Robins Kaplan LLP
For Robins Kaplan partner Holly Dolejsi, having George Floyd killed in her neighborhood, and staying during the increasingly violent protests, gave her a new perspective on diversity and inclusion she didn’t expect.
“This is a controversial position, but I think what’s happened in the wake of murders is beneficial for Minnesotans,” she says. “I didn’t feel safe in my home, and it gave me the smallest glimpse into the type of visceral fear that people of color must operate under all the time, throughout their lives.”
The recent death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was another significant reminder, she says, of the importance of diversity and inclusion work and how this is a fight for everyone to take on, no matter their race, ethnicity, gender, generation or sexual orientation.
“We absolutely must work on each other’s behalf,” she says. “That’s how I’ve always operated, but now it feels more urgent than ever. This is just the beginning, and we all have to work toward some concrete steps to make things better.”
Before this year, Dolejsi was already living that mission, by co-creating the Women Trial Lawyers Conference, an organization focused on fostering referral relationships, networking opportunities and educational programming for women attorneys. She’s also chair of the firm’s Women of Robins Kaplan committee, which is dedicated to removing structural barriers within or outside the firm that affect gender diversity. The group’s next workshop will be about the intersection of women and race, with the theme of how to be anti-racist.
“The legal profession, much like many other industries, needs to open its eyes to the effects of the lack of diversity,” she says. “People don’t always connect the fact that racial injustice happening outside of firms also have a deep impact within firms. Those are the conversations we’re having and will continue to have. I think it’s an incredible opportunity, and I feel fortunate to be part of that.”
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