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Diversity & Inclusion

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As a Firm that serves the world’s greatest visionaries, we know that creativity and innovation almost inevitably are the result of seeing the world from multiple different perspectives. Having a diverse team enhances the quality of legal services we provide to our clients, sustains our standing as a premier IP law firm, and strengthens the fabric of our firm. Our mission is to promote a creative, respectful, and inclusive culture that values the diversity of people, experiences, perspectives, talents, and capabilities, thereby allowing Fish & Richardson to thrive.

1L Diversity Fellowship Program

Launched in 2005, Fish & Richardson’s 1L Diversity Fellowship Program provides annual fellowships to diverse first-year law students throughout the country. The Program represents a key component of the firm’s ongoing initiative to recruit, retain, and advance attorneys who will contribute to the diversity of our practice and of the legal profession.

The 1L Diversity Fellowship Program is comprised of four components:  Each selected Fellow receives a paid summer associate position in one of Fish & Richardson’s domestic offices during the summer of 2020; mentoring throughout the academic year by members of the firm; participation in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Scholars Program; and a scholarship reward of up to $30,000.  Fish will award $5,000 to all 1L Diversity Fellowship recipients upon completion of their 1L summer clerkship with the firm; $10,000 to those returning as a 2L summer associate at Fish for the full 10 weeks of the summer program; and $15,000 to those who join the firm as an associate after law school graduation.

Applications for the 2020 Fellowship will be accepted from November 18, 2019 through January 3, 2020.  Candidates must submit a completed application form and directed personal statement, in addition to their resume, undergraduate and graduate transcripts (official or unofficial), legal writing sample, and a contact list of three references (one of whom must be a professional at an educational institution attended). Candidates must be in good standing as a first-year law student at an ABA accredited law school; demonstrate a record of academic and professional achievement; contribute meaningfully to diversity and inclusion through their involvements in law school or other community efforts and initiatives; may include being a member of a racial/ethnic group that has been historically underrepresented in the legal profession, or identifying as a person with disabilities, openly LGBTQ, and/or a military veteran; and have a technical background and sincere interest in intellectual property law at Fish & Richardson.

For more information about the Fellowship or to print out an application and a checklist of required support materials, please click here.  Answers to frequently asked questions regarding the 1L Diversity Fellowship Program can be found here.

To contact a member of the Diversity Committee, please email [email protected].

Equal Employment Opportunity

Fish & Richardson is devoted to encouraging diversity among the firm and across the legal profession. We promote meritocracy, and we base employment decisions on personal capabilities and qualifications without discriminating because of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, ancestry, age, disability, pregnancy, genetic information, marital status, military or veteran status, or any other protected status in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws. We prohibit and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment based on any applicable legally-protected status.

This standard applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including, but not limited to, hiring, placement, promotion, reduction-in-force, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, assignments, training, and separation.

Diversity & Inclusion Awards

Fish & Richardson is involved in a broad range of diversity efforts nationwide to further the diversity of our firm and the legal community, and we are gratified about the recent recognition we have received as one of the country’s top firms for diversity.

  • Fish was named to the list of “Best Law Firms for Women” in 2018 and 2019 by Working Mother. As one of only 60 law firms in the U.S. to earn a spot on this prestigious list, Fish shares a long-term commitment to retaining and promoting women lawyers.
  • In 2018 Yale Law Women recognized Fish as a “Top Ten Firm for Gender Equity” and for the second year in a row as one of the “Top Ten Family Friendly Firms.” Fish also received a special Category Honor in recognition of “Highest Percentage of Attorneys Who Have Worked Part-Time Schedules in the Last 5 Years Promoted to Equity Partner in 2018.
  • Fish received a “Best Place to Work” designation from the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index in 2019 and 2020. The CEI assesses U.S. companies on corporate policies and practices related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) workplace equality.
  • In 2018, Fish ranked fourth out of 115 firms in the 300-599 lawyer category for “Best Law Firms for Minority Attorneys” by Law360 based on a survey of more than 300 U.S. firms who meet representation of minority attorneys across roles.
  • Fish received the “Gold Standard Certification” by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) in 2018, which grants Gold Standard status to a select group of law firms that meet stringent objective criteria demonstrating commitment to retaining and advancing women attorneys.
  • In 2018 Fish was one of 26 elite trailblazing U.S. firms to have earned the highest designation of Mansfield 1.0 “Certified Plus” from Diversity Lab, and earned 2.0 in 2019. The Mansfield Rule Certification measures whether law firms have affirmatively considered at least 30% women and attorneys of color in leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions and senior leadership positions.
  • Fish ranked in the “Top 10 Percent” of law firms for diversity on the 2019 American Lawyer Diversity Scorecard.
  • Fish was ranked #1 in “Best Law Firms for Intellectual Property” in 2019 from Vault, which bases rankings on assessments from lawyers at peer firms.
  • Named a “Top Performer” in 2016 and 2017 for being one of the most active and supportive members of Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) and its mission, Fish subsequently received the 2018 and 2019 “Compass Award” from LCLD in recognition of its commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Fish received the 2018 “Leadership Award” from Minnesota Women Lawyers, which is presented each year to only one law firm that excels at enhancing the status, influence and effectiveness of women lawyers.
  • Dr. Teresa Lavoie was awarded the “2019 Diversity Leader Award” from Profiles in Diversity Journal for her strong commitment to expanding and improving diversity, inclusion, and equity at Fish and beyond. She is both the Chair of the EMPOWER women’s initiative at Fish and Co-Chair of the Equity Committee for Minnesota Women Lawyers.

Read more about Fish & Richardson’s Diversity Initiative.

Affinity Groups

Black Legal Staff Affinity Group (BLS)

​​​​The BLS (“Black Legal Staff”) Affinity Group, formally organized in 2006, was created to increase the retention, advancement, and professional development of African American/Black lawyers, technology specialists, and patent agents within the firm. The BLS Affinity Group provides feedback and input to the Diversity Committee as well as the Marketing and Recruiting departments regarding innovative ways to improve the firm’s diversity efforts related to recruiting, retaining, advancing, and developing diverse legal staff. The BLS Affinity Group is open to all Fish attorneys, technology specialists and patent agents.


Hispanic-Latino Affinity Group (HLS)

Fish’s Hispanic/Latino Affinity Group provides opportunities for all members of the Firm, regardless of ethnic background or racial affiliation, to network and discuss topics of interest to Hispanic and Latino attorneys and technical specialists. The Hispanic/Latino Affinity Group embodies the talents and strengths of Hispanic and Latino attorneys and technical specialists across the Firm and focuses on education, mentoring, networking, recruitment, retention, pro bono initiatives, and business development. The Hispanic/Latino Affinity Group is a result of the Firm’s recognition and commitment to diversity in every aspect of Firm life and is dedicated to the advancement of Hispanics and Latino attorneys and technology specialists at the Firm.


Asian Legal Staff Affinity Group (ALS)

Fish recognizes the importance of fostering an inclusive work environment which recognizes and values the diverse perspectives and contributions of each member of the Firm. The establishment of the Asian Legal Staff Affinity Group (ALS) will assist in furthering the firm’s commitment to provide equal opportunities which support the recruitment, retention, professional development, and advancement of its legal staff. The Asian Legal Staff Affinity Group was created to provide a sense of community within the Firm and a forum to network and discuss topics of common interest to Asian attorneys and technology specialists. Membership in the Asian Legal Staff Affinity Group is open to all attorneys and technology specialists of the Firm, regardless of whether they self-identify as Asian.




Fish is proud of the growing work members of our minority groups put into Affinity Group Campaigns. In 2019, Fish has celebrated Black History Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by highlighting influential inventors in IP.

EMPOWER Women’s Initiative

Fish & Richardson’s Women’s Initiative was formalized under the name EMPOWER in 2009 to promote the recruitment, retention and advancement of the women in law and provide expanded professional and business development opportunities, mentoring, training, and support.

Through EMPOWER, we provide educational and substantive programming on various topics, facilitate one-to-one mentoring relationships, and have developed women’s forums and mentoring circles in our local offices. We regularly host innovative programs with specific emphasis on building the leadership and business development skills of our women. One of our signature programs, “Meet the Principal” is a series of firmwide videoconferences in which our women principals are interviewed throughout the year. Fish annually hosts Leadership Through Enrichment, Action, and Diversity (L.E.A.D.) Retreats for our women attorneys and their clients. These retreats, which rotate throughout the firm’s offices, feature CLE panels, career development and networking opportunities.


We support several local, regional, and national organizations devoted to increasing diversity in the legal community, and we support our professionals in their outreach activities. We are proud to participate in and support organizations and activities such as:

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