Bradley Bernstein Sands LLP is proud to introduce its inaugural class of fellows
for our Business Behind the Scenes Fellowship.
We selected our Fellowship class from among nearly 100 applications received from students at law schools nationwide. This response in our first year of offering the BBS Fellowship was remarkable, and underscores the need for more programs focused on supporting the diversification of the legal profession.
Janessa Doyle is a second year law student at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University. Her undergraduate degree is also from ASU. Janessa worked her way through college as a claims representative for an insurance company, while also serving as a writing mentor to students at the School of Social Transformation at ASU. Her interest in the law was sparked when she watched people from her own community and their own encounters with the legal system. While in law school, Janessa has served as an extern at the Arizona Supreme Court, and at the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender. Janessa has been recognized for her accomplishments with numerous scholarships during her undergraduate and law school tenure. “As a Black woman, I believe that I will be leading the way for many people in my community as I continue on the path of practicing law. . . . I hope to get involved in as many ways as possible to help others from my community onto the path of joining the legal world. [As a BBS Fellow,] I plan to take full advantage of the training and networking opportunities that I will receive. I am also interested in one day being a mentor to future BBS Fellows. I truly admire [BBS’s] devotion to assist first generation students that are underrepresented in the legal field.”
Saraphin Dhanani is a second year law student at Stanford Law School, with an undergraduate degree from Wellesley College. She serves as the Senior Articles Editor on the Stanford Law Review. Before law school, Saraphin worked in the Markets Group at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and in her free time, founded an organization to expand career and educational resources for refugees across the globe by virtually connecting them with volunteers offering university prep mentorship, guidance on securing employment, and English language tutoring. She is also the recipient of the Madeleine Korbel Albright Fellowship, and serves as the Alumna Representative on the Madeleine Korbel Albright Institute Ambassadors Council. “My [participation in] the BBS Fellowship is a manifestation of my desire to pay it forward to those who are trying so desperately to overcome their misfortunes. . . . I hope this Fellowship will help me scale my impact, and also equip me with the skills to [combine my interests in national security, finance, and domestic public diplomacy] to represent my community in the halls of [power]. The path to realizing this change will require directed mentorship and a network of like-minded peers working towards similar pursuits. I am deeply grateful for the Fellowship’s support along this journey.”
Fernando Rojas is a first year law student at Yale Law School. As an undergraduate at Yale, he worked translating documents at the Yale Law School Legal Services Organization. He went on to participate in a Kerry Initiative Fellowship, and has received numerous awards recognizing his scholarship and contributions to the community. Throughout his undergraduate and graduate studies, Fernando has worked to create mentorship opportunities for students who identify as first generation and low income students. Fernando is excited about the BBS Fellowship because, “[w]hile the majority of my classmates are familiar with the logics of this profession, I am simultaneously attempting to recognize the things I do not know and affirmatively build the skills I need to succeed. The BBS Fellowship will demystify the world I am about to enter so I can meet the obligations I owe to the community that nurtured me.”
We founded Bradley Bernstein Sands LLP (“BBS”) in July 2020 after each practicing law for nearly 15 years at some of the biggest law firms and most forward-looking city governments in the country. We are a woman-owned firm that represents private and public clients in complex litigation on the West Coast. For over a decade before founding BBS, Heidi Bradley has been a leading litigator in Los Angeles and Seattle and was co-chair of her prior firm’s litigation team. Erin Bernstein has been a national leader in the government affirmative litigation space. And Darin Sands is a first-generation professional who has gone on to become a go-to commercial litigator in Portland. The three of us are longtime friends and are also the parents of young children. As we have built our own law firm, we spent a lot of time distilling the important lessons we’ve learned in our prior positions—not just about the dollars and cents of how law firms run, but also about the value of leadership training, building professional networks, project management skills, and integrating a true balance between family life and career ambition into a larger office culture. Each of our founders is a highly experienced and successful litigator in our own field. But when we set out to start a law firm, we realized that our legal education and career training had not included any information about the economics of big law, government, and nonprofits, or alternative career paths available to lawyers in and outside of the law. We hope to help fill that gap for current law students and help demystify the opaque world of law firm economics and non-traditional legal career paths—focusing especially on students who don’t have attorneys or other professionals in their family networks.
As we built BBS, we wondered—given the grim statistics of female litigators in BigLaw’s partnership ranks—why there weren’t more women-owned firms like ours, and why there are astonishingly few law firms founded by people of color. Systemic inequality and racism certainly play a role in this disparity. So too does the lack of guidance for diverse lawyers on how to successfully navigate those realities and find a career path that provides autonomy and control over your future. We want to see more firms like ours out there, and we want to empower and help train, mentor, and fund the next generation of founders. BBS Fellows will receive training by legal professionals from a wide variety of legal backgrounds and organizations, via remote sessions during the Spring 2021 semester in subjects including:
In addition to training on these substantive topics, BBS Fellows will receive focused individual and group career coaching from the outstanding coaches at Glassman Coaching + Consulting. Dina Glassman and Jill Long are both former big-law lawyers-turned professional development and diversity professionals at law firms. They now serve as certified coaches who are passionate about supporting professionals in reaching their career goals while deriving greater meaning and satisfaction from their work and life. “We are thrilled to be part of the BBS Fellowship. It’s inspiring to watch our friends at BBS launch this meaningful and innovative fellowship and it’s an honor to work with the incredibly talented group of law students in this year’s inaugural class.” – Jill Long. BBS is incredibly grateful for the extraordinary contributions of Glassman Coaching + Consulting to our Fellows. Over time, BBS aims to build a robust network of current and former fellows to act as a peer network for career development, mentorship of first-generation professionals between various law schools, additional training opportunities, and advocacy for diversity within the broader legal market. Press inquiries please contact Erin Bernstein (email@example.com).
This is entirely a training and mentorship opportunity for our fellows. BBS fellows will not be asked to perform any work for BBS or its clients.