSHU about Lambda Legal Role
Pullman & Comley attorneys participated in the Connect-Us Academy Summer Institute, an organization that provides Bridgeport students with after school opportunities and internships with area businesses. In the July 15 program, the students worked in small groups to select an issue they care about and developed a plan to advocate for that issue. After sharing their own stories of what mattered to them, our lawyers helped to facilitate the students’ plans.
Pullman & Comley has been a proud supporter of Lambda Legal and its mission since 2003. On October 2, 2022, John F. Stafstrom Jr. was recognized for his commitment and decades of service to Lambda Legal at the annual Connecticut Cares fundraiser in Westport, Connecticut. John recently concluded his term as chair of the national board of directors of the leading civil liberties organization focused on LGBTQ+ persons and those living with HIV.