At the Pierce Atwood law firm, we value and respect the differences among all people, believe that our differences enhance our results, and recognize that only a diverse and inclusive workplace can provide the best ideas, the best resources, and the best people to serve our clients.

We believe that diversity means celebrating the differences among individuals. We value the unique characteristics, thoughts and experiences that are shared at our law firm every day. The ideals of diversity are integrated into our law firm's long-established guiding principles of creating a welcoming, caring, and enjoyable place for our attorneys and staff to work.

In 2006 Pierce Atwood formed a Diversity & Inclusion Committee to develop a strategic diversity planning process. Composed of lawyers and staff, and reporting directly to the firm management, the committee is dedicated to developing and implementing a variety of initiatives to diversify the firm’s workforce. With the assistance of an independent diversity consultant, the firm pinpointed its most challenging issues and developed the first Pierce Atwood Diversity Plan. The goals of that plan, which we continue to pursue, are:

  • Provide and foster firmwide support for diversity initiatives;
  • Provide ongoing diversity education to all firm members;
  • Enhance the firm’s mentoring program.

In our firm and in our communities, we pursue diversity ideals in numerous ways.

In an effort to reach a diverse population of candidates, we participate in diversity job fairs, target certain publications and social networks, and partner with numerous bar associations. 

Through our sponsorship of the McKusick Diversity Fellowship at the University of Maine School of Law, McKusick Fellows have an opportunity for a paid internship at Pierce Atwood.  In 2017, we hired former McKusick Fellow Krystal Williams as an associate.

We also believe that to recruit and retain new associates, we must demonstrate our commitment to diversity by providing diverse role models who can initiate and maintain rich, fulfilling mentorship relationships.

Our staff recruitment efforts also include participating in community organizations such as the Diversity Hiring Coalition of Maine and the Maine Catholic Charities Refugee Program.

In 2017, our Diversity & Inclusion Committee worked with internal stakeholders responsible for recruitment and hiring, along with internal subject matter experts within our employment and HR departments, to review our recruiting/interviewing and hiring processes to determine any areas for improvement.

Pierce Atwood is pleased to be a leader in gender diversity. In 1945, we were the first major law firm in Maine to hire a female attorney, Ms. Sigrid Tompkins. In 1953, she became the first female partner at a Maine law firm. Today, women serve in a variety of leadership roles across the firm, as members of the Management Committee and as Practice Group Leaders. Gloria Pinza served as managing partner from 2009-2015, and the firm had a woman as Chief Operating Officer from 2008-2014.

For many years, we have led the way in helping lawyers and their families balance the demands of their professional and personal lives by offering flexible work schedules and generous paid parental leave policies for birth and adoptive parents.

We provide opportunities for our attorneys and staff to facilitate education and conversation around diversity related issues relevant in today’s society.  Recently, for example:

  • At a firmwide lunch, guest speaker Wayne Maines, father of Nicole Maines, shared with us how he worked through his own prejudices and biases to become a strong advocate for his transgender daughter and transgender rights, as well as the impact of the legal system on his family’s story. The family’s story is chronicled in the New York Times bestseller, Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt.
  • We also hosted a renowned diversity expert to speak to all firm employees on implicit bias in our culture, workplace, and the media.

Pierce Atwood also supports diversity in the communities in which we live and work. For example:

  • We are pleased to sponsor the McKusick Diversity Fellowship at the University of Maine School of Law. Named for a former Pierce Atwood managing partner and Chief Justice of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, this fellowship provides tuition and other support to students from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, with a goal of increasing the diversity of the student body at the law school and in Maine’s legal community.
  • We were a supporting sponsor of the 2017 Boston Bar Association’s Beacon Award for Diversity & Inclusion, which recognizes exceptional leaders working to illuminate a new path forward toward a more diverse and inclusive legal profession in Greater Boston.
  • Pierce Atwood is a sponsor of the South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston and its 14th Annual Gala & Awards Dinner; Karishma Jiva Cartwright, an associate in our Patent group, serves as Vice President of this organization.
  • We are a supporter of Maine Boys to Men, whose mission is to end male violence against women and girls, by investing in the healthy development of boys and men.
  • In September 2018, Pierce Atwood’s Portland office hosted a CLE Ethics program "Professionalism, Conduct and the #MeToo Movement,” featuring Maine State Bar Association President Susan Driscoll and Executive Director Angela Weston discussing results of a survey sent to all Maine-licensed attorneys which explored the occurrence of harassment and discrimination among lawyers in the workplace.
  • We support Freedom for All Massachusetts, which is working to protect equal rights for transgender individuals.
  • We are a founding sponsor, and continuing sponsor, of the Olympia Snowe Women’s Leadership Institute, with four women attorneys appointed to their Leader’s Network and one on the Board of Directors.
  • Through the DC Public School Partnership Program of the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, we provide ongoing support to Anne Beers Elementary School in Washington, DC, including tutoring, mentoring, and other academic enrichment services.
  • We are a sponsor of the Rhode Island Urban Debate League, a program for high school students to improve academic outcomes and increase college readiness.
  • Each year, firm attorneys and paralegal staff are pleased to provide hundreds of hours of pro bono legal assistance in immigration and asylum cases referred by the Immigration Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP). We have represented clients from Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Haiti, Liberia, Burundi, Rwanda, and other countries where war, political instability, and violence have created extraordinary hardships. 
  • We serve as local counsel to GLAD (Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders) for Maine and played a central role in the successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.  
  • We serve as general counsel for JAG Productions, Vermont’s first black theatre company.

Click here to learn more about the firm’s pro bono efforts.