Greene Espel PLLP
In a profession that historically has lacked racial and gender diversity, Jenny Gassman-Pines devotes significant time and effort to helping make legal practice a more diverse and inclusive profession.
A 2006 University of Minnesota law school graduate, Gassman-Pines clerked for Chief Justice Russell Anderson, then joined Robins Kaplan LLP as a business litigator. She joined Greene Espel PLLP in 2010.
Gassman-Pines co-founded Greene Espel’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion practice.
She has also led the firm’s Personnel and Hiring Committees with a focus on eliminating bias in interviews and creating a summer associate program that focuses on diverse attorneys. And, she helped revamp and improve the firm’s performance review system, helping identify ways that bias can affect feedback and training, and how to give effective and non-biased feedback. Gassman-Pines’ interest in diversity and inclusion partially grew out of her work in employment law, helping employers avoid litigation and defending them. She joined Greene Espel’s diversity committee, which evaluates the firm’s diversity practices with the goal of creating a more equitable, inclusive workplace.
Beyond Greene Espel, Gassman-Pines teaches CLEs and courses on helping organizations become more diverse and inclusive. She has trained city employees, members of the Federal Bar Association and private clients.
As co-chair of the Hennepin County and Ramsey County Bar Associations’ Diversity Committee, she helped create an eight-part series on racial equity and justice for the Minnesota State Bar Association. She also co-authored an impactful article on “Why the Legal Profession is the Nation’s Least Diverse (and How to Fix It).”
In her work, one area she focuses on is feedback as a component to promote the growth and development of those in the profession. Research has indicated that a memo with a name that sounds African American was evaluated more harshly than the same memo with a “white sounding” name.
“It really struck me that there were concrete things we could do that will help eliminate bias and give more junior lawyers skill and information they need to grow, and ‘tweak’ areas where they need improvement,” Gassman-Pines said.
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