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While Sex Discrimination Claims Put Some Employers on the Defense, a Local Law Firm Expands its Services to Employers Proactively Seeking to Create Diverse and Inclusive Workplaces

As sex discrimination allegations make front page headlines, one local woman-owned law firm is expanding its services to help employers avoid discrimination and boost their efforts to recruit, retain, and promote women, minorities, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Rensselaer-based Dowling Law, PLLC announced it will be adding affirmative action planning and auditing through its acquisition of Lake Associates, Inc.’s affirmative action consulting practice. This addition builds on Dowling Law’s current practice areas of labor and employment, corporate/business law, healthcare, and litigation and will include expansion of the law firm to Illinois.

Founded in 1994, Lake Associates and its principal, Diane Lustenader, have provided affirmative action and other consulting services in the Capital Region and across New York State, as well as Illinois. Affirmative action plans allow organizations to evaluate their recruiting, hiring, promotional, and other employment practices to ensure they are offering equal employment opportunities to a diverse pool of applicants and employees. Many organizations - including federal contractors - are required by contract to prepare annual assessments and plans to ensure equal employment opportunities.

“We represent a number of businesses and organizations that are committed to diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplaces, so this was a tremendous opportunity for us to expand our services to our existing clients and grow our client base,” said Joanmarie M. Dowling, Dowling Law’s Managing Member. “Lake Associates has been at the forefront of affirmative action planning for 24 years. and we are honored to continue their tradition of excellence.”

Diane Lustenader, Principal of Lake Associates, Inc., said, “We decided to seek a transition of our affirmative action services to another firm because we believe that a larger organization will allow our clients access to a wider array of services and more depth. We conducted a search talking with potential partners nationally and within New York’s Capital Region looking for an opportunity like this. Dowling Law shares our values and exceeded our hopes for a firm that will continue our reputation for excellence in providing affirmative action services.”

Dowling Law and Lake Associates have been working together since summer 2017 to ensure a smooth transition for both companies’ clients. Long-time Lake Associates employee, Debbie Rich, PHR, SHRM-CP, will also join the Dowling Law team as Senior Affirmative Action Analyst.

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