Attorneys Participate in Diversity Mentorship Program

Dinsmore attorneys are donating their time to help shape the next generation of diverse legal professionals. Justin Burns, Keri Collin, and Sydney Pahren from our Columbus office have joined the Diversity in Leadership Advisory Council in partnership with the Law and Leadership Institute and the Columbus Bar Association’s Managing Partners’ Initiative. The Diversity in Leadership Advisory Council was formed to support Ohio minority students who are fellows in the Law and Leadership program.  Justin Burns sees the program as a call to action, with the goal to create a more inclusive industry.

“I am an attorney today because of the mentorship and support of others.  It is an honor to pay forward that support by encouraging the future of our profession to dive in and make a difference, so that our justice system is inclusive and representative of society,” Burns said.

Sydney Pahren sites her personal connection to the local community as a reason to participate.

“I grew in Columbus and attended Columbus public schools, which is the same school system many of the students in this program attend.  Representation matters, and having a group of attorneys committed to diversity will help these students see a future for themselves in this profession,” Pahren said.

The program is set up as a mentorship program for high school students in underprivileged communities. Keri Collin knows programs like DILAC make a real impact stating, "It is a tremendous honor to be able to work with exceptional law students of the Law and Leadership Institute.  The students are leaders committed to ensuring diversity in the legal community, and their efforts to support and mentor underprivileged high school students is commendable.”

The council launched in March and Law and Leadership’s Executive Director Heather Creed says the benefits of the DILAC extend beyond the fellowship program.

“We are grateful to the DILAC members who give of their time and experience to help teach and prepare the fellows as they to look towards futures in the legal sector,” Creed said. “The mentorship and guidance of the participating attorneys will no doubt have a positive impact on the legal profession in the future as we become a more diverse and inclusive society across the board.”

The attorneys serve as advisers and are matched with fellows to facilitate training discussions, assist the students as they complete a research project about diversity and inclusion, and provide feedback and guidance to enhance the Law and Leadership program.