“Pursuit of a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment are core values of Fredrikson & Byron. In furtherance of these values, we are pressure-testing our internal systems and processes so they best promote this effort, providing safe spaces for ongoing education and dialogue, and partnering with others to strengthen the broader community through pro bono assistance and financial support. We are committed to investing in the development, promotion, and success of our colleagues. Our firm is better able to provide outstanding service to our clients and innovative solutions to their legal needs by cultivating a diverse workforce.”
Mary S. Ranum
Former Inclusion & Diversity Committee Chair
Statement of Values
Diversity and inclusion are core values of Fredrikson. To best serve our clients, we provide innovative solutions to legal needs by cultivating a diverse workforce.
Our Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
We recognize that a statement alone will not help us achieve a more diverse workforce. Intentional steps and actions directed at hiring and retaining lawyers of diverse backgrounds is imperative.
Fredrikson’s diversity and inclusion initiatives are led by a committee composed of board members, division representatives, associates, and professionals from our business development, recruiting and diversity teams. The committee is responsible for creating and promoting opportunities for education and dialogue throughout the firm, while also supporting the firm’s efforts to retain more effectively attorneys and staff of diverse backgrounds.
Feedback from our current attorneys and staff of diverse backgrounds, as well as from those who have left the firm, is an important component in helping us to learn more about their overall experiences at the firm, identify what obstacles to success they have encountered, and uncover opportunities for improvement. This feedback is extremely important to creating an atmosphere in which all Fredrikson employees feel they can succeed.
Pursuit of diversity and inclusion as core values enables our firm to be a home where professionals and staff who reflect the diversity of our community can achieve success and career fulfillment–individual by individual–which will enrich the professional and personal experience of everyone at Fredrikson.
We acknowledge both the moral and business imperatives for promoting diversity and inclusion within our firm and community. Our clients inspire us to create diverse teams of individuals in order to provide innovative solutions to their legal needs.
Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives
We aspire to be a leader in both our profession and our community in reflecting diversity and inclusion as core values. We are proud to highlight a few of the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives:
- In 2022, the firm launched “FredLink,” an internal opt-in mentorship program for attorneys of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys. Participants are paired with leaders throughout the firm for a year-long series of intentional discussions relating to internal and external professional and client development.
- Effective January 2021, attorneys, paralegals and other timekeepers can receive credit toward their billable hour goals for time spent furthering inclusion and diversity at the firm and in the community.
- In 2020 we launched “FredFlix,” a series of short, thought-provoking videos that touch on a wide variety of topics related to inclusion and diversity. After watching the videos, employees are invited to join facilitated conversation that promote respectful small-group dialogue between colleagues.
- We have a strong representation of women and attorneys of diverse backgrounds chairing the firm’s practice areas, and many are leaders and/or members of the firm’s committees.
- Fredrikson proactively encouraged the formation of a Glass Ceiling Task Force, whose recommendations not only assist the firm with the retention of women, but also helps women to thrive in our culture.
- Fredrikson has a record of tackling complex concerns and conversations relating to the retention of our historically underrepresented attorneys. The firm proactively encouraged the formation of: the Glass Ceiling Task Force to assist the firm with the retention of women; Attorneys of Color Task Force to develop recommendations to further support our attorneys of color; and a Pressure-Testing Task Force to systematically review each stage of an attorney’s progression at the firm and to identify and interrupt areas of potential bias. Recommendations from all task forces have been incorporated in firm strategic plans, policies, and procedures.
- Fredrikson was proud to host a Twin Cities event designed to gather all women lawyers of color, a program which continues to this day. The program provides a forum for a discussion about how women of color in the Twin Cities have successfully navigated their legal careers with their sponsors and mentors. Attendees participate in dynamic discussion circles led by distinguished women of color leaders in the legal community.
- The firm’s hiring efforts include activities designed to increase the diversity of both entry level and lateral level attorneys, including participation in minority job fairs, targeted outreach to associations of minority and other law students and lawyers, and expanded recruiting to include schools with significant diversity in the classes.
- Fredrikson attorney John Stout is a co-founder of the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA), a non-profit organization that aids businesses that are owned and managed by racial and ethnic minority residents of Minnesota. He is also a co-founder of the Milestone Growth Fund. Milestone Growth Fund is the only Minnesota venture capital fund focused on providing equity-type financing to minority-owned companies.
- Fredrikson is a founding member of Twin Cities Diversity in Practice, a collaborative consortium of local law firms and other organizations dedicated to advancing diversity in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota legal community.
- The firm is also an active member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), a national organization of more than 285 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners who are personally committed to creating a truly diverse legal profession.
- The firm annually sponsors many community events and galas that promote diversity in the Twin Cities and we also support individual attorney’s involvement in diverse bar associations such as the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers, the Lavender Bar Association and the Minnesota American Indian Bar Association, to name a few.
The firm has taken several steps to break down barriers and help confront unconscious bias:
- In 2020 Fredrikson completed an “inclusion assessment” to examine our firm’s culture of inclusion, identify areas of improvement, and develop resources, initiatives, and tasks to further our development and increase our inclusion across all levels of the firm. The assessment included a survey sent to everyone at the firm and we received remarkable participation. The firm is using the results of the assessment to inform strategic priorities and improve our systems and processes.
- In 2020, we partnered with more than 125 law firms to establish the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, aiming to leverage the resources of the private bar to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by racism, to better use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color and to promote racial equity in the law and in government institutions.
- Our successful diversity and inclusion training series has included programs on topics such as: Working Inclusively in the Hybrid Environment, Identifying and Interrupting bias; The Many Faces of Islam; The Many Faces of Our LGBT Community; Working Within a Multi-Cultural Environment; and Grey Area Thinking: Helping Legal Professionals Understand “Trans” Persons. We have also hosted programs on topics such as micro-inequities, and generational differences in the workplace.
- In 2005, the Fredrikson & Byron Foundation established the Fredrikson & Byron Scholarship Fund at the University of Minnesota Law School. The scholarship is designed to promote diversity at the law school consistent with the University’s diversity initiatives. The law school scholarship committee selects the recipients of the scholarship. Once the endowment is fully funded, the scholarship assists in covering tuition each year for the selected student.
The firm provides support to our attorneys and staff through a variety of programs including:
- Skills and Practice Development
- Supervisor, Host, and Mentoring Programs
- Writing Skills Support and Development for Summer Associates and New Associates
- Opportunities for Leadership Roles in the Firm and the Community
- Diverse Attorneys Resource Group
- LGBTQ+ Resource Group
- Working Moms’ Resource Group
- Counsel for Women, an initiative led by women attorneys, focusing on women business owners and executives. The Counsel for Women sponsors a variety of women-focused programs in the business community and is a founding partner of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) Minnesota, a not-for-profit organization established to work with women to launch and strengthen businesses in Minnesota.