The California Minority Counsel Program:
Spotlight on Burnham Brown
The California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) is a nonprofit organization founded 26 years ago in order to promote diversity within the legal profession. It aims to provide attorneys of color access and opportunity for business and professional development. Its members include attorneys, corporate and public agency law departments, as well as both minority- and majority-owned law firms.
One such majority-owned firm is Burnham Brown, a nearly 40-attorney firm based in Oakland, California. Its newest partner, Aimee Hamoy-Perera (pictured above), recently spoke to Ms. JD about the firm’s involvement with the CMCP.
Burnham Brown became a member of the CMCP two years ago and Ms. Hamoy-Perera currently serves as the firm’s liaison to the organization. Her involvement began when she volunteered at one of CMCP’s annual conferences. Since then Burnham Brown has partnered with the CMCP to put on the firm’s annual women’s event and diversity event.
The partnership between Burnham Brown and the CMCP was an "organic, natural fit,” says Ms. Hamoy-Perera given the firm was already hosting diversity events prior to joining CMCP as a way to provide a forum to discuss diversity in the legal profession.
Ms. Hamoy-Perera started out as a deputy District Attorney but eventually moved away from criminal practice to gain new experiences as a civil litigator. From the start, Burnham Brown made it clear to Ms. Hamoy-Perera that it was investing in her as an attorney. This allowed her to thrive as a civil litigator, and reminded her of her passion for trying cases. She says this engendered strong feelings that she wanted to pass on to others, which she does through mentoring summer and junior associates.
She says "mentorship shouldn’t have an expiration date.” As such, she maintains an open door policy for all her mentees. Her advice to other female and minority attorneys stresses the importance of mentorship and emphasizes that mentors don’t have to come from the same background as their mentees. She encourages newer attorneys to find more than one mentor at their firm and in their life, even those who are of a different race or gender.
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