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Our firm is at its best when each of our individuals is included, empowered, and valued. We strategically seek ways to integrate adaptive diversity, equity and inclusion values in every aspect of our work. With unwavering commitments to growth and evolution, we will foster a better future together.

We carry out our mission by deploying very deliberate ACTS of Awareness, Commitment, Teamwork and Support to move the needle of inclusion:

Diversity Speaker Series

Hosting monthly conversations to heighten awareness and sensitivity. HSE’s Diversity Speaker Webinars features experts addressing on a wide variety of diversity and inclusion topics for HSE attorneys and staff. Speakers in the series address topics such as heritage recognition, intersectionality, racism, unconscious bias and creating inclusive environments, racial injustice, becoming a skilled LGBTQIA+ advocate, and becoming an ally for communities that have historically been marginalized. These presentations are not only an opportunity to increase our awareness and education around important topics, but also to engage in a discussion about how these issues impact us and how we can be an advocate for change.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Honoring the legacy and meaning of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Every year, the firm celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with with a special speaker and/or service project that commemorates the spirit of MLK Jr. 

Recruitment

Empire State Legal Diversity Career FairActively recruiting partners and associates with varied backgrounds, perspectives, and insights that enrich our firm and our community with the integrity, intellect, ambition and enthusiasm that make practicing law an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

HSE participates in recruiting fairs and on-campus events with law schools and with affinity groups throughout the region that provide the firm’s recruiting team opportunities to meet law students with varied backgrounds.  For example, HSE is a proud annual sponsor of the Empire State Legal Diversity Career Fair.

Retention

Providing a two-tiered mentoring program. We believe that it is important to foster a sense of community and collegiality among our employees.  Mentoring at HSE includes two distinct programs:

  • Our Peer Mentoring program is designed to help incoming associates navigate their careers and realize their full potential. The program pairs each associate with a peer mentor outside of their practice group, who can provide advice, feedback and counsel with respect to the practice of law and understanding firm life at HSE. The peer/mentor relationship is viewed to be in addition to the mentor/mentee relationships we see naturally form within practice groups through working closely together on projects and providing feedback on substantive work and progression with the practice group and firm.
  • The Class Year Mentoring program approaches mentoring based on class year. It is made up of three elements. First, each class year is assigned to a partner mentor who holds an event every quarter where discussion relates to topics and/or issues that have been identified by our associates as being important to their professional growth and development. Second, the program has one panel discussion every quarter featuring guest speakers addressing topics of interest to our attorneys. Lastly, the mentoring program hosts one social event each quarter that brings attorneys together in an informal setting, allowing them to gather and connect outside of work

Offering Business Development coaching.  All HSE attorneys, including first years, are encouraged and invited to collaborate with the firm’s Business Development team to learn about business development and marketing best practices relevant to their year of practice. Coaching is provided in one-on-one and group settings.

Development

Investing in our colleagues. We provide many training opportunities for our attorneys through several formats, providing optimal learning environments for all learning styles.

Following orientation, attorneys work with their practice group leaders to discuss substantive training within their specific practice area. The substantive training includes hands-on, in-person training with a partner or senior associate in the group. Many of our attorneys also attend external conferences which allow them to acquire the skills and insight necessary to become leading experts in their fields.

As an accredited provider of Continuing Legal Education programs, we regularly offer in-house CLE programming which is developed by our HSE attorneys. In addition, the Firm subscribes to Practising Law Institute (PLI) which is an accredited continuing legal and professional education program that covers a wide array of practice areas and allows our attorneys to have convenient and constant access to high-quality learning opportunities.

Teaching the practice of law. Incoming associates participate in HSE 101, a series of programs designed to ease the transition from law school to the practice of law and provide a roadmap of success at the firm. Thereafter, we provide multi-disciplinary programs to meet the needs of our Associates at each step of their career.

Immersing young associates in practical professional development experiences. First and second-year attorneys take advantage of a reduced billable hour requirement in exchange for observing senior associates and partners in specific client work occurrences that they may otherwise not experience until later their careers. 

Feedback. To assist our associates with meeting their career development goals, we provide formal feedback through our annual Attorney Performance Review process. This review consists of a self-evaluation and feedback from partners which culminates in a discussion with each about performance and goals.  Senior associates participate in the firm’s Partnership Progression Review – a forward-looking review that focuses on partnership advancement. 

Mansfield Certification

Mansfield Certification Badge Color 2022-2023

Paving the path for equitable opportunities. HSE is Mansfield Certified. Established by Diversity Lab, the Mansfield Certification is a rigorous program designed to increase the representation of diverse lawyers within the firm and in leadership positions by broadening the pool of candidates considered for entry-level and lateral attorney job openings, leadership opportunities, equity partner promotions, and opportunities to connect with clients, by increasing the number of attorneys who are women, members of the LGBTQ+ community, disabled, and/or members racial/ethnic minority populations. As a Mansfield Certified firm, HSE considers at least 30% historically underrepresented lawyers for 60% or more of all hiring searches and openings, equity partner promotions, firm governance and managing partner roles, and formal client meetings and presentations.

Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance

Contributing to solutions. HSE is a member of the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance, a collaboration of nearly 300 law firms from across the United States focused on identifying the causes of and implementing solutions to address racial inequity in the legal system.     

Teamwork at HSE is not optional, it’s an expectation. The HSE culture is one of collegial collaboration to ensure we deliver best-in-class service to our clients while providing HSE attorneys and professionals with enriching experiences. We do this through:

Client Teams

Assembling client teams of professionals with the most appropriate skill, experience, and billing rate, and with a focus on inclusiveness and equity.

Pro Bono Service

Partnering with clients to provide pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations in our communities. In collaboration with organizations such as Just Cause and the Erie County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project, we identify a wide variety of matters that HSE, working in tandem with clients, can astutely handle and resolve including prisoner rights’ cases, asylum applications, name-change petitions, wills and other end-of-life planning documents and transactional/start-up matters. 

Service Projects

Hosting campaigns to make a difference for our neighbors. Throughout the year, we collaborate with local organizations to support missions and initiatives that cater to the needs of  disadvantaged neighborhoods. For example, we regularly host collection efforts for school districts for items such as toys, hats and gloves, and school supplies; and arrange opportunities for HSE attorneys and staff to serve in local soup kitchens. Additionally, for decades, we have partnered with local organizations during the holiday season to deliver food and gifts to families in need.

Employee Resource Groups

Hosting three Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Women, People of Color and LGBTQIA+. All in the firm are invited to participate. These groups are organized to promote a network and community related to a specific background or interest, prevent isolation, provide opportunities for leadership and mentorship, and raise awareness of ways we can learn and grow.

HSE Diversity Scholarship

Engaging with law students through the firm’s annual 1L Diversity Scholarship program. The Firm awards two 1L Law students with a $7,500 scholarship to be applied to their second year’s tuition along with a paid Summer Associate position in the Firm’s Rochester or Buffalo, NY offices. The scholarship is awarded annually to two first-year students based on factors that indicate promise for a successful career in the legal profession, such as their professional accomplishments, academic achievement, and community involvement. Click here to learn more.

Community Support

Contributing to the diversity and inclusion conversation in our communities by supporting and encouraging our attorneys and professional staff to serve in leadership roles with diversity-focused organizations and sponsoring related programs and events. HSE has decades of sponsoring and supporting organizations that serve our diverse communities including, but not limited to:

  • Buffalo Urban League
  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Minority Bar Foundation of Western New York
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • National Federation for Just Communities
  • Trillium Health
  • Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York – Western New York Chapter
  • Western New York Women’s Foundation
  • YWCA Rochester and Monroe County

Inclusion and Equity Committee

Horn_John

John Horn

IEC Chair, Litigation Partner

Firm Leadership

Lucy Dadd

Chief Legal Talent and Development Officer

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Amy Hemenway

Partner-in-Charge, Buffalo

Kellogg_Amy_2022 ALB HSE WebReady

Amy Kellogg

Partner-in-Charge, Albany

Nicole L Kershaw

Nicole Kershaw

Chief Client Relations Officer

Menasco_Timothy

Tim Menasco

Intellectual Property Partner

Mudrick_Benjamin

Ben Mudrick

Labor and Employment Partner

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Chris Murillo

Partner-in-Charge, New York City

Firm Leadership

Rhonda Noto

Chief Human Resource Officer

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Sarah Pellerin

Real Estate Partner

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Sheldon Smith

Litigation Partner

Townsend_Edward

Ted Townsend

Health Care Partner

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Craig Wittlin

Managing Partner

Inclusion and Equity Chair

John G. Horn

  716.844.3728

  jhorn@hselaw.com

Leadership Experience

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