Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

At Rosenberg & Estis, P.C., individuality is both highly valued and highly celebrated, and the firm has consistently focused on enhancing and maintaining an inclusive and diverse firm-wide culture that promotes equal opportunity and prohibits workplace discrimination.

Senior legal management includes gender, ethnic and LGBTQ+ diversity, while women, persons of color (POC) and members of the LGBTQ+ community are represented in management in many critical areas of the firm’s services.

R&E is an active member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), through which it has been able to recruit diverse first-year law students as candidates for its summer law clerk program.

In 2023, we retained an experienced diversity consultant and, after receiving the consultant’s report, we implemented additional procedures and protocols to enhance our diversity initiatives. Already recognized as one of New York’s most respected real estate law firms, we set out to build on our authentic DE&I practices to bolster recruiting efforts, elevate our presence within more diverse communities and contribute to a focus on the overall employee experience that has earned R&E multiple Top Workplace awards.

The firm participated in the annual ABA Model Diversity Survey and is planning to participate in the Mansfield Rule Certification Process. R&E is also involved in multiple organizations, including but not limited to the Arab American Bar Association, Asian American Judges Association of New York, Caribbean Attorneys Network, HerJustice, Metropolitan Black Bar Association and SPEAKHIRE.

The firm hosted a Fair Housing Compliance Seminar, a minority-owned company focused on empowering tenants and property owners, and we launched in-house diversity training that includes the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge.  In June 2024, the firm hosted the Metropolitan Black Bar Association’s Elevate & Empower: Black Real Estate Development Symposium 2024, which included a roundtable discussion and reception.

R&E’s diverse hiring and promoting has been on an upward trajectory as approximately two thirds of our new legal hires in 2023 were diverse (women, POC, LGBTQ+), and seven of our non-legal staff and two of our attorneys were promoted. To date this year, R&E has hired eight new diverse staff members, grown membership of its Diversity Committee to 15 attorneys (including members, counsel and associates), and hosted a workshop on Allyship focused on understanding unconscious bias.

R&E has also extended its outreach at the college and law school level, supporting partnerships with student and alumni organizations at Fordham University, St. John’s University, and the YMCA of Greater New York Rowe Scholars Program.

The firm also instituted the official closing of its offices in recognition of Juneteenth, and added gender pronouns to email signatures in a move to create an environment in which all employees can be comfortable whatever their gender choice.
Among its goals for the remainder of this year are increasing the number of diverse law clerks and Fall Associates, participating, as we have in the past 7 years, in the Pencil Program to introduce high school-age students to careers in the law, and providing pro bono services to Sanctuary for Families Courtroom Advocates Program (CAP).

The R&E Pledge
Click here to read our pledge. LCLD Members lead by example, take action, and challenge the legal profession to prepare future generations of diverse talent for the highest positions of leadership. Through our partnership with LCLD’s scholars program, we have been able to source diverse first-year law students as candidates for our established summer law clerk program.

Growing Our Efforts
Sustaining and growing our efforts to support diversity, equity and inclusion has been one of our proudest accomplishments. The firm views DE&I as an essential component of our business and are extremely cognizant of preventing diversity fatigue in the face of the many economic, political, and societal events that could have challenged our commitment in recent years.  R&E has been able to accomplish this by encouraging active internal dialogue and supporting open communication about our long-term goals and how we can keep moving forward. As colleagues have increasingly become aware of each other’s personal experiences of diversity or discrimination, the firm has built a foundation of trust that has grown into a collective internal vision.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and (Fellows of Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina) has presented New York’s law firms with new challenges to effective DE&I initiatives.

The New York State Bar Association issued guidelines on how law firms might navigate this anti-affirmative action ruling that directly impacts the higher education institutions that sustain the pipeline of lawyers coming into the profession.  R&E has taken these NYSBA guidelines and continued to enhance our DE&I structure and support new initiatives.

R&E Leadership
R&E leadership, including all of our Equity Members, has been pivotal to the growth of our DE&I platform. They shared their own visions of what DE&I should mean for R&E and then set about engaging the entire team to lead the management of a sustainable initiative.

The Equity Members have actively supported investment in teaching, support, mentoring and networking initiatives.  Providing this type of access to our own staff has been as important as efforts to broaden our impact in the wider community. Hiring diverse candidates is only the first step – investing in their future is a cause primarily driven by R&E leaders.

The Equity Members created a budget dedicated to sponsoring and participating in industry events focused on DE&I so that our staff and attorneys can stay connected and educated on emerging trends, best practices, and legal developments, ensuring we remain at the forefront of DE&I efforts in the legal profession.

Most recently, the Equity Members, in solidarity with other firms and colleagues within the legal community, took a stand against the reports of anti-Semitic behavior on major university campuses across the country. “There are times when there can be no dispute about good vs. evil or right vs. wrong…R&E will absolutely not tolerate race-based hatred in our workplace,” stated the letter to the nation’s leading institutions of learning.