Archer & Greiner recently marked 20 years of fostering diversity and inclusion.

“For me, it was an extremely impactful milestone that I wanted to make sure that we celebrated,” said Lloyd Freeman, a partner in the law firm and its chief diversity officer.

“I was an Archer diversity scholar back when I was in law school, so I have seen first-hand how our program has cultivated the legal minds of diversity attorneys and then end up hiring them and promoting them as well.”

Freeman is the first person of color to rise through the firm’s ranks from summer associate to partner. He was appointed to his current position in December.

“My primary role is to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into all of the aspects of our firm — that’s in our hiring practices, our retention, our promotions and our staffing decisions — because we truly want to foster an inclusive environment for all of our women and attorneys of color,” he said.

Freeman leads the law firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which includes attorneys at the highest levels of management. The committee works on initiatives for recruitment, retention and mentoring programs to enhance career opportunities for minority and female attorneys.

Archer & Greiner provides tuition support and summer associate employment to diverse law students from Temple and Rutgers each year, and has awarded a total of $465,000 in scholarships to 47 diverse scholars.

Since 2017, 72% of Archer’s summer associates have been people of color and 65% have been women, Freeman said.

Many of the diversity scholars have been first-year law students, have overcome obstacles in pursuing a legal career, or come from disadvantaged or underrepresented backgrounds.

The firm has partnered with the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group, which is committed to fostering the participation of a more diverse group of lawyers in the Philadelphia region. PDLG’s Fellows Program offers first-year law students a route to summer employment at partnering law firms and legal departments.

Najah Jacobs was matched with Archer through PDLG’s Fellows Program and ultimately became a full-time associate. She spent two years in the firm’s summer associate program.

The Philadelphia native is currently an associate in Archer’s Environmental Law Practice Group and is based in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She graduated from the Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law in 2018.

“I feel like Archer being a part of that Philadelphia Diversity Law Group partnership actually meant a lot. It showed their commitment to diversity because not every law firm in Philadelphia or New Jersey are a part of this program,” Jacobs said.

“They actually showed a vested interest. Had it not been for Archer actually partnering with PDLG, I don’t know if I would have had this unique opportunity anywhere else.”

For Jorge Garcia, becoming a diversity scholar and being matched to Archer changed the trajectory of his life. The Texas native is a 2017 graduate of Temple University Beasley School of Law.

“One word to describe the program and everything that has happened to me since then [is] life-changing,” said Garcia, the son of Mexican immigrants.

“Both of my parents came into this country undocumented with nothing but the clothes on their back. They didn’t know any English, had no money, no family here, yet because of their sacrifices I was able to be the first in my family to graduate from college in the U.S.”

He is now a member of the Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Insolvency Litigation and Immigration & Homeland Security Departments in the firm’s Philadelphia office.

Archer has approximately 200 lawyers in Haddonfield, Hackensack, Princeton and Red Bank, New Jersey; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; New York; and Wilmington, Delaware.

ajones@phillytrib.com (215) 893-5747

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