Carstens & Cahoon continues to lead the Texas IP pack in the promotion of diversity and diversity initiatives. Earlier this year, Carstens & Cahoon was recognized by PepsiCo Inc. as a part of PepsiCo’s outside counsel diversity initiatives for the firm’s demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession at PepsiCo’s annual diversity recognition day.
Law firms recognized on this day participated in PepsiCo’s diversity survey adapted from the ABA Model Diversity Survey. The survey collects diversity metrics from U.S. law firms that billed PepsiCo in the prior calendar year. PepsiCo used a weighted formula to generate a diversity index score and examined the firms’ initiatives related to diversifying the legal profession. PepsiCo recognized law firms that earned diversity index scores above the median in comparison to their peers and demonstrated an exceptional commitment to diversity and inclusion through qualitative efforts.
The firm’s PepsiCo Relationship Partner, Colin Cahoon, noted that this is the third year in a row that Carstens & Cahoon has been privileged to receive such recognition from PepsiCo. “We are honored to again make the list of PepsiCo outside law firms who excel in their commitment to diversity. As an intellectual property law firm we face unique challenges in this regard. Nonetheless, of the fourteen firm professionals authorized to work on the PepsiCo account last year, 86% are of minority status. Three of the firm’s eight partners are diverse, and all four of the most recent associate hires are minority attorneys, including two women. The firm fully supports PepsiCo’s diversity initiatives and will continue to promote diversity within our firm and in the intellectual property field.”
One of the firm’s diversity initiatives is “priming the pump” to encourage diverse engineering students to attend law school. In the past this effort has included making presentations to various minority oriented student organizations on campuses in both Texas and New Mexico. Last year the firm took this effort one step further by offering two scholarships. First, the firm offered the Carstens & Cahoon, LLP Intellectual Property Scholarship, which, through the assistance of the J.L. Turner Legal Association, was awarded to a minority law student having a science undergraduate degree and a demonstrated interest in practicing intellectual property law in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Second, the firm also awarded its first Carstens & Cahoon Diversity Initiative Scholarship to a minority law student who has a science undergraduate degree, demonstrated interest in practicing intellectual property law, and is attending a Texas law school. Also, the firm partnered with the Chemical Engineering Department at New Mexico State University (a university renowned for turning out quality Hispanic engineering candidates) to develop a pre-law emphasis within the Chemical Engineering Department. Colin Cahoon personally worked with the department head, Dr. David Rockstraw, to develop the curriculum for this program which went live last fall.
The firm also sponsors programs to promote diversity in the intellectual property field. This past year Carstens & Cahoon was a sponsor for the Dallas Asian American Bar Association (DAABA) Awards Reception, which honored diverse individuals who have made significant contributions to the area’s legal community and the Asian-American community in general. The firm also sponsored the Dallas Hispanic Bar Association (DHBA) Annual Event, which recognizes and honors Hispanic attorneys in the Dallas legal community. Carstens & Cahoon is also a sponsor of and participant in the State Bar of Texas Office of Minority Affairs – Texas Minority Counsel Program (TMCP). “PepsiCo sponsors and participates in the TMCP, and we are proud to affiliate our firm with the program, which is known to encourage, support, and applaud agencies and corporations that work to hire and retain talented minority and women lawyers,” noted the firm’s Diversity Committee chairman, James Ortega.
For more information on Carsten & Cahoon’s diversity efforts, please contact the chairman of the firm’s Diversity Committee, Stephen Liu, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Colin Cahoon