HCMP's commitment to a team effort on behalf of our clients goes hand-in-hand with our belief in the value of diversity. A successful team requires people with many different skills and insights. When we unite our unique talents and work together on behalf of our clients, we achieve great things.
Who do we want on our team? Not only people of different races, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, sexual orientations, and cultures, but also people of diverse ideas, abilities, styles, backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs.
We are not yet as diverse as we want to be. We're working on it, and we're making progress. Our Diversity Fellowship for first-year law students has been a success; we've reevaluated the law schools we recruit from to increase our prospects for hiring minority candidates; we made diversity the focus of our annual attorneys' weekend retreat; we maintain an active Diversity & Inclusion Committee that continues to foster diversity among our attorneys and staff; we've implemented mandatory trainings addressing implicit bias and systemic racism for all members of the Firm; we've established a new policy to prioritize working with women- and minority-owned businesses and vendors whenever possible going forward; we've created a new program to match the charitable donations made by our employees; and we're striving to ensure that, through training and mentorship, every person we hire succeeds and stays.
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Diversity Fellow Testimonials
Elizabeth R. Runtz
2019 Diversity Fellow
Before I started as a 1L Diversity Fellow at HCMP, I was extremely skeptical about the firm’s commitment to addressing what most know as a “diversity problem” in the legal field. I worried that the firm’s 1L Diversity Fellowship would merely serve as a “check-the-box” program for the firm to showcase its “commitment” to diversity. I prematurely concluded that my time here would be brief, my connections superficial, and that at best, I would end the summer with some spending money to last me throughout my upcoming 2L year.
Almost immediately, I found the opposite to be true. Everyone at the firm knows that certain groups are underrepresented in the legal field, and no one shies away from this harsh reality – nor do they shy away from actively committing to addressing these longstanding disparities.
From day one, my colleagues have done an exceptional job making me feel like a valuable member of the team. I’ve never felt out of place, and I’ve never felt like I didn’t belong either at the firm or in the legal field more broadly. For someone who looks like me and shares my experience of frantically trying to navigate their way through a field that has traditionally excluded people in my shoes, that’s extremely important. Although my culture, background, and even my outlook on certain things might differ from those of my colleagues, I’ve never felt like I’ve had to change who I am to fit in with those around the firm. At HCMP, I can always be me: Elizabeth Runtz.
I also cannot say enough about the guidance and the mentorship I’ve received thus far – whether that be collaborating with other attorneys in my practice group on a project or learning about other areas of law from those in different groups. On numerous occasions I’ve had lunch with Katie Chapman and learned about life in Lender Services, talked basketball and Public Finance with Brandon Pond, and discussed both affordable housing projects and blockchain technology with another former 1L Diversity Fellow, Kurt Kruckeberg.
The language throughout the firm is affirmative, not conditional --- It’s “when you get to this point in your career”, not “if”. It’s evident to me that I am not just here to check a box; I am here because people see me as a valuable member of the team and want me to succeed.
I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to take part in the firm’s 1L Diversity program, which later provided a path for me to come back as a 2L summer associate and has now led to my long-term employment, and I very much look forward to mentoring others who join us as 1L Diversity Fellows.
Alexander M. Wu
2006 Diversity Fellow
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’m a partner at HCMP because of its 1L Diversity Fellowship program. Before that summer, I’d never worked in a law firm. Although the first year of law school had armed me with a rudimentary knowledge of a few areas of law, I didn’t know much of anything about most everything else. I also didn’t know anything about the fundamental concepts of client service and counseling. The program gave me the opportunity to work in areas of law I didn’t know existed, and provided firsthand experience solving real client problems. I learned more that summer than I did during the entire first year of law school. When the summer was over, I then used the firm’s diversity scholarship to pay for school and additional training in brief writing and courtroom skills.
The knowledge and experience I received from that first summer in HCMP’s diversity program helped me succeed in my second summer at the firm. I knew exactly what was expected of me, and it was incredibly empowering to know what I needed to do to succeed. It gave me confidence I otherwise wouldn’t have had. Throughout both summers, HCMP attorneys tutored me about the law, helped me improve my analysis and communication skills, and showed me what it would be like to work as an associate at the firm. Those attorneys became my professional mentors. Ultimately, my second summer culminated in an offer to join HCMP after graduation, which I happily accepted and have never regretted.
The knowledge and skills I learned from the diversity program served me well as an associate. I built on the professional relationships formed during the program and learned how to be an attorney. In hindsight, it felt like I was on the partnership track from the beginning. I feel deeply grateful to the firm for the investment it made in me, starting with my first days in its diversity program as a mostly clueless 1L, and leading to my position as a (significantly less clueless) partner today.
Kurt E. Kruckeberg
2009 Diversity Fellow
I’m an out gay attorney at one of Seattle’s premier law firms. Not too long ago, that would have been an uncommon statement—and certainly not one you’d make on the firm’s website. But out LGBTQ attorneys have become increasingly visible in private practice in the past 20 years. Between 2004 and 2016, the percentage of out LGBTQ attorneys in private practice more than doubled. When HCMP hired me as a diversity fellow in 2009, I was part of that trend.
But at HCMP, I am more than a number. As a summer associate, I partnered with the ACLU on an important case affecting the LGBTQ community. We were asking a school district to protect a student from bullying based on his race and perceived sexual orientation. After graduating from law school and becoming an associate at HCMP, I helped our litigation team represent a same-sex couple in Arlene’s Flowers v. Ingersoll. The plaintiffs in that case were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation. HCMP has worked on that case for nearly my entire career—filing the case in superior court, arguing the case successfully twice at the Washington State Supreme Court, and responding to petitions before the United States Supreme Court. When I became a partner with HCMP, the firm hosted a dinner to celebrate. At that dinner, I thanked the firm for its commitment to the Arlene’s Flowers case. I continue to be grateful for the countless hours of pro bono time and firm resources HCMP has dedicated to protecting families like mine.
HCMP has been “walking the walk” on LGBTQ representation since 1983, when the firm hired a young, gay attorney—and my mentor—Steve Rovig. I owe so much of my success to Steve, and would not have become a partner or a member of the firm’s management committee without his guidance. This experience shows that it takes more than merely hiring diverse voices to create a diverse and inclusive generation of lawyers to stay in private practice. It takes continued support and mentorship—the kind that HCMP provides.
We’ve still got work to do, both inside the firm and out. I’m excited that HCMP has given me the opportunity to continue that work and be a voice for change.