Berger Montague strongly supports diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) initiatives and is a legal industry leader in living these values and incorporating and demonstrating these principles through action. Through its DEI initiatives, Berger Montague has increased diversity at all levels of the firm and provided a more inclusive environment.
Beginning many years ago, Berger Montague enacted policies to ensure that all employees, clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel, contractors, and vendors of all races, religions, national origins, gender identities, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and physical abilities are respected. Our employees, regardless of individual differences, are supported, encouraged, and promoted in the workplace, and our policies provide all employees with equal opportunities to succeed.
Recruiting, developing, and promoting diverse and underrepresented talent is in the firm’s and our clients’ best interests. It allows Berger Montague to bring together a variety of perspectives and experiences, and makes us better and more informed. It strengthens our firm and creates opportunities to serve broader sets of clients. It allows us to learn from each other, to grow in new directions, and creates a fantastic work culture.
Berger Montague’s DEI Mission Statement is available here.
Berger Montague’s DEI Task Force led by Shareholder Camille Fundora Rodriguez spearheads Berger Montague’s DEI efforts, reports directly to the Chair and Executive Committee, and has enacted a broad range of DEI-related initiatives. These include, for example, campaigns to hire and retain attorneys and professional staff from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds; initiatives to foster an inclusive work environment; planning and leading employee training sessions on DEI issues; and meeting regularly to discuss new ideas and implement action steps.
The members of Berger Montague’s DEI Task Force include attorneys and professional staff from a variety of diverse backgrounds and roles, and include:
- Camille Fundora Rodriguez (DEI Coordinator and Shareholder)
- Caitlin G. Coslett (Shareholder and Co-Chair of the Antitrust Department)
- Candice J. Enders (Shareholder & Recruiting Committee Coordinator)
- Alfred W. Zaher (Shareholder and Chair of the Intellectual Property Department)
- Sophia Rios (Associate)
- Caroline Choe (Paralegal)
- Stefana Klipa (Paralegal)
Examples of Berger Montague’s DEI Initiatives
Berger Montague has enacted a broad range of DEI initiatives, including, for example:
- Successful efforts to hire and retain attorneys and professional staff from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds;
- In partnership with the Associate Development Coordinator, the creation of an attorney development and mentorship program, in which Associates are matched with a Shareholder or Senior Counsel to form important working relationships and ensure that talent is nurtured and that Associates meet well-defined annual goals;
- Firm events intended to foster and encourage an inclusive and soul-fulfilling work environment and culture;
- Firm training sessions on DEI-related issues that impact the workplace (e.g., The Power of Language, Allyship with Women, Implicit Bias);
- The implementation of policies and guidelines relating to leadership applications in litigation and responses to requests for proposals issued by corporate and government clients;
- The creation of a Women’s Caucus to foster discussions regarding workplace issues for women at the firm, and to focus on topics chosen by women attorneys to form a strong and supportive community; and
- Maintaining and analyzing firm demographics on a regular basis.
In line with its commitment to DEI, Berger Montague has developed guidelines to ensure that it effectively represents its inclusive culture and commitment to DEI to the courts, prospective clients, and the public. These guidelines include, for example:
- Staffing Matters in an Inclusive Manner – All Shareholders managing and staffing cases are directed to consider the diversity of the team from the outset of every matter.
- Mentorship, Experience, and Opportunities for Associates – Shareholders managing and staffing cases, as well as mentors and other senior lawyers, should strive to create opportunities for all Associate attorneys to gain experience and develop their skills and abilities, as well as to offer Associates’ unique perspectives.
Berger Montague’s commitment to DEI activities extends far beyond the firm. Our attorneys are involved – and many hold leadership positions in – numerous community and professional associations. For example, Berger Montague attorneys are participants, members, and/or hold leadership positions with the following organizations:
- Hispanic Bar Association
- Philadelphia Bar Association (and various committees)
- Community Legal Services of Philadelphia
- After School Activities Partnerships
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
- The National LGBT Bar Association
- The William Way Center
- The Mazzoni Center
- Philadelphia FIGHT
Women Leaders at Berger Montague
At Berger Montague, women lead. Women comprise over 30% of Berger Montague’s Shareholders and that percentage is growing. Berger Montague desires to be the number one litigation boutique for women lawyers in the United States.
Women are encouraged and supported by professional development opportunities that are provided to bolster their trajectories into key roles, both within and outside the firm, including mentoring, networking, educational opportunities, and most importantly, being affirmatively supported for leadership positions in cases and complex litigation.
As a result of these policies, women at Berger Montague manage and have key roles at the firm and its departments. Women at Berger Montague are appointed to oversee major firm initiatives and programs, are expected to – and do – generate new business, serve in court-appointed leadership positions in major litigation, and hold numerous professional and leadership positions.
The current organizational structure of Berger Montague includes some of the top women plaintiffs’ attorneys in the United States who have proven themselves industry leaders through decades of achievement and excellence, and serve as examples for younger women attorneys nationwide:
- Sherrie R. Savett – Chair Emeritus & Executive Shareholder
- E. Michelle Drake – Executive Shareholder, Head of Minneapolis Office
- Caitlin G. Coslett – Shareholder & Antitrust Department Co-Chair
- Candice J. Enders – Shareholder & Recruiting Committee Coordinator
- Ellen T. Noteware – Shareholder & Pro Bono Committee Coordinator
- Camille Fundora Rodriguez – Shareholder & DEI Task Force Coordinator
- Michaela Wallin – Shareholder & Paralegal Coordinator
- Sophia Rios – Senior Associate & Head of San Diego Office
LGBTQ+ Leaders at Berger Montague
Berger Montague is committed to maintaining an equal and supportive work environment, and to welcoming and promoting the development of LGBTQ+ attorneys and professional staff. The firm is proud to employ numerous LTBTQ+ attorneys at all levels of the firm, including Department Chairs, Shareholders, Associates, and Counsel. At Berger Montague, we know that diverse teams, including attorneys from varied backgrounds and perspectives, contributes to our continued success.
Berger Montague attorneys have also provided pro bono legal services and served on the boards of a number of Philadelphia and national organizations that serve the LGBTQ+ community such as The National LGBT Bar Association, The William Way Center, the Mazzoni Center, and Philadelphia FIGHT. Our firm is proud to participate in recruiting LGBTQ+ lawyers nationally through its participation in the Lavender Law Conference, Law and Recruitment Fair sponsored by the National LGBTQ Bar Association.
Berger Montague is Committed to Its People
Berger Montague believes that each employee contributes directly to the firm’s success and hopes its employees will take pride in being part of the firm. The firm’s success is dependent on the performance of its employees. Berger Montague values its employees, invests in them, and in turn expects that they will contribute to the success of the firm.
Berger Montague’s policies and programs offer flexibility to our attorneys and professional staff with respect to integrating work and personal responsibilities. Our policies and programs include, for example:
Paid Time Off. Berger Montague offers new full-time employees 20 paid-time off days that can be used for sick, personal, and vacation time, and 25 paid-time off days following the third full year of employment.
Parental Leave. Berger Montague offers a generous parental leave program for new parents in all offices that provides for up to sixteen weeks of paid leave to the primary caregiver and up to four weeks of paid leave for the secondary caregiver. Pursuant to our parental leave policy, the use of paid childcare leave will never be a factor in or affect any promotion or advancement decision.
Reduced Work Schedule For Primary Caregiver Attorneys Following Parental Leave Period. Berger Montague maintains a flexible return policy that allows for a part-time reduced work schedule for primary caregiver attorneys to allow them to balance their responsibilities at home with those at work, and to promote attorney recruitment, retention, and advancement. A primary caregiver attorney may elect to return to their position with Berger Montague on a reduced work schedule basis for an initial period of up to one (1) year, after which, a request can be made for an extension. Attorneys on a reduced work schedule will receive the same types of assignments as other attorneys of their level and working on a reduced schedule will not preclude or affect the opportunity for advancement at the firm. Part-time or reduced-hour employment will not preclude eligibility for promotion to Shareholder at Berger Montague.
Attorney Performance Management. Berger Montague has implemented fair and objective policies for attorney performance management and advancement, including regular performance evaluations and self-evaluations with the goal of providing all attorneys constructive feedback on their performance.
Berger Montague Attorney Demographics
Berger Montague’s attorney demographics demonstrate the firm’s commitment to DEI and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Berger Montague outperforms the national averages across the board on gender, race, LGBTQ+, and disability (as set forth in the 2022 NALP Directory of Legal Employers).
- Two Executive Shareholders are women.
- Six departments are chaired or co-chaired by women.
- Two departments are chaired or co-chaired by LGBTQ+ members.
- Two offices are managed by women, one of whom is Latinx.
- Women lead the pro bono, recruiting, work allocation, and DEI committees at the firm.
- Over 60% of Associates are women, creating a strong pipeline.
- Over 30% of Shareholders are women.
- Over 50% of non-Shareholder attorneys are women, persons of color, LGBTQ+ members, and/or a person with a disability.
- Over 30% of Shareholders are women, persons of color, LGBTQ+, and/or a person with a disability.
- Over 50% of attorneys overall are women, persons of color, LGBTQ+, and/or a person with a disability.
Berger Montague is proud of and will continue its DEI initiatives.