On March 2, the Student Bar Association presented Montgomery McCracken partner David Blum with the 2016 Diversity Award. The ceremony and reception came in the midst of the law school’s Diversity Days Celebrations, two weeks of events that ranged from a roundtable on refugees in Europe to an open forum on diversity at school and work.
Blum, a real estate finance lawyer, mentor and advocate for inclusion at Montgomery McCracken and in Philadelphia’s legal community, accepted the award in front of family, friends, colleagues and students—including 3L Ernest Holtzheimer, who when introducing the honoree recalled anxiously awaiting a phone call from Blum after an interview for a summer associate position.
In his remarks, Blum reflected on a few of the experiences that have informed his understanding of privilege—white privilege in particular—and appreciation of diversity. He spoke about childhood, meeting students “who were very different from us” during frequent visits to the southwest Philadelphia classrooms where his mother and grandmother taught, and about being denied a job in spite of being the first-choice because of uncertainty about how a Jewish associate would fit in at the firm.
“It’s been very useful for me to be able to put myself in other people’s shoes,” he said, “and to use my experiences to try to help our firm, the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group and other groups think about programs, mentoring opportunities, and ways to make law firm life and environments more inclusive, comfortable and welcoming.”