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Date: June 23, 2021
Portland Business Journal

With the two-year anniversary of the formation of Foster Garvey approaching soon, the Portland Business Journal recently connected with leaders of the firm’s Opportunity & Progress Council (OPC) about how the merger empowered new thinking around diversity, equity and inclusion. 

“We saw [the merger] as an opportunity to not only come together as a community, but really decide what values that we hold dear,” said Paul Heer, associate and co-chair of the OPC. “Part of that process and part of that work meant taking this first principles approach to diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Along with partner and fellow co-chair Bryan Helfer, Heer and the OPC worked to bring all different levels of staff and attorneys to the DEI conversation with equal footing. As a result, the firm has adopted many new initiatives, including a more robust DEI training program, expanding its leadership in the Washington Joint Minority Mentorship Program, and developing a Declared Name and Pronouns Policy that is publicly available for others to customize and adopt.

“We’re not shying away from the important aspects of DEI, in fact, we’re embracing them in a way that we think can be translatable and more of a way to call people into the conversation,” Helfer said. “I’ve been out of law school for 15 years. I tell Paul Heer and others that you have to get where I am faster than I am. We have to create that opportunity in a more efficient manner.” 

Subscribers may access the full article on the Portland Business Journal website.  

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