Now that you have met our Loeb Reconnected ambassadors and office leaders, we think it’s time you get to know some of our other team members a little better. Read on to meet our Chief Diversity Officer.
Please introduce yourself! How long have you worked at Loeb?
I’m Jennifer Davda; a native New Yorker, an avid Yankees fan and a caretaker of two adorable puppies, Bob and London. I received my undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and attended the University of Chicago for law school. I began my legal career in 2008 in Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ bankruptcy group which, interestingly enough, coincided with the beginning of the 2008 financial crisis. During my first day of orientation at Weil, I heard my name announced along with a number of other first years in the bankruptcy group. Lehman had just filed for Chapter 11 and it was all hands on deck – and so began my legal career. Following my tenure at Weil, I was recruited to Ropes & Gray by former first lady of Massachusetts and then-partner, Diane Patrick, to focus on matters of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). It was during my time at Ropes & Gray that I began to learn the tools necessary to foster a successful DEI initiative, including building consensus amongst constituents who hold various viewpoints, creating a safe environment to ensure people can bring their full selves to work and understanding the systems and processes integral to the success of a law firm and the interplay of diversity. Munger, Tolles & Olson was my next stop – which included a geographical move to Los Angeles, where I was charged with building the firm’s DEI function from the ground up. Finally, prior to coming to Loeb, I was the West Coast Diversity Director at Sidley Austin.
I’m so fortunate that my previous experience led me to my current role at Loeb – I’m about to mark my one-year anniversary as Chief Diversity Officer and couldn’t be more thrilled!
Tell us about Loeb’s DEI efforts. Where are you most focused? Looking ahead, are there any new initiatives you are excited to launch?
DEI is firmly rooted in understanding the culture and subcultures of any organization, and a critical component of a successful DEI initiative is community. As you can imagine, during the pandemic, the connection, mentorship and vitality that community provides was impacted. As a result, this has been one of my primary areas of focus over the course of this past year – Black@Loeb, Loeb Pride, Attorneys of Color and Ethnic Diversity (ACED) and the Women’s LEAD Network have been the cornerstones of our effort to rebuild a thriving community. Loeb is an incredible place because people are open and willing to engage and learn from and with each other. As I think about the future of the DEI function, I’m excited to enhance and build on our leadership’s work to create an inclusive environment and to work to ensure a strong pipeline of diverse leaders, as well as to collaborate with our clients to support these ongoing and important efforts.
As you mark 1 year at Loeb as our Chief Diversity Officer, are there any DEI efforts or initiatives you’re particularly proud of launching?
It’s hard to believe it has already been a year! The time has flown by as I have had a chance to meet with and get to know our leadership, lawyers and staff. A particular success of the firm over the past year is our enrollment and pursuit of Mansfield Certification. The certification requires a year-long tracking of various metrics related to appointment of leadership roles, assignment to firm committees, elevation to partnership and recruitment of lateral lawyers. Mansfield Certification will serve as the foundation of the firm’s DEI efforts, which we plan to evolve and continuously build on to ensure that Loeb reflects the communities it serves.
I want to reiterate how proud I am to be part of a firm where our lawyers and staff, at all levels, are willing to be open and engage with our DEI efforts. This engagement and the crafting of our community are essentially the core elements of ensuring that we continue to integrate DEI into all aspects of the firm, and I’m beyond excited to lead this effort as we continue this journey together.