Robins Kaplan LLP
When Sharon Roberg-Perez attended a recruiting event for diverse law students nearly 20 years ago, a certain law firm caught her attention. Its attorneys were highly energetic, laughed raucously, and were excited to share their firm’s history. That firm was Robins Kaplan. Roberg-Perez learned that it was founded in 1938 by two Jewish lawyers who could not get hired anywhere else in Minneapolis because of antisemitism.
She has since become a leader in diversity both inside and outside the firm. In 2019 she began a three-year term as co-chair of the diversity committee, following a stint as co-chair of the Attorney of Color Resource Group.
Her assessment of Robins Kaplan is that the firm has done as well as others in the industry, for example earning a Mansfield 4.0 certificate for having a workforce composed of 30% or more historically underrepresented attorneys in designated demographic groups. “I’m pleased we’ve been able to keep up so far,” she said. “But we don’t want to do just as well as other firms; we want to exceed them.”
The firm, she feels, is unique in that it supports complex litigation practices such as her own biomedical patent litigation practice, but also supports significant pro bono work. One of her most rewarding cases was one in which she co-counseled with Lambda Legal to ensure that an incarcerated transgender woman in a Missouri prison received medically necessary treatment.
With a Ph.D. in biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Roberg-Perez moved from science into law for the same reason she enjoys pro bono work. “I just wanted my work to have a greater impact on a day-to-day basis,” she said.
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