In the 1996 campaign for Congress in New Jersey’s seventh district, GOP incumbent Bob Franks made an issue of the hiring practices of a law firm run by his Democratic challenger, Larry Lerner. The Westfield firm, Lerner, David, Littenberg, Krumholz and Mentlik, with more than 25 lawyers, had no women employed as attorneys. Lerner responded that he was a patent and intellectual property lawyer, and since that specialty required some engineering background, it was hard to find qualified women. Not great spin; Franks won, easily.
Eleven years later, Lerner is now Of Counsel to the firm that continues to bear his name. Of the 59 lawyers listed on the Lerner David website, seven are women. But all 22 partners are white men.
And the firm now has one less white male lawyer: Assemblyman Michael Doherty left recently after several years with the firm. Doherty is expected to seek the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate next year.