Farella Braun + Martel Honors Four for Diversity Leadership

December 19, 2008 Accolades

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 19, 2008 - Farella Braun + Martel honors attorneys Ruth Ann Castro, Amarra Lee and Chris Locke and case clerk Charmaine Crabaugh with its first annual Diversity Leadership Awards.  The Awards, presented Dec. 5, recognize attorneys and staff members who regularly and enthusiastically demonstrate leadership and a personal commitment to diversity within the firm and the community.  For their efforts toward fostering diversity in the firm and the community, the four honorees received a monetary award and a contribution by the firm to a charity of their choice.

"Our Diversity Committee, which was established in 2001, has a long list of accomplishments, including a Diversity Scholarship Program for Bay Area law students, a Pipeline Summer Internship Program for high-school students from inner-city schools, and numerous diversity awareness workshops and outreach programs," said firm Chairman Steve Lowenthal.  "Our attorneys and staff have an appreciation for the benefits of diversity in approaching client matters and in the office setting.  It was a challenge to narrow our list of nominees to only four recipients." 

Senior associate Ruth Ann Castro, who served as co-chair the Farella Diversity Committee for the last four years, is honored for her dedication to the advancement of diversity among the firm's attorneys and staff, the legal profession and in the community.  Castro has raised the firm's visibility in the community, engaged clients in diversity dialogues, served as the co-chair of the Asian American Bar Association's Community Services Committee and is a member of the San Francisco's Bar Association's Equality Committee.  She also organized and developed a range of diversity workshops, conferences and dinners throughout the year and serves as a mentor to fellow diverse attorneys.

A donation was made to the Asian Law Caucus, the nation's oldest legal and civil rights organization promoting the legal and civil rights of the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Associate Amarra A. Lee is an integral member of the firm's Diversity Committee and is honored for her role in developing the curriculum  for Farella's Pipeline Summer Internship Program, leading the weekly seminars and mentoring the students.  Lee is also actively involved with BASF's Destination Law School Program, The Covenant Worship Center "School-to-College" program, and the Legal Education and Opportunity Program at the University of California Hastings College of Law.  Lee sponsored Hastings' Black Law Students' Association Alumni mentorship program and is dedicated to mentoring diverse pre-law and law school students. 

A donation was made to Covenant Worship Center, where Lee has developed a "School-to-College" program that meets monthly, year-round, to help 9th to 12th graders prepare for the college application process, successfully complete high school, and attain life skills, such as preparing resumes and interviewing for jobs. The contribution will help the program purchase updated SAT preparation materials and a new computer.

Partner Chris Locke, former Diversity Committee co-chair, is honored for his ongoing dedication to furthering Farella's diversity initiatives, including serving as the liaison between the Diversity Committee and the firm's Advisory Board and working to develop and implement diversity initiatives as part of the firm's long-term strategic plan.  He has participated in the Pipeline Summer Internship Program the past two years, giving presentations on his work on the investigation of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and serving as Pipeline Subcommittee co-chair.  Locke is a strong advocate for recruiting and retention of diverse attorneys and staff, and he strives to advance the professional development and interests of the diverse members of the firm. 

A donation was made to the Environmental Law Institute (ELI), an internationally recognized, non-partisan research and education center. The Institute's mission is to advance environmental protection by effecting change in law, policy, and management. Its Innovation in Governance Programs work to protect the natural environment and the life and livelihoods that depend on it. For example, the ELI's Community Environmental Health and Justice Program focuses on the health challenges facing disadvantaged communities, specifically challenges stemming from exposure to pollution, lack of access to health care, and insufficient involvement in decision-making.

Case Clerk Charmaine Crabaugh has dedicated herself to volunteering and furthering diversity awareness through her work with the San Francisco Women Against Rape Center (SFWAR).  In the past year, Crabaugh sponsored a SFWAR presentation at Farella, bringing firmwide awareness to an issue affecting women from every societal and cultural background.  She also coordinates rape survivor services and staffs a rape crisis hotline.  

A donation was made to SFWAR, a women of color-led, volunteer-based organization that has provided rape crisis services for over thirty years.

Since its founding in 1962, Farella Braun + Martel has achieved a national reputation for the acumen of its business practice, the high profile cases of its complex commercial litigation practice and its prestigious client base. Based in San Francisco, the firm serves a diverse group of clients from multinational corporations to emerging businesses. The firm also has an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry and related businesses. Farella Braun + Martel is a Green Business.


Melinda Hepp / Traci Stuart
Blattel Communications
[email protected] / [email protected]

Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
[email protected]