Diversity & Inclusion News

In Memoriam: Judge Nathaniel R. Jones

It is with great sadness that we share the news that our beloved colleague and friend Judge Nathaniel R. Jones passed away on Sunday, January 26, at age 93. Judge Jones joined Blank Rome in 2002 and served as our first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer.

He was integral in helping to foster and promote our rich culture of inclusion throughout the Firm, and selfless in sharing his time and unmatched perspective with so many of us who are better people for having known him. In collaboration with Chris Lewis and Sophia Lee—his successors in the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer role—we have developed a thriving and nationally recognized diversity and inclusion program that reflects his vision and passion. In 2013, we developed the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones Diversity and Inclusion Award, which is presented annually to a Blank Rome attorney or professional who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting diversity and inclusion. We are grateful to have the opportunity to honor and remember Judge Jones through this important award that will forever bear his name.

In Judge Jones’ obituary, our Cincinnati Office Chair Michael Cioffi notes, “Nate Jones was the kind of hero America needed that (Martin Luther) King described as ‘an extremist for justice’ in ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail.’ Nate’s unwavering commitment to justice, equality, and the rule of law made him a great lawyer and great man. His genuine humility and everyday kindness made him loved by all, including those on the other side of the political spectrum. His life is an important lesson and model to us all.” We couldn’t agree more. While we have lost one of the brightest legal minds and civil rights advocates of our time, his groundbreaking work, steadfast compassion, and inspirational life and legacy will surely live on through the countless lives he has touched—both at Blank Rome and around the world.

To learn more, please visit In Memoriam: Judge Nathaniel R. Jones.


Blank Rome Announces 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Update

Sophia Lee Continues as Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2020; Christopher Lewis Transitions to Emeritus Role

Blank Rome is pleased to announce that Sophia Lee will serve as Blank Rome’s Firm-wide Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer and Christopher A. Lewis has transitioned to an emeritus role, effective January 1, 2020. Sophia and Chris have served as co-chiefs since January 2019, when Sophia joined Chris in this capacity. Chris was appointed to the role in May 2011 and has transformed the Firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts in significant ways.

As Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Sophia will continue to work closely with the Firm’s leadership on strategic initiatives and programming, including recruiting and mentoring; client partnerships, education programs, and special events; general counsel and thought leader roundtables; career development and advancement programs; and ongoing community outreach. She will also continue to chair the Firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee and work closely with the Firm’s BR Pride, BR United, and Women’s Forum affinity groups.

“I am excited to step into the role of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, leading the Firm’s charge of increasing diversity, embracing inclusion, and advancing equity as we look to the future of the legal profession—from addressing the concerns of our legal communities to meeting the need of our clients,” said Sophia. “Standing on the shoulders of those who have come before me, the Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones, our Firm’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, followed by Chris Lewis, I will be a steadfast advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity who recognizes the legacy of our Firm’s founders, elevates our difficult discussions, and continues to push forward toward our ambitious goals and objectives. On a personal note, I am grateful to Chris for his mentorship, championship, and friendship as we have worked together over the years on the Firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and with the broader legal community.”

To learn more, please visit Blank Rome Announces 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Update.


Blank Rome Earns Perfect Score in 2020 Corporate Equality Index

Firm Receives 100 Percent for the Fifth Year in a Row on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Scorecard on LGBTQ Workplace Equality

Blank Rome is proud to announce that the Firm has received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2020 Corporate Equality Index (“CEI”), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign (“HRC”) Foundation. With this score, Blank Rome has been designated for the fifth year in a row as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the HRC, and joins the ranks of major U.S. businesses that earned top marks this year.

The 2020 CEI rated 1,059 businesses in the report and evaluates LGBTQ-related policies and practices, including non-discrimination workplace policies, domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, public commitment to the LGBTQ community, and responsible citizenship. Blank Rome’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria results in a 100 percent ranking and the designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.”

To learn more, please visit Blank Rome Earns Perfect Score in 2020 Corporate Equality Index.