Press Release

Cooley Honors DEI Champions

New award recognizes exemplary contributions to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at the firm
April 11, 2022

Palo Alto – April 11, 2022 – Cooley has honored four recipients – Melissa Boyd, Kia Gilmore, Tanisha James and Eric Larson – with its inaugural Cooley Champion Award. The award, a component of the board of directors’ Diversity Equity and Inclusion Action Plan, recognizes individuals for “Being Cooley” by advancing the DEI cause and, by extension, inspiring others to do the same. The winners are each able to direct $10,000 in charitable donations to their preferred nonprofit organization engaged in racial, social or DEI-related efforts.

Boyd is an associate and chair of the San Francisco chapter of the Cooley Inclusion Alliance, a role from which she leads and advocates for colleagues. She has facilitated various small group programs and discussions to promote inclusive behavior within the firm, including Racial Justice Book Club meetings, and serves as a mentor to many junior associates. Boyd has selected Equal Justice Initiative to receive the charitable donation.

Gilmore is a legal secretary and co-chair of the Black Business Professional Affinity Group. She has a deep commitment and energetic approach to DEI locally and firmwide, and is a collaborative advocate for professional staff. She consistently creates a more inclusive environment for her colleagues, and has designed and facilitated local programming and small group discussions. Gilmore has selected So Others Might Eat to receive the charitable donation.

James is a partner and chair of Cooley’s Black Attorney Affinity Group, and she uses her leadership role to promote and integrate DEI practices. She developed the Buddy Program within BAAG, which offers mentoring groups and opportunities for associates to build relationships to advance their careers, and engages with colleagues and leadership on how to support Black associates’ growth. James has selected When We All Vote to receive the charitable donation.

Larson is the global head of intellectual property, leading a team of 150+ professionals who support Cooley’s intellectual property practice. He is a leader in integrating DEI best practices and behaviors within his team, and actively encourages others to do the same. He often collaborates with the firm’s DEI team, and he has designed and facilitated a teamwide DEI discussion series. Larson has selected Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project to receive the charitable donation.

Cooley is dedicated to maintaining a workplace that values and celebrates differences. This commitment also includes active and creative partnerships with clients and in local and national law organizations that support people from underrepresented backgrounds, diversity pipeline projects, law school diversity programs and community outreach. The firm has been widely recognized for its DEI efforts by leading industry organizations and publications, including earning a six-time perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, a Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum for 10 consecutive years and achieving Diversity Lab’s Mansfield Rule Certification Plus status.

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