Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Markowitz Herbold

A diverse workforce makes our firm balanced, innovative, and better at solving problems for our clients. We treat everyone with dignity and respect no matter their gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation. 

The Firm was founded on principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. DEI has been part of our firm’s DNA since its founding in 1983. Markowitz Herbold was co-founded by a young lawyer named Barrie Herbold. She worked at a large Portland firm and was frustrated by the lack of opportunities for women trial lawyers. At the time, women were primarily relegated to research and writing, rarely saw the inside of a courtroom, and were denied opportunities for advancement.

Barrie went on to become one of the most respected trial attorneys in the state and one of the first women in Oregon to be inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers. She also served as the firm’s first managing shareholder. Barrie and the firm helped pave the way for women to succeed in commercial litigation in Oregon. In 2021, the Portland Business Journal wrote an article highlighting our DEI legacy. 

We have never forgotten this vision of inclusivity. Lynn Nakamoto joined the firm in 1989 and later served as its managing shareholder for five years until she was appointed by the Governor to the Oregon Court of Appeals in January 2011. She was an Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals judge from 2011 through 2021. 

Not only was she a wonderful person and a great lawyer, but she also broke barriers in the Oregon legal community. She was a great advocate for her clients in employment law matters, both at the trial and appellate levels. She was perhaps most widely known and notable for her pro bono work for the ACLU, particularly on the groundbreaking Tanner v. OHSU case, which helped secure equal benefits for same-sex domestic partners and their families in Oregon. In 2004, Lynn served as co-counsel for the ACLU when it challenged Oregon’s statutes prohibiting same-sex marriages in Li v. State of Oregon. She was also a driving force within the firm. 

Due in part to her positive influence, the firm received the first-ever Oregon Women Lawyers (OWLS) Workplace Leader Award in recognition of our innovative measures to provide a work environment where women and minorities can succeed. Since 1983, the firm has been led by six managing shareholders – four have been women and two of them identify as LGBTQIA+.

We are also a founding sponsor of the Portland Business Alliance's "A Place With No Ceiling" event, which honors both a distinguished woman executive and a company that has excelled in elevating women to break the glass ceiling.

We serve on the boards and committees of many minority bar associations and diversity organizations, including:

  • Opportunities in Law in Oregon
  • Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • Oregon Gay and Lesbian Law Alliance
  • Oregon Hispanic Bar Association
  • Oregon Justice Resource Center
  • Oregon Minority Lawyers Association
  • Partners in Diversity

We participate in the Multnomah Bar Association’s Fellows Program, a highly selective internship program designed to address the key goal of diversifying the Oregon bar by recruiting and supporting diverse students who want to practice law in Oregon.

We are amplifying our DEI efforts. In 2019, the firm formed a DEI Committee to provide structure, objectives, and accountability for our diversity endeavors. Some of its work includes:

  • Engaging a consultant to survey and interview employees to assess the firm’s culture through a DEI lens;
  • Creating the P.E.A.C.E. (Participation, Equality, Acceptance, Coexistence, Education) program to encourage employees to donate to racial equity organizations by providing matching funds;
  • Organizing an employee lending library of books, videos, and other resources focused on anti-racism and social justice;
  • Creating a firmwide speaker series on DEI topics including implicit bias, allyship, and multigenerational diversity that has been embraced with high levels of participation throughout the firm;
  • Creating a Holiday Gift and Giving Guide for employees with suggested BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ business and nonprofits to support;
  • Proactive outreach to minority and diverse applicants for all career opportunities; and
  • Creating restroom signage that is gender-neutral so everyone feels welcome.

1455 SW Broadway, Suite 1900
Portland, OR 97201 - 503-295-3085

© 2024 Markowitz Herbold PC - All Rights Reserved | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | SightWorks DigitalXE