Commitment to Diversity
Foley Hoag’s commitment to diversity traces its roots to the founding of the firm in 1943. Henry Foley and Garrett Hoag were determined to hire the very best lawyers, based entirely on individual merit and without exclusion -- an attitude that set them very much apart from others in the Boston legal community of that era. Those twin traditions of excellence and inclusiveness have remained guiding forces in the firm’s culture. We have brought together at the firm lawyers of different backgrounds, skills and experiences, because we recognize that those individuals bring with them a diversity of thought and perspective that enriches the firm’s culture and enhances the quality of our work. We are committed to fostering an environment in which diversity of every type can flourish and in which every lawyer is positioned to thrive.
Foley Hoag is a founding member of The Boston Lawyers Group, a consortium of large Boston law firms, and government and corporate legal offices dedicated to increasing the number of lawyers of color practicing in Boston. Foley Hoag’s lawyers are highly active in BLG’s efforts, serving on its Executive Committee, interviewing law students at BLG job fairs, mentoring local first-year law students of color, and participating in career panels and mock interviews held for students at Boston-area law schools. We are also a regular sponsor and participant at conferences and job fairs organized by minority law student groups and other organizations dedicated to addressing the issues of recruitment, retention and promotion of lawyers of color. We also host an annual resume workshop for local first-year law students of color.
The firm is a strong supporter of the efforts of The Partnership, Inc., an organization working to make a lasting change in the Boston community by fostering key relationships among existing and emerging leaders and developing programs to strengthen the retention of minority executives and professionals. Foley Hoag sponsors our associates of color as “Fellows” in The Partnership’s Boston Fellows Program, a nine-month program bringing together professionals and executives of color, providing opportunities to meet and develop relationships with Boston’s most influential people of color and key non-minority decision-makers as well.
Dedicating Our Resources
We take great pride in the fact that we have been able to employ our own resources and legal talent to promote the goals of diversity and tolerance. Examples include the following:
- Foley Hoag prevailed in a highly charged and visible lawsuit in which we partnered with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law to challenge the Massachusetts Redistricting Act on the basis that it diluted minority voting strength in the Boston area. This most recent success, which changes the political landscape of Boston, is reminiscent of our representation of plaintiffs more than 30 years ago in the landmark case requiring desegregation of the Boston schools.
- For two decades we defended on behalf of our client, the NAACP, consent decrees implemented in actions to remove barriers to the integration of the Boston Police and Fire Departments, and we continue to work with a variety of cities and towns to assure that they utilize non-discriminatory hiring practices.
- We have represented many organizations which empower women or people of color in the United States and abroad to create and foster businesses and other entrepreneurial opportunities in their communities, such as Accion International, the Center for Women and Enterprise, Initiatives for a Competitive Inner City, and others.
- Our lawyers have assisted the NOW Legal Defense Fund in defending the Violence Against Women Act, and we have worked with GLAD and other organizations to defend the rights of gay and lesbian members of our community. Also, we have represented organizations (such as The Arc of Massachusetts, which works to enhance the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities) to fight discrimination against those with disabilities.
Foley Hoag has earned national recognition as a firm dedicated to the empowerment and defense of a diverse community. This dedication led to the firm receiving a perfect score in Human Rights Campaign’s 2014 Corporate Equality Index. The 100 percent rating came as a result of the firm’s commitment to four main criteria as described by Human Rights Campaign: provides equal benefits for same-sex partners and spouses; ends benefits discrimination for transgender employees and dependents; demonstrates a firmwide organizational competency on LGBT issues; and demonstrates a firmwide public commitment to the LGBT community.
Other recognition includes the following:
- Ranked #34 in The American Lawyer’s annual "A-List Complete Report,” which recognizes the top AmLaw firms based on financial performance, pro bono activity, associate satisfaction and diversity.
- Vault career intelligence website ranked Foley Hoag 6th on list of 20 Best Law Firms to Work For in the nation last year (2014) and 5th for LGBT diversity.
- MultiCultural Law magazine regularly cites Foley Hoag among its Top 100 firms for diversity.