Diversity and Inclusion for Solo and Small Law Firms – B03


   Diversity and Inclusion Track
   Diversity and Inclusion Committee

   Session B: 11:20 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.


About the Program

State and national diversity and inclusive initiatives are often focused on large law firms and corporations. Most attorneys, however, are employed by small law firms of fewer than 20 lawyers, with more than half of all lawyers employed as solo practitioners. National statistics reveal that the entire profession, across every sector, lacks in diversity. As we work to advance diversity and inclusion in the profession, are we missing the mark when we minimize the potential of solo and small law firms?  

What is the case for diversity and inclusion within a solo or small law firm? How does a solo or small firm leverage its resources to achieve meaningful diversity and inclusion success? How can the CBA and other organizations advancing diversity and inclusion better support solo and small law firms in their efforts?  

You Will Learn

  • Why diversity and inclusion matters for your solo or small firm
  • How to launch and maintain a successful program within your firm
  • How to employ creative and effective strategies tailored to your organization
  • How your solo or small firm can become more competitive and effective by embracing diversity and inclusion 

Neeta Vatti, Quinnipiac University School of Law, Hamden

Neeta M. Vatti is the Assistant Director of Professional and Career Development at Quinnipiac University School of Law. Ms. Vatti also practices as a civil litigator with the law firm of Esty & Buckmir, LLC in Hamden, CT. Ms. Vatti is a member of the CBA Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the CBA Diversity & Inclusion Summit Committee, the South Asian Bar Association of CT and NALP.  



Brian Dalton
Above the Law, New York, NY

Brian Dalton is a reporter for Above the Law.  He is the author of the 2018 Above the Law/Thomson Reuters Small Law Firm Diversity Survey report.  Brian is a graduate of Middlebury College and Fordham Law. He joined Breaking Media in October 2011 after spending seven years at Vault.com, most recently as Director of Research and Consulting. Before that, he was, among other things, an associate at a Manhattan law firm, a French teacher in Brooklyn, a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, and a security guard at a waterslide park in Albuquerque, NM.


Ronald J. Houde, Jr., The Kalon Law Firm LLC, Hartford

Ron Houde is an attorney with Kalon and is a member of the firm’s founding team. His practice areas include insurance and municipal defense, personal injury, and Connecticut tribal law. Kalon is a proud signatory to the Connecticut Legal Community’s Diversity & Inclusion Pledge & Plan, and Ron serves as the firm’s signatory liaison. Ron is also a member of the CBA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee. He’s been recognized as a New Leader in the Law by the Connecticut Law Tribune and a Rising Star by Connecticut Super Lawyers. Before Kalon, Ron was an associate at an insurance defense firm and clerked for the Honorable Judges of the Hartford Superior Court. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UConn and JD from WNEU School of Law. He resides in Wallingford.

Jennifer Willcox, Yale New Haven Health System, New Haven 

Jennifer Willcox has served as Deputy General Counsel for Yale New Haven Health System in New Haven, CT since 2010, and in 2017 was promoted to Vice President, Legal Services.  In that role, she is responsible for the provision of legal services to Yale New Haven Health, Connecticut’s leading health care system and the third largest employer in the state, and oversees a team of more than twenty lawyers and other legal professionals.  Jennifer has been the primary internal legal counsel to several strategic initiatives of Yale New Haven Health, including hospital acquisitions and affiliations.

Prior to joining YNHHS, Jennifer was a partner in the health care department of Pullman & Comley, an associate at Wiggin and Dana, and clerked for a federal district court judge in New Haven.  She serves on the boards of directors for several local non-profits in Connecticut, including as vice-chair of New Haven Legal Assistance Association. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her law degree from Northeastern University.  She lives in Guilford, CT with her husband and twin children. 


CLE Credit: 1.0 Hours (CT: 1.0 Ethics; NY: 1.0 D&I)