Beacons of light
In the inaugural WIPR Diversity Champions list, we celebrate those who deserve recognition for their commitment to creating a brighter future for all aspiring IP practitioners, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation or background.
The legal profession has developed diversity programmes and policies to promote more inclusivity in the legal field for years, but over the past 18 months we have seen a groundswell of interest in diversity and inclusion (D&I).
The increased prominence of the Black Lives Matter movement and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on ethnic minorities have led leadership teams to re-evaluate their diversity programmes and renew their efforts to build a more diverse legal profession.
Gradually, we are reaching a point where D&I targets are no longer perceived as a “nice to have” by the leaders in law but as a pivotal objective of any successful and forward-thinking law firm.
There are leading lights in the IP sector who have long fought the good fight and have been passionate and tireless in their efforts to make the profession more inclusive. Here is our inaugural Diversity Champions list.
Founder and lead executive officer, IP Inclusive (UK)
Andrea Brewster is the founder of IP Inclusive, an initiative that promotes equality, diversity, inclusion and wellbeing throughout the UK’s IP professions. She has been leading the organisation since its inception in 2015 and has promoted the Careers in Ideas outreach campaign to raise awareness of IP-related careers and widen the pool that the professions recruit from.
Brewster started practising in the early 1990s as a UK chartered patent attorney and European patent attorney in the private sector and co-founded the IP practice Greaves Brewster in 2000.
She retired in 2015 to concentrate on her work with IP Inclusive and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA). She is a Fellow of CIPA, a former member of its governing council and several committees; and was president of the institute from May 2015 to May 2016.
Assistant General Counsel, Harley-Davidson (US)
Adraea Brown started her career at a women and minority-owned IP boutique firm, the PLK Law Group. She is now assistant general counsel, trademarks, at Harley-Davidson, having joined the company as a trademark counsel in 2015. Throughout her career, she has spoken on numerous D&I panels and taught lessons on copyright to US high school students as part of a programme run by Street Law, a non-profit that aims to educate the wider community about law.
A strong believer in the positive power of mentorship, she is a mentor at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metro Milwaukee, a charity that helps children achieve their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships. She continually strives to make hiring diverse counsel a priority and to stress the importance of attracting and retaining diverse perspectives and talent within the IP community.
Brown also leads D&I efforts within Harley-Davidson’s legal department.
Director of patent litigation, Netflix (US)
Before joining Netflix in 2021, Laurie Charrington worked at Intel for seven years where she was on the leadership team for Intel’s women’s leadership programme, Leading Edge.
She co-chaired Intel’s global Black Leadership Council and was an active member of the company’s African American employees’ network.
Charrington is a frequent speaker on diversity issues in law and has appeared on panels including the LSPN Connect session, “Walking the talk—companies and firms striving for legal diversity in tech and IP”. Charrington is an active member of ChIPs and is a founding member of the Silicon Valley ChIPs chapter.
Partner, Adams & Adams (South Africa)
Nishi Chetty has been a partner at Adams & Adams since 2005. She was the first person of colour to become a registered trademark practitioner in South Africa when she qualified in 2002. A keen advocate of D&I, Chetty believes this value is particularly important in South Africa due to the country’s legacy of the apartheid system and its damaging effects.
As a partner of the firm, Chetty helps to ensure that Adams & Adams and its partners cooperate and work in association with predominantly black firms where the opportunity arises, or when it is appropriate.
Chetty works with non-profit organisations such as Innovate Durban and 4IRI Fourth Industrial Revolution Incubator, which provide IP advice to aspiring inventors and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). She works extensively with the technology entrepreneurial desk at the Durban University of Technology to offer IP advice to young student entrepreneurs.
Partner, Deloitte Legal (UK)
Joanna Conway co-leads the Women in IP committee for IP Inclusive, the pan-professional body charged with improving D&I across the profession. During Conway’s tenure, the committee has grown to nearly 1,000 members across the UK IP profession.
The committee provides information on relevant issues as well as offering support for women in the profession and tasked itself with advancing the D&I agenda across the profession by making the case for change.
It is now in phase two of this plan and is helping the profession implement practical and effective techniques and practices to improve D&I. Conway organises regular events and networking to help achieve these aims. At Deloitte Legal, she is an IP specialist who advises on patents, copyright, trademarks/brand, trade secrets and IP risk.
T: +44 20 7303 2407
Of counsel, Baker McKenzie (Mexico)
Véronique Durand-Rettally is a noted D&I Champion in Latin America and a self-proclaimed “unconditional ally” of the LGBT+ community. She is chair of the D&I Committee for Baker McKenzie Mexico and chair of the D&I Committee for the US Mexico Bar Association.
She has written and spoken extensively about the D&I issues in Mexico and wider Latin America, and the need for leaders to become more accountable when it comes to achieving D&I initiatives.
These efforts include articles and interviews in WIPR. She joined Baker McKenzie in 2009 and is now a counsel in the firm’s IP practice group.
Vice president, law firm strategy, Anaqua (US)
Jayne Durden is a recognised thought leader on the topic of women in IP, who regularly presents ideas and writes articles to share advice for overcoming common challenges that women IP attorneys face. These include articles for the diversity channel of WIPR, titled “Levelling up diversity: tech is one of the ways forward”.
She mentors young women to help them achieve their career goals, coaching on communication and approach, and participating in panels and speaking opportunities to increase women’s voices in leadership and innovation.
She is an active committee member of the International Trademark Association, contributing to the advancement of women across the entire industry as an advocate and through her involvement.
T: +1 412-310-3041 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox (US)
Eldora Ellison is a director in the biotechnology/chemical and litigation groups at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox where she focuses on patent litigation, predominantly life sciences in the life sciences. An inspirational figure for D&I campaigners in law, she has been recognised as a 2020 “Black Leader Worth Watching” by US publication Profiles in Diversity Journal.
She has written and presented on the positive effects of mentoring in promoting greater diversity in law. In her essay, titled “We don’t succeed alone,” published in the aforementioned journal, Ellison highlights the efforts of several individuals who have contributed to her success throughout every stage of her career, and the importance of mentoring women and men from various backgrounds.
In her article for WIPR, “Promoting diversity in IP law: how small actions can lead to big changes”, she stressed the importance of all individuals working within IP and the wider legal sector to commit to D&I.
Of counsel, Barrera & Asociados (Peru)
Catherine Escobedo is of counsel at Barrera & Asociados, a firm led by women and with a majority of women lawyers. She is a member of Women in the Profession (WIP Peru), through which she has launched a series of mentoring programmes. She is also a member of the Berkeley Global Society, where she is a project leader of its Women’s Rights Project.
Comprising a group of 11 lawyers, all graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, the project aims to create a collection of laws around the world that have improved the situation of the women in their society so that other countries can learn from them.
In 2020, Escobedo co-wrote an article for the society addressing the problem of the escalation of violence against women during the pandemic and the legal actions that the countries were taking to minimise them. She is part of the Women Leading Privacy section at the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
Partner, Boult Tennant Wade (UK)
Susi Fish is passionate about working to make the IP community welcoming and inclusive to all. She co-chairs the Women in IP committee of IP Inclusive alongside Conway, and has participated in think tanks led by IP Inclusive: one on representation levels of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) attorneys in the UK’s IP sector in July 2020, and one on social mobility and access to the IP professions in September 2020.
She took an active role in the IP Inclusive annual general meeting in March 2021. She is also a member of the D&I committee at the Intellectual Property Owners Association.
Within her role as D&I partner for Boult Wade Tennant, Fish has supported clients as they work to drive for increased D&I throughout the IP and wider legal profession, and has sat on panels at corporate client focus days on D&I.
She has also spearheaded the firm’s initiative to partner with the UK educational charity the Sutton Trust on its pathways to law and engineering programme. In February 2021, the firm held its first online vacation scheme for 16 to 18-year-old students who are supported by the Sutton Trust.
Partner, Bereskin & Parr (Canada)
As the firm’s managing partner Micheline Gravelle has established Bereskin & Parr’s D&I committee to ensure that the firm’s policies and practices foster an inclusive environment where all firm members are treated with fairness and respect.
Throughout her leadership, the firm has developed a strong culture of inclusion where different backgrounds are celebrated, and team diversity is promoted. She personally championed the introduction of a wellness initiative which includes a broad array of complimentary services to help firm members be at their best in their professional and personal lives.
Gravelle is also the leader of the life sciences and the plant breeders’ rights practice groups, as well as the co-leader of the firm’s cannabis practice group.
T: +1 416.957.1682 E: email@example.com
Senior principal, Fish & Richardson (US)
DJ Healey is a principal at Fish & Richardson in Houston, Texas, and has been tirelessly dedicated to pro bono work, especially in the areas of civil rights, since 1987. A transgender lawyer, she is a passionate advocate for the advancement of LGBT+ rights.
Healey represented the first plaintiff, who was on remand from the Seventh Circuit, to successfully prevail in a Title VII suit for sexual orientation discrimination and has written amicus briefs for Equality Texas, the National LGBT Bar and other groups.
She has worked on many pro bono matters related to D&I, for clients including Immigration Equality, the leading national LGBT+ immigrant rights organisation; Organization Latina Trans de Texas; the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund in lawsuits challenging non-US citizens’ housing rights.
Partner, AA Thornton (UK)
Marianne Privett is the guiding force behind IPAbility, IPInclusive’s community for people with disabilities, carers and their allies working within the IP professions. According to the UK government, there are more than 11 million people in the UK with a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability.
Launched in 2019, IPAbility aims to provide a supportive and informative network focusing on issues relating to disability, neurodiversity and health conditions of all kinds, whether they are mental or physical, visible or invisible, permanent or temporary, sudden onset or progressive.
Privett is a partner and a chartered patent attorney in the chemistry, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals patent fields. She joined AA Thornton as senior associate in July 2017 and was promoted to partner in September 2018.
Founder, Marval O’Farrell Mairal (Argentina)
Iris Quadrio is a founding partner at Marval O’Farrell Mairal and has been working towards achieving greater diversity in the workplace for several years. She is a vocal campaigner for D&I in Argentina and in wider Latin America and is a critic of the region’s prevalent machista culture—expectations that demand women to be devoted to their family and household chores.
In 2019, the firm’s diversity committee organised new D&I inclusion teams to work on new initiatives to promote gender and age diversity and to provide greater support to staff with disabilities and members of the LGBT+ community.
Successful initiatives included setting up a nursing room at the firm for breastfeeding mothers, delivering a webinar for parents on how to handle the challenges of lockdown, working from home and home-schooling, and a roundtable tackling the cultural barriers that make it harder for women lawyers to break into the higher echelons where more sophisticated business is generated.
The firm marked LGBT+ Diversity Day on June 28, the only leading law firm in Argentina to publicly salute the LGBT+ community on this day.
Executive director, general counsel, infrastructure solutions group and head of global litigation, Lenovo (US)
Jennifer Salinas is a highly valued mentor and sponsor of legal talent who attracts and retains diverse, high-performance teams, and one of three executive sponsors and a board member of Lenovo’s enterprise-wide Hispanic employee resource group, Hispanics of Lenovo Association.
As part of the programme, Salinas helps educate Hispanic law students about careers in IP and tech law, offering a robust curriculum and access to key government agencies and regulators in the fields. She also provides effective mentorship relationships with top corporate and law firm practitioners and launched Lenovo’s panel counsel programme with a focus on requiring all firms, including for all IP matters, to have a diverse team with a particular focus on underrepresented communities.
In 2015, she was awarded the Mary V. Orozco Abriendo Caminos Award by the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, which is bestowed on Latinas “who have inspired and opened doors for countless Latinas and others”.
From 2018 to 2019, she served as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, where she oversaw a board of more than 70,000 members.
Partner, EIP (UK)
Darren Smyth is a partner at law firm EIP in London and a founding committee member of IP Out, the networking group within the IP Inclusive initiative for the LGBT+ community. Smyth has organised or spoken at a number of IP Out events and has been actively involved in a number of initiatives, including working on expanding allyship and engaging with other LGBT+ networks.
He regularly attends the annual LGBTQ+ STEMinar and is regularly approached to comment on LGBT+ issues. Smyth has technical expertise in a range of fields and has 20 years of experience in private practice.
IP Law Counsel, IBM (UK)
Anita Shaw is a founding member of IP&ME, IP Inclusive’s network for BAME employees and their allies, and is a member of its Women in IP committee. She has participated in a first-of-its-kind mentoring scheme with Action for Children, a UK children’s charity, where she mentored a BAME member of staff.
Within IBM, she is involved in D&I initiatives across the business, legal and IP departments in the UK, Europe and the US. In her role at IBM, Shaw works on patent, copyright and data matters in the cloud and artificial intelligence technology sectors, where she helps internal clients go to market effectively.
Head of IP, Allen & Overy (UK)
As an openly gay lawyer, David Stone has used his experiences to encourage his fellow colleagues to break through the barriers diverse people can face in the workplace.
While maintaining a stellar legal career with a roster of international clients, Stone has worked tirelessly to set up and drive both Allen & Overy and industry-wide diversity initiatives, mentoring colleagues and speaking widely on diversity topics.
Stone has run an initiative with 15 barristers’ chambers to improve diversity at the Bar since 2018. He invited heads of chambers and head clerks to form a roundtable to focus on practical steps to help tackle a variety of issues, including language used in directory reviews; diverse shortlists; barristers returning from leave; and broadening the pool through training initiatives.
Through Allen & Overy’s pro bono programme, Stone assists a range of charities with their IP issues, helping organisations including Hope and Homes for Children; Black Equity Organisation; mental health charity Adferiad; homelessness charity Beam Up; legal mentoring organisation, GROW; and the London Legal Support Trust.
Partner, Finnegan (US)
Finnegan partner and long-time LGBT+ rights advocate Linda Thayer is dedicated to helping the IP community to establish an environment of inclusiveness. She is a member of the firm’s LGBTQ+ affinity group, a mentor to other attorneys and law students, and has represented Finnegan at the LGBT bar’s Lavender Law conference.
She is an active participant in the firm’s “Finnegan Forward” women’s initiatives. Before joining Finnegan, Thayer worked for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), an organisation that advocated on behalf of and provided legal services to gay and lesbian military personnel and veterans negatively affected by the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis (US)
Ellisen Turner founded the National Bar Association’s annual Diversity in Tech Awards, which recognises leaders for fostering D&I in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and IP fields. He is involved in many community and national legal organisations and is known as a thought leader on diversity in the legal and STEM fields.
Turner co-chairs the Kirkland & Ellis D&I committee and in 2019 was honoured with California Minority Counsel Program Law Firm Diversity Leader Award, which recognises an individual who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to D&I.
A 2019 recipient of the Deborah Broyles Law Firm Diversity Leader Award from the California Minority Counsel Program, Turner has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving D&I within the legal community. He speaks regularly on diversity topics and mentors attorneys and students from underrepresented groups. The Los Angeles Business Journal named him one of the 40 “Most Influential Minority Attorneys”.