Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
In February 2023 McDonald Carano earned the first “Partner in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” medallion from the State Bar of Nevada in recognition of our DEI initiatives. The medallion is awarded to firms that complete at least five DEI initiatives in the categories of recruitment, retention, pipeline and community programs, and coaching and training. McDonald Carano completed more than 10 initiatives and additional DEI programs are underway. “Diversity in Practice” is the cover story of the June 2023 issue of Nevada Lawyer magazine published by the State Bar of Nevada. The feature article describes the launch of the State Bar’s DEI medallion program, recognizes McDonald Carano as the first medallion recipient, and explains that the program was created to recognize firms that have already incorporated DEI initiatives into their law practices and to share their success stories to inspire others.
DEI Committee Mission
McDonald Carano’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee is charged with the responsibility of researching, developing, recommending, reviewing, advancing, implementing, and monitoring Diversity, Equity & Inclusion initiatives, programs, and activities across the Firm. The DEI Committee also leads the Firm’s support of and involvement in DEI oriented organizations and events outside of the Firm. The Committee is committed to help McDonald Carano continue to make a difference both inside and outside the Firm, including legal, business, government, and local communities.
DEI Committee Membership
The composition of the DEI Committee reflects McDonald Carano’s commitment to incorporate DEI into every aspect of the Firm. Committee members include partners of the Firm as well as representatives from the Firm’s Executive Committee, Practice Group leadership, office management, administrative departments, and all levels of attorneys and professional staff. The DEI Committee reports to the Executive Committee, the Firm’s primary management authority. The DEI Committee works to ensure each member and employee of the Firm is represented, included, involved and most importantly, has a voice.
DEI Committee Goals
The DEI Committee focuses on integrating DEI into how we work every day and how we conduct our business. At McDonald Carano, we are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive working environment that values employees of all backgrounds and experiences, which encompasses a variety of characteristics and perspectives. Collaboration among those with different pasts and perspectives produces deeper insights and creative results that enhance our service to our clients and communities where we live and work. We believe in doing well by doing good, and that requires listening, learning, investing in, and making meaningful change. Creating an environment where everyone feels that they are valued, welcome, and belong is a core value of our legacy.
DEI Committee News
In addition to the information provided below, news announcements from our DEI Committee are available here.
Cultural Celebrations Subcommittee Featured in State Bar of Nevada eNews
The State Bar of Nevada’s Board of Governors meeting in January 2023 included a presentation to update the Nevada Supreme Court on the State Bar’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives. McDonald Carano co-hosted the meeting and shared our DEI programs. One of the initiatives we discussed was our Cultural Celebrations Subcommittee which was also featured in the State Bar’s e-newsletter in December 2022.
The State Bar of Nevada has asked law firms to share their DEI initiatives to facilitate ideas and conversation. In an article titled “McDonald Carano Values Diversity in All Functions,” our Cultural Celebrations subcommittee was featured in the Dec. 15, 2022, issue of the State Bar’s eNews, as provided below.
McDonald Carano has an active DEI Committee, the membership of which spans every level of the firm. McDonald Carano’s DEI Committee includes several working groups, each with a targeted goal. For example, the Cultural Celebrations subcommittee recognizes the contributions and histories of our diverse communities, unifies the firm around heritage days/months, and publishes identity acknowledgments throughout the year. The Cultural Celebrations subcommittee provides an opportunity for firm members to learn more about colleagues’ lived experiences, traditions, religion, history, and culture. Some recent examples include the firm’s recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Juneteenth, and Chinese New Year.
McDonald Carano believes in fostering an authentic culture of DEI both outwardly and inwardly – one in which all feel seen, heard, and valued.
DEI Committee Activities
Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee looks forward to sharing information about our efforts on this page. We are proud to provide membership support, event sponsorships, and program assistance to organizations advancing diversity in the legal profession, business community, and government. For example:
- Professional Development Fellowship Program of the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas – McDonald Carano participates in programs that can help improve the diversity pipeline in the legal profession. For example, we participate in the Professional Development Fellowship Program of the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The program was established to pair 2L/3LPT students with local legal employers. Students work approximately 15 hours per week during the spring semester and are compensated by the employer. 2024 is the fourth year we participated in the program and through it we have provided five law school students with paid internship positions at McDonald Carano.
- Global Gaming Women – McDonald Carano is a financial sponsor, participant, and attendee of the Kick Up Your Heels fundraiser hosted by Global Gaming Women. The event raises money to support the Global Gaming Women organization as well as its Charitable Education Fund, which provides women throughout the gaming industry with educational scholarships.
- Association of Women Attorneys – McDonald Carano is an annual Friends sponsor of the Southern Nevada Association of Women Attorneys and we provide additional sponsorships for SNAWA events throughout the year, including the annual Miriam Shearing Gala to honor the accomplishments of trailblazing women in our legal community and to raise funds for scholarships to attend the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. We also sponsor events hosted by the Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association, including the Outstanding Woman Lawyer Gala which supports the NNWLA Scholarship Fund created to help students take the LSAT course and attend law school.
- Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association – McDonald Carano is a sponsor of the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Annual Scholarship Gala to help fund scholarships to diverse law students at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Karyna Armstrong serves as a member of LVNBA’s Executive Board.
- National Association of Muslim Lawyers – McDonald Carano sponsored the National Association of Muslim Lawyers 2022 Annual Conference in Las Vegas. In addition to an extensive range of sessions led by distinguished speakers, the conference also celebrated 25 years since NAML’s creation as well as several successful 2022 initiatives including the debut of NAML’s mentorship program.
- Nevada Black Legislative Caucus – McDonald Carano is a financial sponsor, participant and attendee of the Nevada Black Legislative Caucus’ Black History Awards event which supports NBLC’s mission to increase the preparation, participation, and representation of African Americans in state government. Members of the NBLC include African Americans who are elected in the Assembly and Senate of the Nevada State Assembly. Our support of the NBLC provides an example of how everyone at McDonald Carano works together to facilitate our DEI efforts. For example, McDonald Carano attorneys, staff, and members of our Government Affairs & Advocacy Group attended the NBLC 2022 Black History Awards event. McDonald Carano creates opportunities to include professional staff to personally experience and participate in the Firm’s efforts to promote diversity within the legal, business, government, and local communities.
- Public Interest Law Association – McDonald Carano serves as a Full Grant donor in our financial support of the student-led Public Interest Law Association at UNLV Boyd School of Law. Through direct grant donations and an annual charity auction, PILA raises funds to provide financial grants that make it possible for law students to pursue otherwise unpaid public interest career opportunities during the summer. In 2023, McDonald Carano also sponsored a luncheon panel discussion hosted by PILA on the topic of “Pro Bono in the Private Sector.” John Fortin participated on the panel.
- Women Leaders – We invite you to click here and help us honor the outstanding women who lead and inspire our firm. Please also click here to celebrate the 11 women lawyers from nine Practice Groups in our Reno and Las Vegas offices who are recognized in the 2024 edition of Best Lawyers in America, including two “Ones to Watch” awards. We congratulate (1) Kelci Binau and Lindsay Knox on being recognized in the “Up & Coming Business Person” category in the Best In Business 2023 Awards hosted by Northern Nevada Business Weekly and (2) Karyna Armstrong on receiving a 2023 “Diverse Lawyers Marking a Difference Award” from Profiles in Diversity Journal. In honor of International Women’s Day, we support women-owned businesses in Reno and Las Vegas. In 2023 we enjoyed celebratory lunches provided by the Cheese Board in Reno and Letty’s De Leticia’s Cocina in Las Vegas. Both restaurants are owned by women. In honor of Women’s History Month 2023, the Black Law Students Association and the Organization of Women Law Students of the William S. Boyd School of Law, University of Nevada-Las Vegas hosted a panel discussion titled “Conversations with Black Women in the Law.” The speakers included McDonald Carano litigation attorney Karyna Armstrong. McDonald Carano sponsors the annual Salute to Women of Achievement event hosted by the Nevada Women’s Fun, and our recent honorees include Chelsea Latino (2022) and Kelci Binau (2023).
- Giving Back through Community Service – The Community Engagement Team of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee helps connect our DEI efforts to local communities. For example, our Las Vegas office holds an annual school supplies drive and an annual holiday toy drive for students of Howard Wasden Elementary School. The school supplies drive provides everything from glue sticks, binders and goggles to lunch pails, foam balls, and markers. The holiday toy drive provides coats, clothing, doll houses, action figures, bikes, scooters, and books – all wrapped and delivered by McDonald Carano attorneys and employees. McDonald Carano’s Las Vegas office also supports the Las Vegas Rescue Mission by teaming up to help prepare, serve, and clean up after an evening community meal. In addition to providing 30,000 meals each month, LVRM serves those in need through shelter, daily needs, and addiction recovery. McDonald Carano’s Reno office also participates in the annual Adopt-A-Family program provided by the Boys & Girls Club of Truckee Meadows. Through the program, full-time Club staff refer families who create wish lists for each child in their household (including clothing and toys). The Club anonymously matches each family with a donor and provides the donor with the family’s wish lists. The program assists more than 200 youth for the holidays. Our Reno office also organized a gift and wrapping project to bring some holiday cheer, togetherness, and gifts to residents of an independent senior living community in Reno.
- Pro Bono Services – McDonald Carano also integrates our DEI efforts with the pro bono legal services and financial support we provide to numerous organizations that address the needs of those who are often underserved diverse individuals and communities, including Northern Nevada Legal Aid and the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
Committee Vice Chair
Committee Vice Chair