Ben Deinard, a founder of Leonard, Street and Deinard, served as lead lawyer in the Economics Section of the Nuremberg War Crimes trial.
Leonard, Street and Deinard is committed to enriching the culture of the firm—and providing better service to our clients—by appreciating and supporting inclusiveness and the advancement of all individuals. As a law firm and a workplace, we recognize and embrace the unique qualities, character and contributions of our colleagues, who in turn reflect the diversity of our communities. We are committed to making our firm a diverse workplace.
It wasn’t so long ago that Jewish attorneys were often refused the opportunity to work in major law firms. In New York, Boston, Chicago and even in Minneapolis, anti-Semitism proved an obstacle to otherwise well-qualified attorneys seeking a start to their professional careers.
It was in that environment that George Leonard, Ben Deinard, Amos Deinard and Arthur Street (who was not Jewish) founded our firm in 1922. They were aware of the bias that existed in the work world at that time. Their focus was on professional excellence, client dedication and community service, applied with devotion and without discrimination.
Some 30 years later, Leonard, Street and Deinard was the first major law firm in Minnesota to make one of its women attorneys a partner. Amos Deinard noted that she had become a partner “because she is a good lawyer, which is our only standard for promotion and hiring.” Irene Scott, who like Arthur Street was not Jewish, made partner for the right reasons, and went on to decades of successful practice and service to the bar and the broader community.
This pioneering perspective set the foundation for Leonard, Street and Deinard to become one of the region’s premier law firms and to be deeply committed to nurturing a culture of inclusion, excellence and care for the community.
- Our firm is one of the seven founding members of the Twin Cities/Diversity in Practice—a unique consortium of otherwise competing law firms and corporations—aiming to attract, recruit, retain and advance law students and lawyers of color in Minnesota.
- We were the first Minnesota law firm to join the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national consortium of large law firms and corporate counsel committed to diversity.
- We created, almost a decade ago, a unique scholarship program in partnership with the four Twin Cities law schools to provide tuition assistance, mentoring and additional support to a diverse student in each class at each school. Scholarship recipients have worked with the firm as summer associates and joined us as attorneys, and continue to contribute to our firm, our profession and our community.
- In 1993 we created the Leonard, Street and Deinard Legal Clinic. Fully staffed and administered by our firm, the Legal Clinic provides pro bono legal services to economically distressed and underserved neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
- We received the Hennepin County Bar Association's 2012 Diversity Award for our commitment to communicating the case for diversity, creating a more welcoming office culture and fostering effective mentoring programs.
- Our firm was awarded 2012 Gold Standard Certification from the Women In Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF), recognizing law firms with 100 or more practicing attorneys who successfully demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of leadership positions.
- Leonard, Street and Deinard was named one of the 50 best law firms in the United States for women lawyers. The ranking, established by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers, honors the top law firms in the nation for their family-friendly policies and business development initiatives that are retaining women and advancing them into the leadership pipeline. View the video below of shareholder Amy Walsh Kern receiving the award and talking about her experiences as a working mother.
To learn more about Leonard, Street and Deinard’s diversity and inclusion efforts, or to become involved, contact any member of the firm’s Diversity Committee:
- Barbara Portwood, Shareholder and Co-Chair
- Tom Nelson, Shareholder and Co-Chair
- Jim Bertrand, Shareholder
- Ellen Sampson, Shareholder
- Sara Noel, Shareholder
- Aleava Sayre, Associate
- Kari Jensen Thomas, Director
To learn more about career opportunities at Leonard, Street and Deinard, visit our Career pages.
Phone: 612.335.1500 Copyright © 1999 - 2013 Leonard, Street and Deinard