Harter Secrest & Emery is committed to fostering an inclusive workplace, enhancing diversity, and providing a safe and healthy work environment in which all colleagues are treated equally—with respect and dignity.
Our greatest strength lies in our talented team, who are empowered to use their varied backgrounds and perspectives to provide high-quality, responsive and cost-effective service, to give back to our community, and to make HSE a great place to work. We know that this mission is best accomplished by bringing together people from varied backgrounds and perspectives who apply their unique expertise and experiences to the complex legal issues our clients face.
Our Diversity Committee helps the firm achieve and maintain a level of diversity that reflects the demographics of the communities we serve, while encouraging an inclusive environment of appreciation and respect. The Committee meets monthly to review opportunities, plan and coordinate diversity-related events, and act as advocates for our diverse colleagues.
Education and Awareness
Throughout the year, the firm hosts speakers and presentations that provide insight and awareness on a range of topics including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights, LGBTQ rights, racism, and other important issues.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Student Essay Contest
We sponsor the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Student Essay Contest in conjunction with the Rochester City School District. Students in the third, fourth and fifth grades submit essays that discuss what Dr. King’s message means to them. Each year, a specific essay theme is assigned that addresses Dr. King's important and continuing work. In 2019, the Firm sponsored the 9th annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. essay contest.
The topic of 2019's essay was, “If you could talk to Dr. King today, what would you suggest that we can do now to help make his message of understanding and appreciating our differences come true?” After reviewing an impressive total of 278 essay submissions, Harter Secrest & Emery’s Diversity Committee identified the top submissions, and members of the firm selected one winner at each grade level. Winning students were awarded a special personal prize and a $50 gift card, and teachers were given a $200 gift card to be used for school supplies. The winning classrooms also won a pizza party.
Workforce Diversity Network
HSE is a member of the Workforce Diversity Network, which is a network of professionals and organizations dedicated to being a catalyst to enhance professional development, understanding, promotion and management of diversity and inclusion as an essential part of business success. The WDN states as its primary focus, the creation of a learning community in the business world to address diversity and its benefits. As a member company, HSE partners with WDN by hosting meetings and participating as sponsors of signature events.
Diversity Scholarship 2020
Established in 2005, this scholarship includes a $7,500 award to be applied to the recipient’s law school tuition, together with a paid summer associate position at the firm. The scholarship is awarded annually to a first-year student selected based on his or her academic record, professional accomplishments and other factors that indicate promise for a successful career in the legal profession.
In 2017, HSE was awarded the Diversity Award by the Western New York Chapter of the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York during the association’s annual awards ceremony. We were the first recipient of the Award that recognizes individuals or organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to promoting full and equal participation in the legal profession through the encouragement and involvement of women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and/or persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities.
For questions or to learn more about our Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, please contact: