Diversity & Inclusion

From the employees we hire to the clients we serve, Sands Anderson values and pursues diversity and inclusion. When recruiting and developing our talent, our goal is to create successful opportunities for attorneys and staff from all backgrounds. We believe in hiring the right person for each position, and creating an inclusive environment in every aspect of our firm.

We know that the diverse backgrounds of our attorneys and staff enrich our perspectives and deepen the services we provide to our clients. We recognize that many of our clients desire a law firm focused on fostering greater diversity. Most importantly, embracing diversity and fostering inclusion is the right thing to do.

To those ends, we strive to recruit and retain a mosaic of people who contribute their strengths to our collaborative, close-knit team. Our team brings varied interests and histories and we’re proud to work together, motivate each other, and learn from one another.

Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee

Sands Anderson’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee leads the firm’s efforts to expand its pipeline of talent; retain that talent by supporting each individual’s development as each works for our clients; and implement other strategies to bring more women, minorities, and other historically underrepresented communities into our profession.

Committee Members

Action Plan

Our committee has established the below Diversity Action Plan to guide and focus our activities as a committee for the next year. The Committee intends that through this work, together we will see meaningful change.

Why do we exist?
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee leads the Firm’s work of making systemic, organizational changes to embed diversity and inclusion into the Firm’s DNA.

How do we behave?
Our behaviors are defined by these core values:
– Welcoming to all
– Eager to learn
– Pragmatic
– Creative

What do we do?
We advise the Firm’s Board of Directors on and implement strategies for improving diversity and inclusion in our workforce, the legal profession, and community-at-large.

How will we succeed?
We will accomplish our purpose through these strategic anchors:

  • Improve our fluency with and knowledge of diversity and inclusion strategies and issues
  • Improve the pipeline of and embrace opportunities to hire diverse applicants
  • Retain and support our talent by creating an inclusive workplace
  • Implement accountability systems for our commitment to D&I initiatives

What are we focused on?

A. Recruiting
Increase the diversity of the firm’s employees and its pipeline of applicants by evaluating the firm’s hiring criteria to overcome any hidden barriers and identifying and cultivating relationships with law schools, both student and professional affinity groups, and other recruiting partners, such as the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys’ Law Student Scholarship Program and the VCU-Rehabilitation Research and Training Center.

B. Retention
Retain diverse talent by creating an inclusive work environment that affords meaningful opportunities for development and advancement through a mentoring program that supports each attorney’s career goals and the solicitation of employee feedback about our workplace to create an inclusive environment.

C. Accountability
Improve our work through metrics and accountability mechanisms, including publicly stating the Firm’s commitment to the adoption of a communications strategy about the committee’s work internally and externally and working with firm leadership to consider the impact of diversity and inclusion issues in all aspects of our business.

D. Education
Increase awareness, competencies, fluency, and dialogue on diversity and inclusion-related issues within the committee, the Firm, and with Clients through training and educational opportunities that benefit both the firm and our clients.


Committee members are actively involved in the following specialty bar associations and organizations whose missions include the advancement of women and minorities in our community:

  • Asian-Pacific American Bar Association
  • Law Firm Alliance Diversity Forum
  • Metro Richmond Women’s Bar Association
  • Old Dominion Bar Association
  • Virginia Bar Association, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee
  • Virginia State Bar’s Diversity Conference
  • Virginia Women Attorney’s Association
  • Workforce Inclusion Network, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities

Mansfield Rule

In June 2023, Sands Anderson achieved Midsize Mansfield Certification, having completed an 18-month collaboration with Diversity Lab to track, measure, and achieve diversity in the firm.

Named after Arabella Mansfield, the first woman admitted to practice law in the United States, the Mansfield certification process aims to increase the number of lawyers from historically underrepresented communities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, and all attorney positions.

In achieving certification, Sands Anderson has considered diverse lawyers at least 30 percent of the time for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitches, lateral lawyer hiring, and more. For the purposes of the Mansfield Rule, this includes lawyers who are women, from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, from the LGBTQ+ community and lawyers with disabilities.

Sands Anderson is one of only 140 midsize firms nationwide to become Mansfield Certified, and one of the first three midsize firms with lawyers in Virginia to achieve this milestone. The certification process was led by members of the Board of Directors, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, and Administrative staff.

Faith Alejandro, Diversity & Inclusion Chair, explains, “By adopting the Midsize Mansfield Rule, we are joining a community of law firms that recognize how diverse and inclusive teams work smarter and harder for the benefit of our clients. This public commitment to the intentional work of discovering otherwise untapped talent will enhance our ability to bring our best and most innovative work forward over the next 180 years.”

Through continual participation in the Mansfield Rule and the program’s objective, measurable goals, we can be more intentional about providing opportunities for historically underrepresented communities within our Firm culture and in our profession. Not only is it the right thing to do, but our lawyers will bring a variety of experiences and perspectives to each legal matter, better enabling us to meet our clients’ evolving needs.

More information on Diversity Lab’s Midsize Mansfield Rule can be found here.


We regularly attend, host, and speak at programs, panel discussions, and conferences that support our diversity & inclusion efforts, including the following: