Kramer Levin:Celebrating Diversity And Difference All Year Long

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 - 01:00
Lauren Tapper

Cultural Heritage Month Celebrations

Kramer Levin honors cultural heritage with various programs throughout the year.This February, Kramer Levin will host two programs in honor of African American History Month.The first program will be on the topic of the "Elimination of Bias" with Duane L. Hughes, executive director and counsel at Morgan Stanley, summarizing his findings in his article titled "Lessons from the Good Black." Additionally, the firm will host Rabbi Sharon Shalom, an Ethiopian Israeli Rabbi, to discuss his personal story, including serving as one of the first Ethiopian officers in an elite army unit and being one of the first Ethiopian-Israelis to be ordained by the chief rabbinate of the State of Israel. In March of 2010, Kramer Levin will celebrate Women's History Month with Fordham Law School Professor Sonia K. Katyal , where she will discuss the new future of gender advocacy rights and equality.

In addition to honoring African American Heritage Month and Women's History Month, other programs conducted at the firm include celebrations for Asian Pacific-American Heritage Month, LGBT Pride Month, National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month and National American Indian Heritage Month. A brief summary of previous programs in previous years includes the following:

National Hispanic-Latino Heritage Month

Kramer Levin welcomed Christina Rodriquez from the NYU School of Law to discuss immigration politics and the impact of the Latino vote. Kramer Levin attorneys and paralegals were in attendance as Professor Rodriguez gave an overview of the challenges and possible implications of immigration reform pending the 2008 election. She summarized previous attempts at reform from 2004-2007 as well as the current and possible impact on employers and local efforts attempting to curtail illegal immigration and enforce more legalized programs. Professor Rodriquez noted a current case, a facial challenge to an Arizona state law enacted in 2007 aimed at illegal immigration that reflects rising frustration with the United States Congress's failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform. The Arizona Law, called the Legal Arizona Workers Act, targets employers who hire illegal aliens. Its principal sanction is the revocation of state licenses to do business in Arizona. It has yet to be enforced against any employer. Timing on this topic proved to be impeccable as during her discussion, the Court of Appeals decided that the Arizona law is not pre-emptive. Additionally, Professor Rodriquez provided insight on the most probable type of reform, a piecemeal reform with various programs and initiatives, versus a comprehensive reform policy. Last, but not least, she discussed how the politics of immigration often interprets the interests of Latinos and how their vote in particular could impact an election.

National American Indian Heritage Month

Kramer Levin hosted guest speaker Professor Sandy Grande, a Quechua woman who is chair of the Education Department at Connecticut College.Professor Grande discussed the Elouise Cobbell case, which is one of the largest and most complicated class-action lawsuits ever brought against the United States and deals with the mismanagement of the Indian Trust Fund.She also discussed Indian tribal sovereignty as it relates to the case. Professor Grande also advised the group on her work with the Tecumseh Project. This projectaims to advance a more inclusive and robust public discourse on Native Americans in New York City as well as on the challenges of achieving intellectual and political sovereignty across indigenous communities globally.

Women's Initiatives

Kramer Levin offers a series of programs as part of the firm's Women's Initiatives. The Women's Initiatives Committee offers programs and opportunities that support all attorneys in the firm in their development and advancement as well as strives to address issues of importance to women attorneys.Some of the committee's past initiatives include Business Development Programs/CLE programs including Artful Networking, Business Generation and Maintaining Client Relationships; Website Bio Workshop; Business Networking: How to Make the Most of an Event and Business Development in Today's Economic Environment; Training and Lectures with guest speakers including Deborah Henry and Deborah Tannen; Networking Lunches and Client Development Lunch Programs; and Support to external groups , including the George Washington University Women in Business student group and the YWCA.

One of the firm's most recent events included Kramer Levin sponsoring a lunch and discussion on how women have successfully navigated the workplace while achieving workplace leadership and balance. The discussion featured Kramer Levin panelists Pam Capps, tax partner; Litigation Special Counsel Marjorie Sheldon; land use associate Elizabeth Larsen and tax associate Tamika Cushenberry.The panelists shared their stories on networking, balance, work habits and other significant experiences that had an impact on their personal and professional lives. Of note, this lunch included special guests from the group GW Women in Business, a unique student organization at George Washington University that has been established to provide undergraduate women with the necessary tools to excel in the workforce and to create a network of "women helping women."