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. That’s why we are proud to be ranked 13th for diversity among Portland law firms by the Portland Business Journal.
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, now an Oregon Supreme Court Justice, served as the firm’s managing shareholder for five years.
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 serve on the boards and committees of many minority bar associations and diversity organizations, including:
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 law students who have a strong commitment 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. About one-third of the firm actively serves on the Committee. Some of its recent work includes: