Ryan Swanson’s greatest asset is its people. They come from diverse cultural, social, ethnic, religious and racial backgrounds. It’s important to us that we reflect the diversity of the community around us. As such, the firm’s commitment to hiring diverse employees is supported by the firm’s culture of community and family. This is demonstrated by the many professional and charitable activities our attorneys engage in, as well as the number of alternative work schedules/career paths for lawyers raising children or caring for family members or partners.
The firm has also committed to working our clients to staff its matters with female and minority attorneys. This commitment is an opportunity to further the development of female and minority lawyers in conjunction with client diversity goals.
Approach to Inclusion and Diversity within the Firm
Maintaining diverse leadership within Ryan Swanson is an ongoing goal of the firm. Our efforts in recent years are reflected in the leadership we have today. Many of Ryan Swanson’s most visible practice groups and committees are chaired by female and minority lawyers:
- Immigration Practice Group (Marsha Mavunkel, Chair)
- Professional Recruiting Committee (Amy Royalty, Chair)
- Healthcare Practice Group (Kristin Nealey Meier, Chair)
- Estate Planning & Probate Practice Group (Kari Brotherton, Chair)
- Employment Rights, Benefits & Labor Practice Group (Britenae Pierce, Chair)
- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (nine of 14 members are female/minority)
Currently, 62% of the firm’s employees are women and 44% of Ryan Swanson’s attorneys are women. Since 2009 our Ryan Swanson Women Attorneys group has helped facilitate networking and professional development in the community. The group meets regularly to plan social events to reconnect with existing clients, meet new business leaders, and support local organizations.
Similarly, Ryan Swanson supports the development of minority attorneys in the firm and has identified this as an opportunity for improvement. Currently, 25% of the firm’s employees are minorities. The firm is particularly proud of the diversity in its Immigration Practice Group, which includes attorneys and paralegals with varying backgrounds and language abilities. Eight different languages are spoken among immigration group team members, and 15 different languages are spoken among firm employees.
Commitment to Underserved and Diverse Populations in Our Community
Giving back to our community where we live and work is an integral part of Ryan Swanson’s culture. The support of civic activities and the encouragement of the firm’s employees to participate in them is not only a stated tenet of the Firm Credo, adopted by the firm’s Executive Committee in 1997, it is a part of who we are. Ryan Swanson is as dedicated to making our community a better place as we are to providing quality legal services. This is only possible through the participation and support of firm management, attorneys and staff alike.
Ryan Swanson attorneys are active participants and members of a number of organizations promoting diversity. These include specialty bar associations and similar organizations, networking events, and charitable functions and fundraisers. Of note, firm attorneys have Board positions or are actively involved with a number of such organizations, including:
Summer Associate Recruiting
- Minority Job Fair – on campus interviews
- Seattle University
- University of Washington
Minority Bar Association Involvement
- Asian Bar Association
- Korean American Bar Association
- Loren Miller Bar Association
- Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington
- South Asian Bar Association
- Vietnamese American Bar Association
Other Women/Minority Association Participation
- Washington Women Lawyers
- Mother Attorney Mentoring Association (MAMA Seattle)
- Women Business Owners
Women/Minority Charitable Involvement/Contributions
- Access to Justice
- Ayni Education International
- British American Business Council
- Campaign for Equal Justice
- Canada America Society
- Japan-American Society of the State of Washington
- Future of the Law Institute
- King County Bar Foundation Minority Scholarship
- King County Washington Women Lawyers
- Northwest Immigrant’s Rights Project
- PSBJ Women of Influence
- University of Washington Public Interest Law Association
- Vietnamese Student Association
- Women Business Owners
The firm also financially supports our individual attorneys’ marketing efforts targeted to diverse cultural communities, as both outreach and support of our attorneys.
Recruiting Efforts to Support Inclusion and Diversity within the Firm
The hiring, development, retention and promotion of diverse talent for long-term employment in the firm is a focal point of the firm’s Professional Recruiting Committee. The Committee strives to hire a diverse class of summer associates each year and considers diversity when examining candidates for all positions. This included participating in the Minority Bar on-campus interview job fair. In fact, over the past three years 83% of the firm’s associate hires have been women. Reflecting the diversity of the communities in which we work and live is an important goal and one in which the firm takes seriously.
For the past two summers, Ryan Swanson has participated in the Legal Employers Advancing Diversity in Washington’s (“LEAD-WA”) 1L Diversity Fellowship Program. LEAD-WA is a Washington non-profit dedicated to increasing the number of diverse lawyers practicing in Washington. LEAD-WA was established by the Puget Sound Area Minority Fellowship Program (“PSAMFP”) Board, to continue providing opportunities for traditionally underrepresented diverse law students in law firms and corporate law environments. The firm’s first LEAD-WA fellow began work as a fulltime attorney in October of 2020.