Skip to Main Content.

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Belonging

Tipping the scales toward equality for all.

Diversity and inclusion have long been fixtures of Frost Brown Todd’s culture and indeed remain core to who we are. Still, we recognize that our work is never finished. We are constantly developing and refining our approach to create a more vibrant law firm for our colleagues, our clients, and communities. Our goal is for every member of the Frost Brown Todd team to have equal and ample opportunity to contribute, grow, and find fulfillment in their work.

IDEB Annual Report

What you will see in the report:
  • New trails blazed in our pipeline/community engagement efforts, including info on our pro bono work and annual scholarships
  • Diversity gains in our summer and first-year associate classes
  • Impact of Mansfield benchmarking on diversity and advancement strategies at FBT
  • Spotlights on attorneys and offices, celebrating the talents and contributions of our teammates
  • Important milestones like our merger with AlvaradoSmith, one of the largest and oldest minority-owned firms in California
  • FBT’s hard-earned awards and recognition

Download Report

Chris Johnson | Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Belonging Officer

“At FBT, we recognize we are on a journey. And it’s one that requires each of us to lean in to doing and being better for our teammates, for our clients, and for the communities we are privileged to serve. We are at an inflection point; we have more work to do, collectively and individually, to advance diversity and promote equity of opportunity for all on our FBT team. As we draw ever closer to that inclusive culture we seek, we must ensure the whole of FBT—teammates, clients and communities—feel like an important part of our journey forward.”


Inclusion Training & Workshops

Creating an inclusive environment benefits us and our clients, who receive better service from the multitude of talent that can only be achieved with people of different backgrounds, distinct perspectives and varied experience. We conduct regular mandatory training on unconscious bias, micro inequities, inclusion and other cultural competencies to ensure that Frost Brown Todd continues to be a place where people can both express and be themselves.

We also host numerous voluntary workshops and luncheons throughout the year featuring nationally recognized speakers. These workshops are widely attended across our offices and are often participatory in nature, encouraging team members to share experiences and engage more deeply with topics through conversations with their colleagues. Below is a sampling of recent inclusion workshops hosted by Frost Brown Todd:

  • Mass Imprisonment in America with Sam Mihara
  • Hispanic Heritage: Fireside Chat with Judge Marilyn Zayas
  • Gatekeeping, Storytelling, and Social Change: The Secret History of Women in Hollywood
  • Pride Month: Screening and Q&A with directors of CURED
  • Not Passing by Passover 
  • The Elephant in the Office, Parts 1 & 2 
  • Bias Interrupters
  • A Conversation About Being Black in America
  • Generational Differences
  • Fail Better
  • Recognizing Bias Against Refugees and Understanding Our Neighbors’ Journeys
  • Memories of Heart Mountain
  • City of Cincinnati Poverty Simulation
  • Colorblindness and Internal Bias
  • We are the Solution, Not the Problem
  • The Reinterpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam
  • Let Me Tell You Something: Creating an LGBTQIA+ Inclusive Workplace
  • How Emotional Intelligence Can Produce a More Diverse Workplace
  • The Impostor Syndrome

In addition to training, we conduct employee surveys and monitor firm-wide metrics on recruitment, advancement and compensation. This ensures that we remain vigilant and continue to make progress toward our inclusion goals.

Quarterly D&I Reports

Being a truly inclusive law firm requires hard work, ingenuity, and the courage of one’s convictions. But it can also mean getting to work with young people, amazing community organizations, and having a good deal of fun in the process. In addition to relating new developments in our diversity and inclusion journey, these periodic reports are a testament to the extraordinary people who work for us and with us and whose service to diversity is an example and inspiration for us all.

The Frost Brown Todd Diversity & Inclusion Award

Every year we come together to recognize attorneys and business professionals who have gone above and beyond in their service to our diversity and inclusion goals. The recipients of the Frost Brown Todd Diversity & Inclusion Award are true champions of fairness and equality, as evidenced by their support for colleagues and the work they do outside the firm to enrich the lives of their fellow community members.


Black@FBT Affinity Group

Committed to Excellence

Frost Brown Todd’s Black@FBT affinity group bolsters the excellence and abilities of Black professionals by fostering community, mentorship, and business development while assisting with recruiting, developing, and retaining talent vital to the firm’s success. Each associate in the group is paired with a dedicated mentor to aid in practice growth, network building, and professional advancement. Black@FBT is committed to making a difference internally by strengthening and broadening our roster of diverse talent and externally through community service, social justice activities, and pipeline initiatives within the firm’s markets.

Supporting the Future

FBT Zenobia Harris Bivens Diversity Scholarship

Our firm promotes building a pipeline of diverse attorneys in our local legal community by supporting diverse students in their education and exploration of the law. In addition to our attorneys’ mentorship initiatives, we annually award scholarships to five or more diverse law students who we believe will have a positive and lasting impact on the legal profession. Learn more.

Bernard McKay Award of Excellence for LGBT Scholars

Established by Frost Brown Todd Member Bernie McKay in 2014, the McKay Scholarship at Morehead State University recognizes and provides financial support to undergraduate students who self-identify as LGBT and who have demonstrated exceptional service to the cause of LGBT equality. Every four years, the full tuition scholarship is awarded to an incoming undergraduate and renewed for an additional seven semesters if certain academic requirements are met. In 2019, the first-ever McKay Scholar graduated from Morehead State. Learn more.


We participate in four regional diversity job fairs every year to be able to solicit a diverse pool of candidates beyond our local law schools. We also consider diversity from the start by using structured panel interviewing to guard against bias in the hiring process.

Community Engagement

Through various outreach programs, we connect with local and national organizations focused on righting the opportunity imbalance for diverse professionals. The following organizations are among those we routinely and adamantly support:

  • Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals (ALFDP)
  • Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati (BLAC)/CBA Roundtable
  • Central High School Pipeline Program
  • Chart Your Own Course (CYOC)/Stakeholders
  • Columbus Managing Partner Initiative
  • Cristo Rey High School Pipeline Program
  • Diverse by Design, Cincinnati Regional Chamber
  • Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program (GCMCP)
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Law & Leadership Institute (LLI)
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD)
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCAA)
  • Summer Work Experience in Law (SWEL)


We have programs in place to monitor and measure our diversity metrics, focusing particularly on the advancement and retention of our diverse professionals. These metrics have helped raise awareness about potential blind spots and led to the adoption of new change initiatives, the most recent of which are detailed below.  But, while we are proud that our efforts continue to pay dividends with respect to the employee experience, we acknowledge that we still have plenty of work to do. We know that being true leaders requires a purposeful commitment to EQUITY in every sense of the word.

Mansfield Rule™ Plus Certified

Frost Brown Todd is one of a select group of U.S. law firms to achieve Mansfield Rule™ Plus Certification, a rigorous 12-month benchmarking program that requires law firms to not only consider at least 30% diverse candidates (defined as attorneys of color, women, and LGBTQ+ attorneys) for open positions and advancement opportunities, but also demonstrate that diverse attorneys make up a meaningful percentage of those currently serving in leadership and governance roles. Frost Brown Todd has recommitted to the process and is currently seeking certification under the latest iteration of the program, which annually introduces new or expanded requirements based on evolving best practices. As part of the program, the firm has also committed to participating in three-month, six-month and annual check-in surveys and data collection requests, while also engaging in community building and knowledge sharing with other participating firms.

Stay Interviews

Many companies ask departing employees to sit for an exit interview to understand why the person has chosen to leave the organization. Frost Brown Todd is in the process of establishing the convention of “stay interviews.” This will enable us to better understand why lawyers remain with the firm and what might cause them to leave.

Community Engagement

The following organizations are among those we routinely and adamantly support:

  • Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals (ALFDP)
  • CBA LGBT Committee
  • CEO Action Signatories
  • Equality Ohio
  • Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
  • Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP)
  • Women in Law Empowerment Forum
  • Pride Parade Corporate Sponsor


Frost Brown Todd’s forward-looking leadership in the legal DEI space is evident in the adoption of our newest pillar—Belonging—making us one of the first law firms to not only hire a Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Belonging Officer, but to also formalize efforts specifically targeted to engaging the whole of firm in the responsibility we have to elevate the systems and structures supporting employee engagement, well-being, and active allyship in the workplace. We are confident these updated priorities, and the level of engagement they’ve generated, will continue to bolster the retention of talent vital to the firm’s success and to our ability to serve clients in an increasingly intersectional economy.


Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Belonging Committee

Kristen N. Cody Profile Image
Kristen N. Cody


Louisville, KY

Julie H. Cole Profile Image
Julie H. Cole

Chief Marketing Officer

Cincinnati, OH

Cleve J. Glenn Profile Image
Cleve J. Glenn


Houston, TX

Ryan W. Goellner Profile Image
Ryan W. Goellner


Cincinnati, OH

Miles R. Harrison Profile Image
Miles R. Harrison


Louisville, KY

Kristin J. Hibbard Profile Image
Kristin J. Hibbard

Chief Human Resources Officer

Indianapolis, IN

Christopher L.  Johnson Profile Image
Christopher L. Johnson

Chief Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Belonging Officer

Lexington, KY

Louisville, KY

Kimberly K. Mauer Profile Image
Kimberly K. Mauer

Women's Initiative Committee Chair

Cincinnati, OH

Derrick L. Maultsby Jr. Profile Image
Derrick L. Maultsby Jr.

Senior Associate

Pittsburgh, PA

Neha M. Matta Profile Image
Neha M. Matta


Cincinnati, OH

Catherine S. Meulemans Profile Image
Catherine S. Meulemans


San Francisco, CA

Harlan W. Robins Profile Image
Harlan W. Robins


Columbus, OH

Morgan L. Smith Profile Image
Morgan L. Smith

Chief Legal Talent Officer

Indianapolis, IN

Jason C. Williams Profile Image
Jason C. Williams


Louisville, KY

Allyse E. Wirkkala Profile Image
Allyse E. Wirkkala

Managing Associate

Indianapolis, IN

Ruben A. Smith Profile Image
Ruben A. Smith

Office Partner-in-Charge

Santa Ana, CA


Explore our latest D&I-related press releases, insights and awards.

Follow our journey.

Subscribe to our IDEB mailing list for updates.