Diversity

For over 70 years, Ryley Carlock & Applewhite has thrived in the Southwest and Mountain Region. As the region has grown, so too has the diversity of its population. We recognize that law firms, like businesses, are strengthened by diverse views, histories and backgrounds. Understanding issues from different perspectives allows our legal professionals to provide valuable counsel and solutions for our clients. Our firm is committed to hiring and promoting exceptional professionals without regard to gender, race, national origin, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability or religion.

At Ryley Carlock & Applewhite, our commitment to diversity is more than mere rhetoric. In fact, our firm's leadership reflects this. Our diverse group of lawyers serve as practice group leaders and in other leadership roles. Jessica Benford Powell leads the firm's diversity and inclusion efforts. Under her leadership, we have set aggressive goals for the firm's continuous improvement. This includes recruiting and retaining the best and the brightest professionals from diverse backgrounds and perspectives.

A hallmark of the firm's commitment to diversity in the legal community is our ongoing sponsorship and participation in the Diversity Legal Writing Program sponsored by the Maricopa County Bar Association Task Force for the Recruitment and Retention of Minority and Women Lawyers and by the State Bar of Arizona Committee on Minorities and Women in the Law. Each year, local law firms work with second-year minority law students from Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law to improve the student's writing skills and expose them to clerking assignments in a private firm setting.

Our lawyers also have a long tradition of professional and civic leadership roles in organizations whose core purposes reflect diversity. We've been pioneers in tribal economic development, served on boards and in leadership positions of women and minority organizations, and support our staff in their diverse community efforts through our volunteer program, RCA Cares.

Ryley Carlock & Applewhite continues to make diversity a priority.

About Us
Our Attorneys' Diversity Efforts Include:
  • Jessica Benford Powell serves on the Selection Committee for the State Bar of Arizona's Bar Leadership Institute, a 9-month program designed to foster the professional growth and enhance the leadership skills of a diverse group of attorneys. In 2008, Jessica was selected to and participated in the second class of the Bar Leadership Institute, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017. In addition, Jessica is a longtime member and a Past Secretary of the Arizona Black Bar.
  • Lidia Koelbel is a longtime member of the Arizona Asian American Bar Association and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association. She is a past Chapter Director and longtime member of the Women in eDiscovery Phoenix Chapter, which aims to support and promote women in the practice of eDiscovery, Managed Review and its associated technologies. As a mentor and coach in the Ambassadors of Compassion program, Lidia visited with at-risk 8th grade students for a semester each school year to support the children with leadership skills and encourage them to continue their education and complete high school.

  • Lisa Waldin serves as Phoenix Chapter Director for Women in eDiscovery, a nonprofit organization focused on providing women with legal technology education, networking and leadership opportunities.  Lisa is also a member of Corporate Counsel Women of Color, a non-profit organization which  provides a support network to in-house women of color and to facilitate networking around the nation and abroad, promote career advancement and the success of in-house women of color, and promote all aspects of global diversity in the legal profession and workplace.

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