Living Our Values: Our Zero-Tolerance Approach for Harmful Behavior

Lewis Brisbois began more than 40 years ago with a belief in hiring the best possible lawyers and staff who reflect the communities in which they live and work. From the beginning, we knew that cultivating diversity, inclusion, tolerance, and respect within the firm would foster professionalism and excellence in the service we provide to our clients and communities. This foundational commitment has helped us hire, retain, and grow a diverse group of some of the most exceptional lawyers and staff in the legal profession. It has earned us repeated recognition for our commitment to embracing diversity along with the trust of our longstanding clients, who share our beliefs and recognize the superior value that only a diverse team with a strong culture can deliver.

Our Commitments

We represent diverse backgrounds in every sense. Bringing these experiences and perspectives with us to work each day, we work to serve our clients, our communities, and the legal profession through our pro bono representation, volunteering, charitable donations, and other efforts. We also strongly believe that we must live our commitments in the way we treat one another—as colleagues, clients, and citizens.

We understand that a commitment to diversity requires action and continuous evolution—which we have lived out, in initiatives ranging from our pro bono representation of the family of George Floyd to our participation in the Mansfield 7.0 certification process—just as it requires swift, decisive, and transparent action when we become aware of behavior that does not reflect our values.

Lewis Brisbois condemns racism, antisemitism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia, ageism, ableism, and all other forms of hatred and bigotry. We have a zero-tolerance policy for harmful and hateful behavior, as clearly described in our Code of Conduct and reflected in our ongoing efforts to foster a more just, tolerant, and inclusive workplace.

Ongoing Work

We continuously evaluate steps that we can take to help prevent harmful conduct, encourage confidential feedback, and strengthen our culture. This involves actively revisiting processes and protocols to detect, discourage, and mitigate harmful behavior, which we address in greater detail below. Some important initiatives include:

  • Chicago Partner Mary Smigielski serves as a firmwide ombudsperson, an objective advocate for fair process and administration, with an open-door policy for the entire firm.
  • Our attorneys and staff have access to a 1-800 number for confidential complaints or access to the ombudsperson. 
  • Our DEI Advisory Board, comprising non-equity partners and associates, acts as an extension of our existing DEI Committee, expanding its range of perspectives, input, and ideas with a view toward increasing the DEI Committee’s effectiveness and enhancing its contributions to the firm’s overall DEI goals and initiatives. 
  • We continue to invest in DEI education programs and initiatives to inform and educate everyone at Lewis Brisbois regarding the values, practices, behaviors, and expectations inherent in the firm’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • We have implemented software to monitor internal communications via email and chat platforms for inappropriate or offensive content. 
  • We partner with an independent DEI consultant who provides objective monitoring and feedback to firm leadership.
  • Following our achievement of the Mansfield 6.0 certification, we are participating in the Mansfield 7.0 certification process.


Client Resources

For any clients who have questions or wish to know more about these steps and efforts, please reach out directly to the partner serving you or to any of the members of our Management Committee, listed here. We will be happy to speak with you and members of your team.

Thank you for your continued trust and partnership.

Lewis Brisbois Management Committee
Gregory Katz: 212.232.1378 •
Rima Badawiya: 909.386.3041 •
Dana Alden Fox: 213.680.5104 •
Michelle Gilboe: 612.428.5002 •
Charles Harris:  714.668.5501 •
William Helfand: 832.460.4614 •
Craig Holden: 213.599.7818 •
Alan Kaminsky: 212.232.1340 •
Eric Kizirian: 213.580.3981 •
Robert Lewis: 213.680.5000 •
Steven Lewis: 213.680.5041 •
Jana Lubert: 213.680.5075 • 
Michael Platner: 954.828.0350 •
Kathleen Walker: 213.680.5199 •

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