ROCKVILLE, MD (July 20, 2022) — Stein Sperling is welcoming a new second-year law student as part of the Summer Scholars Pipeline Program, an initiative of the Montgomery County Bar Association to promote the hiring and success of diverse law students and attorneys.
Ritozeh Saingbe, a second-year student at the University of Baltimore School of Law, is working at the Rockville-based firm as a 2022 summer associate.
Each year Stein Sperling participates in the Summer Scholars program and today has three attorneys from the program employed as full-time associates: Eduardo S. Garcia, the first Summer Scholar to be named a partner with the firm; Naila A. Herrera, now with the firm’s personal injury practice; and Nidhi P. Patel, specializing in business law and a member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland. Bethel B. Etta, previously a student at The George Washington University Law School and a Stein Sperling summer associate, begins in September as the firm’s fourth full-time attorney from the program.
“Our DEI initiatives have positively impacted our work culture as well as how we serve our clients and communities,” says Managing Partner Jeff Schwaber. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion are core principals at Stein Sperling, and will continue to take positive and meaningful steps to promote and elevate these principals wherever and however we can.”
A Passion for Advocacy
“For my whole life I’ve wanted to be an advocate and speak on behalf of others,” says Saingbe, who studied neuroscience and psychology at Syracuse University with the goal of becoming an advocate in the mental health field. After Syracuse, she enrolled in the pre-med program at Fordham University but later decided on a different path: “Ultimately, I decided my passion for advocacy could be better pursued through a career in the legal profession.”
Law represents a personal connection for Saingbe as her father was a lawyer in Nigeria before the family moved to New Jersey, where she was born, and later to Connecticut.
“So far I have fallen in love with the atmosphere at Stein Sperling and the family feeling. Everyone here is so humble and willing to get me involved in everything,” she said.
But it’s the evidence of success – Eddie Garcia’s rise from Summer Scholar to associate in 2014 and most recently to partner earlier this year, that proves the value of the Montgomery County initiative.
“Just to see the trajectory of someone who has been in my role before and has now made it is very inspiring,” she says of Garcia. “It’s proof that you can start from the bottom and still make it to where you want to go.
‘Not Just Checking the Boxes’
“I look at Eddie and say that can happen to me if I work hard, work smart and apply myself every day; it’s a possibility for me too.”
Known for offering a powerful voice for his clients, Garcia centers his litigation practice on business controversy and employment disputes. He also serves on the Diversity Executive Committee for the Bar Association of Montgomery County.
“I like helping others find these opportunities – there is value in building a diverse team,” said Garcia, who also serves on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association. “It’s not just checking the boxes, it brings a different perspective to the firm and ultimately brings more insights and value to our clients.”
For more information on Stein Sperling’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) program, visit https://steinsperling.com/home/about-us/diversity-equity-and-inclusion/