Schnader’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and public service are rooted in the Firm’s beginnings. In 1935, William A. Schnader, Bernard G. Segal, and Francis A. Lewis, attorneys of different religious backgrounds, shocked the legal community by deliberately embracing religious diversity and founding the firm of Schnader and Lewis. From the start, our attorneys fought against prejudice, including discrimination based on religion, politics, race, and gender.
Schnader has been active in the civil rights movement since the early 1960s. At the urging of President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Bernard Segal organized and co-chaired the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which sent lawyers to Mississippi to defend civil rights workers. Former partner, Jerome Shestack, worked with Segal in the formation of the Lawyers’ Committee, and served as its first executive director. Earl Harrison served on the board of trustees of Howard University and actively participated in civil rights cases, seeking to establish complete equality before the law. William H. Brown, III was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as the fourth chairman of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and served in that position from 1969 to 1973. Under Brown’s leadership, the EEOC tackled workplace issues related to adverse impact, job-testing validation, and national origin discrimination, and Brown won national recognition for his fairness and diligence. He joined the Firm in 1974 as its first African American partner.
The Firm was a pioneer in promoting gender diversity and inclusion. Schnader was one of the first major law firms in Philadelphia to hire a woman attorney, Josephine Klein, in 1954. In 1970, Brenda Kinney became the first woman to be elected partner at the Firm. Since that time, women have been appointed or elected to key leadership roles. In the 1990s, Marilyn Z. Kutler was elected as the first woman member of the Firm’s Executive Committee. Diana S. Donaldson served as Schnader’s managing partner from 2002 to 2009. Christine Carty served as managing partner of the New York office from 1995-1998 and 2003-2016, and also served as a member of the Executive Committee. Theresa E. Loscalzo serves as Schnader’s co-managing partner and is a member of the Executive Committee. Lisa Rodriguez serves as the managing partner of the New Jersey office, as the Firm’s ombudsperson, and as co-chair of the Firm’s DEI Committee. In addition, many of our practice groups are chaired by women.
Today, Schnader remains steadfast in its commitment to diversity. To read more, please click here for Judge Timothy Lewis’ 2015 Higginbotham lecture, and here for Judge Lewis’ 2017 speech, “It’s In Our Hands.” In both lectures, Judge Lewis (counsel to the Firm) implored the bar to do more, whether to address racial inequities, or to shift the national dialogue away from the language of division.