Most of Willkie’s efforts in the area of diversity and inclusion are coordinated through our Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which has been in place for more than two decades and meets regularly to address matters related to the recruitment, retention, promotion and career development of our diverse attorneys. The Committee – made up of associates, counsel and partners and firm management – is headed by the firm’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, Kim A. Walker, who is also Special Counsel in the Intellectual Property Department.
Our diversity and inclusion efforts have included engaging a diversity consultant to foster diversity awareness and improve the partner-mentor program and assigning system. The consultant conducts periodic diversity training for all attorneys and staff managers in our New York and Washington offices. We also sponsor luncheons, summer associate gatherings and other events that celebrate the firm’s diversity and foster relationships among our attorneys.
Other recent initiatives include:
- Hosting a Build-A-Bike event to benefit the Legal Aid Society. A diverse team of associates was paired with partners to participate in team-building exercises, resulting in the assembly of 12 bicycles. We then gave the new bikes to 12 boys and girls who needed them.
- Initiating a cross-office mentoring program through which associates in our DC office are paired with diverse partners in our NY office, resulting in a successful career development program.
- Members of the Executive Committee take diverse associates on one-on-one lunches, fostering interaction between the associates and firm leadership and leading to strong work relationships.
- A mentoring program with Eagle Academy for Young Men, assisting them in preparing for state mock trial and moot court competitions. We prepare several college letters of recommendation for the participants and present one or two scholarships at the graduation ceremony.
In addition, Willkie has established a Women’s Professional Development Committee to offer professional development programs and guidance to women attorneys as they navigate their way in the firm and the legal profession.