Our firm cultivates a diverse and inclusive work environment that empowers our attorneys and staff to be successful both personally and professionally.
While intended to create opportunity for others, our firm has realized that investing in a diverse and inclusive practice has resulted in an additional reward for the firm – the collective benefit and sincere enjoyment of watching our teams put their unique perspectives to work in meaningful ways each and every day. This diversity of experience and commitment to inclusiveness within our firm has made us stronger.
Baker Sterchi’s diversity and inclusion efforts have grown to include not only internal development opportunities but also extend beyond the walls of our firm into the legal community and the community at large.
Baker Sterchi Diversity & Inclusion
Baker Sterchi’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee is made up of a diverse group of people with differing perspectives, and includes a member of every employee group in the firm, from owners and managers to attorneys and staff.
We have and continue to build upon a diversity and inclusion program that aims to have a positive impact long before an attorney or staff member joins our firm. Colleagues who join Baker Sterchi are exposed to our commitment to diversity and inclusion from their initial introduction to the firm as early as law school through their employment at our firm.
Our firm actively supports and participates in events that encourage diversity within the legal profession. We participate in events like legal job fairs and the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAAP), and network with and offer mentorship to area law school students to help us connect with diverse attorneys early in their career development.
“Having represented Baker Sterchi at legal diversity job fairs, I have had the pleasure of interviewing a number of impressive diverse aspiring attorneys. Our sponsorship of and participation in legal diversity job fairs not only benefits the firm, but also our clients. Having a diverse team of attorneys better enables us to understand the unique experiences and perspectives of our clients, as well as the juries and judges that ultimately decide their cases."
- Megan Stumph-Turner, Member and Women’s Affinity Group Liaison to the firm’s Diversity Committee
We are perhaps most proud of our efforts to encourage our diverse attorneys and staff to build their careers with our firm. We do this by seeking out ways to engage our lawyers and staff to ensure they experience reward in their work and feel included in the life of the firm. We are also dedicated to helping our team members grow through training and mentorship designed to help lawyers build their practices, creating opportunity for staff members to lead, and paving the way for attorneys to join our partnership.
Our firm has embraced the American Bar Association’s Resolution 113, which sets the bar for diversity in the legal profession, in an effort to hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to being intentionally inclusive as a law firm.
As an extension of this commitment, employees of our firm participate in implicit bias training, which has helped further our understanding of the ways in which unconscious biases affect our relationships and work with colleagues.
Our diversity and inclusion efforts have also strengthened our team and led to the development of additional diversity and inclusion-related programming, including a monthly brown bag lunch series that encourages conversations about how we can leverage our diverse backgrounds to our advantage.
“To me, diversity and inclusion is about feeling at home wherever you go. In the legal profession, it’s about creating an environment in which diverse legal professionals feel free to pursue and flourish in a legal career and diverse clients feel they have equal access to legal services. This means doing what it takes individually and as an organization to support real change at the level of culture so that the vision of unity in diversity can be realized in the way we practice law and consume legal services."
- Martha Charepoo, Member and Diversity & Inclusion Committee Chair
A Commitment that Extends Beyond the Walls of Our Firm
Any success of our firm’s diversity efforts has come as a result of our staff’s active interest in making certain the firm is reflective of the values most important to us. Whether in regard to an attorney serving on a bar association committee or a staff member dedicating time to support a nonprofit organization, Baker Sterchi is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion that extends beyond the walls of our firm.
Our firm has a long history of involvement with community organizations ranging from its active participation in the Heartland Community Job Fair to its presence on the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity. The LCLD is composed of more than 300 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners who are dedicated to creating a truly diverse U.S. legal profession. Our firm has been a member of the LCLD since its inception with several members accepted into its fellows program.
Our firm also supports a variety of diversity events organized by other local bar associations, including the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, The Lawyers Association of St. Louis, the Association of Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, The Jackson County Bar Association, the Missouri Asian American Bar Association, and the Mound City Bar Association. Many of our attorneys have leadership roles or are otherwise actively engaged in these associations.
Our firm has extended its diversity-related programming in a manner that is not limited to impacting our own attorneys and staff but also aims to impact the broader community as a whole.
An example of this can be found in our involvement with important community partners like Garfield Elementary School and East St. Louis School District 189, schools with diverse student bodies, where our firm regularly donates school supplies, books, snacks, coats and winter weather accessories and more. Our commitment to these partners extends to reading programs where our attorneys and staff volunteer weekly to encourage youth in the community to reach their full potential.
“Baker Sterchi is committed to serving the community through various community service projects. Our partnership with local schools is a natural fit as we have the resources to help these diverse students have a better school experience. We commend our employees who have helped us in this meaningful endeavor by volunteering their own time and resources to make a difference in the lives of these students.”
- Scott Kreamer, Managing Member
Similar examples like this are present throughout our firm with attorney and staff engagement in organizations throughout the community – civic, professional and nonprofit – that focus on encouraging diversity in our lives.
Martha Charepoo is the Chair of our firm's Diversity & Inclusion Committee. She is an LCLD Fellow and a recipient of the 2019 Missouri Lawyers Media Diversity & Inclusion award for her efforts to advance diversity, inclusion and the dignity of all people in Missouri’s legal profession.
Members of the committee include attorneys John Cowden, David Eisenberg, Kehl Friesen, Jim Jarrow, Meg Sterchi Lammert, Lisa Larkin, Terry O’Toole, and Brandy Simpson, as well as management and staff Karen Griggs (Executive Director), Beverly Redd-Bates (Legal Administrative Assistant), Lori Rickman (Director of Marketing), and Charniece Rollie (Executive Assistant).