DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
DAVIS WRIGHT TREMAINE 2020 ANNUAL REPORT
Table of Contents
Introducing Yusuf Zakir
Diverse Leadership at Davis Wright Tremaine
Profiles in DEI
Awards and Recognition
2020 was an unprecedented year – a global pandemic, an economic downturn, a highly contentious election. In the summer of 2020, we witnessed the murder of George Floyd and a renewed call for racial justice. Across the country and around the world, people stood up, marched, and called for change. We, too, are committed to this journey, no matter how long it takes and no matter how difficult it may be. After all, we can—and we must—do difficult things. Change takes time. But we feel the urgency of now. As part of our commitment, we are actively and intentionally fostering an organization that is anti-racist and intentionally increasing our representation of people of color and other traditionally underrepresented groups. We are also contributing to our communities through pro bono and social justice work, projects we often undertake alongside our clients so that we can amplify each other's efforts as we learn and grow together. The vision for our DEI work is to continue fostering an organization and a culture where all talented individuals—including those who are traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession—can have, and can see, a path to success. This vision is built around four pillars: community, growth, education, and engagement. In this report, we highlight some of our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts over the last year. While we are proud of our efforts, we also recognize that we have work to do. We are committed to continuing to move this work forward, expeditiously and intentionally. Yours truly,
Chair, Executive Committee
Chair, Diversity & Inclusion
"WE, TOO, ARE COMMITTED TO THIS JOURNEY, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES AND NO MATTER HOW DIFFICULT IT MAY BE."
"WE MUST ALWAYS CONTINUE THE MARCH": I nt ro d u c i n g Yu s u f Z a k i r
Yusuf Zakir joined Davis Wright Tremaine as the firm's first Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer in late October 2020. Prior to joining the firm, Yusuf led and managed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts at two other large law firms. Before his leadership roles in DEI, he was a litigator and served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Virginia A. Phillips at the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. In this Q&A, Yusuf discusses his experiences in DEI, the firm's DEI priorities, and the evolution of these efforts in the legal industry.
What inspired you to devote your career to DEI in the legal industry?
The people who make up these organizations cannot leave their humanity at the office threshold. They bring it with them every day. We need to recognize that and appreciate it, and lead with empathy and grace. That makes us a better and more successful organization.
The answer to this question is deeply connected to my personal background. My parents are immigrants from East Africa – my father was raised in Kenya and my mother in Zanzibar. Their families had lived in East Africa for several generations, originally migrating there from India. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, my family immigrated to Canada, which is where I was born and spent most of my formative years. I grew up first generation in nearly every way. When I entered the halls of a big law firm for the first time, I very clearly and acutely experienced what it was like to be underrepresented. I observed equity gaps that widened over time, making it disproportionately more difficult for underrepresented populations to succeed in the legal profession. DEI was not only a personal passion, but it became a professional necessity. At the firm where I began practicing law, I was thankfully given a platform to devote myself to DEI work. This space has given me the opportunity to hitch my wagon to something bigger than myself and I'm grateful for it.
You have been in the DEI space for several years. What made you decide to come to DWT? There were many things that attracted me to DWT, but I'll focus on a few key ones. First, the firm has positioned the role at the C-suite, reporting directly to the Managing Partner. That is an important structural necessity and gives DEI visibility and access at the top levels of leadership. Second, the firm takes a holistic approach to its DEI efforts by including both lawyers and staff. This distinction allows us to focus on true inclusion across the organization. Third, the firm has a well-developed administrative infrastructure that really focuses on collaboration. There is a genuine opposition here to silos, and that resistance is absolutely critical to DEI work – it has to be embedded across the verticals of an organization for it to be successful. Across the board, folks here at the firm are eager to strengthen our DEI efforts, and I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to be of service.
How do you balance the deeply personal nature of this work with the focus on organizational change? This work is undoubtedly personal for me and for most who have committed themselves to this space. I find that most individuals who do DEI work do so because of their personal experiences and wanting to see better equity, and better outcomes, for underrepresented groups. I don't believe you can separate those personal experiences from the efforts to effect organizational change. Organizations are nothing more than combinations of people striving towards a common mission.
What are your top priorities at DWT? We are looking to advance our vision built on four pillars: community, growth, education, and engagement. Community involves fostering an environment and a culture that generates a sense of belonging, supports authenticity and intersectionality, and embraces and appreciates our differences. Growth speaks to building and recruiting
a diverse pipeline of talent and ensuring our professionals have equitable access to opportunities, information, and leadership. Education includes generating opportunities to learn about DEI in order to elevate our individual and collective consciousness. Engagement consists of collaborating with external stakeholders, including our clients, affinity bar organizations, and other external diversity organizations. Building this framework will require us to continue building a sustainable and scalable DEI structure and to embed these efforts in everything we do as an organization.
ABA Resolution 113 – which urges all legal service providers to expand and create opportunities for underrepresented attorneys – was adopted less than five years ago. Granted, DEI efforts began at law firms before that resolution was adopted. But it still gives you a sense of the timeline and where we find ourselves on that timeline. Because of the cadence of growth at a law firm, any efforts to effect change take time. It's certainly true that we've only seen marginal change over the last decade, but I do believe we are on the right trajectory.
What keeps you most optimistic as you look at today's political and cultural landscape?
How will you measure the firm's success? There are several ways to measure the success of DEI efforts. On the one hand, there is quantitative demographic data, which can be offered for the past and present and to demonstrate changes over time at different levels and in different groups of the organization. On the other hand, there is qualitative data that speaks more to inclusion and equity around factors like employee engagement, belonging, transparency, and personal growth. At the end of the day, however, the key metric of success is representation. Representation begets representation. When underrepresented groups are no longer underrepresented, this allows for more organic DEI growth that is fueled by the power of that representation.
I'm reminded of the historic presidential inauguration we just experienced. Despite political differences that may exist, we can all celebrate the glass ceilings shattered by Vice President Kamala Harris. She is the first in so many categories – first woman, first Black or South Asian woman, first woman of color, first Black or Asian person. Her achievements can be traced back to the work of Dr. King, John Lewis, and other civil rights leaders. It can also be traced back to the fight for women's suffrage and, particularly, the fight for women of color to have the right to vote. Kamala was born less than a year before the Voting Rights Act was passed and is now the vice president. That is incredible progress. And we achieved that progress through the actions of individuals over time who were committed to these efforts and paved the way for others. Change can sometimes be frustratingly slow, but we must always continue the march.
You have seen the legal industry's commitment to DEI evolve over time. Where is this work headed? In the broader history of law firms and law firm initiatives, the commitment to DEI is still comparatively new. For example,
Diverse Leadership at DWT* 50%
of our Executive Committee is diverse
of our Practice Group Chairs are diverse
of our Partners-in-Charge are diverse
of our Attorney Evaluation Committee is diverse
*Diverse includes women, ethnic minorities, LGBTQ, veterans, and attorneys with disabilities
PROFILES IN DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
A "Videogame Lawyer" With a Passion for Paying It Forward In a year that brought many challenges, one very bright spot for all of us at DWT was getting to celebrate Seattle partner Maya Yamazaki and her recognition by three influential organizations: • • •
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA): Best Lawyers Under 40. Minority Corporate Counsel Association: Rising Star. Puget Sound Business Journal: 40 Under 40.
The streak was impressive but not surprising to clients and colleagues who know Maya, her excellence, her leadership, and her generosity. Maya is a tech transactions lawyer. Her work includes helping videogame creators incorporate the IP of world-class companies and artists into the industry's most recognized gaming franchises. "With the support of the firm, I've built this practice at my own initiative," says Maya, "and had the freedom to take it any direction I wanted."
THE STREAK WAS IMPRESSIVE BUT NOT SURPRISING TO CLIENTS AND COLLEAGUES WHO KNOW MAYA Maya learned her client service ethic from her parents, who came to this country from Japan, founded a small print shop, and grew it through hard work. Maya is well known at the firm as a key voice on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Though her participation in NAPABA's annual meetings, she helped establish a new model for how the firm approaches diversity conferences, emphasizing opportunities for junior associates to promote themselves and their work to high-level clients. "I have reached a position of influence where I can help other similarly situated people be successful," says Maya. "That to me is my biggest accomplishment."
Defending First Amendment Rights at a Critical Moment The rights protected by the First Amendment have never been under more sustained attack. That's made the past few years a very busy time for our First Amendment litigators. Ambika Kumar is a key player in helping steer this team—and the firm at large. She was recognized this past year by the National Law Journal as a First Amendment Trailblazer.
AMBIKA’S WORK FREQUENTLY ADVANCES DEI CAUSES. The daughter of immigrant parents from India, Ambika developed a lifelong passion for combatting censorship as editor of her college newspaper. While still in her 30s, she became co-chair of our Media and Entertainment practice, whose top rainmakers are almost all diverse. She also helps promote a culture of inclusion as a member of the firm's Executive Committee. Ambika's work frequently advances DEI causes. She is currently challenging U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for selectively targeting outspoken immigration-rights activists for deportation. She also halted the Trump Administration's planned ban on TikTok, preserving the speech rights of millions of users who express themselves, and even earn a livelihood, on the video-sharing app.
Working to Close the Racial Wealth Gap and Build an Inclusive Firm Culture Danielle Toaltoan, an IP litigator in our New York office, was honored last year by Chambers & Partners, the publisher of highly respected guides to business lawyers around the world. Recognizing her multiple initiatives to help diverse attorneys and entrepreneurs, Chambers named her a "Highly Commended" Future Leader at the 2020 Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards.
"THESE ENTREPRENEURS ARE FANTASTIC AT BUILDING EACH OTHER UP... BUT THEY'RE ALSO LOOKING FOR OTHERS TO ADVISE THEM ALONG THE WAY." Danielle's efforts have included: •
Leading a group of 10 women attorneys who meet monthly to discuss career management, business development, time management, and self-advocacy. Launching a diversity and inclusion-focused book club in the New York office. Serving as an Office Diversity Ambassador to assist new diverse attorneys.
Danielle has also established a large network of Black women founders and helps to match them with diverse legal teams that can provide low-cost or pro bono services. "These entrepreneurs are fantastic at building each other up," says Danielle. "But they're also looking for others to advise them along the way. I'm happy to help them find good legal counsel who will understand where they're coming from."
C O M M U NIT Y
Fostering an environment and a culture that generates a sense of belonging, supports authenticity, and embraces and appreciates our differences.
This past year, in the face of unprecedented challenges, we found new ways to support and connect with one another. • A new Employee Disaster Relief Fund, underwritten by firm partners. • A record-breaking fundraiser for Food Lifeline. • Pro Bono Week family activities to celebrate Ruth Bader Ginsburg. • A virtual poker tournament in place of an in-person holiday party. Our diverse attorneys and staff were particularly resolute in their efforts to overcome the distance imposed by the pandemic. They took creative steps to strengthen their connections and elevate everyone's potential.
Attorneys of Color Virtual Meetups These were critical times for our attorneys of color to be able to find and sustain each other. Our Attorneys of Color Affinity Group stepped up with a virtual conversation series over the summer that spanned politics, justice, and career intelligence. They also held virtual happy hours and game nights. A new smartphone app is helping them connect, share, learn, and refer business.
LGBTQ+ Affinity Group Takes Pride Online Our LGBTQ+ Affinity Group has become a hub for LGBTQ+ clients, law students, and allies on both coasts. As Pride Month went virtual last year, the group connected online, with a dynamic discussion of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Affinity group co-chair John LeCrone was also a featured speaker on "The Power of Employee Resource Groups" at the 2020 Lavender Law Conference, the largest LGBTQ+ legal conference in the country.
Women's Affinity Group ELEVATE Summits "OUR FIRM CAN'T WAIT FOR THE PROFESSION AS A WHOLE; WE HAVE TO LEAD AND ACCELERATE OUR OWN EFFORTS TO ACHIEVE GENDER PARITY." The keys to building a successful, fulfilling legal practice aren't so easily known. That's why our Women's Affinity Group launched the ELEVATE program—daylong events for our women associates and counsel that deliver practical guidance on how to build a partner-level practice. Discussion topics include: navigating career challenges, fostering client relationships, law firm economics, and effectively advocating for oneself. "Our firm can't wait for the profession as a whole; we have to lead and accelerate our own efforts to achieve gender parity," says women's affinity group co-chair Bonnie MacNaughton. "Putting women in a position where they can be successful in their partner candidacy requires constant investment, starting when they're young associates."
Inclusion in the Time of COVID Our firm worked to support our people during COVID-19 and address their needs using a wide range of HR policies and benefits. These included: •
Flexible-schedule and reduced-hour work arrangements
A remote work allowance
Dependent/home care benefits
Improved search capabilities for daycare centers, nannies, sitters, and "learning pods"
Childcare tuition discounts
Robust and versatile tutoring and homework help
Tele-mental health resources
Establishment of new staff affinity groups for employees of color, LGBTQ+, women, staff with disabilities, and working parents.
Roll Credits: How A Diverse Team Supports Media Client Success With a client list that includes Amazon Studios, Apple TV+, HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central/Viacom, Facebook, and Netflix (among many, many others), DWT's media team provides legal guidance on an enormous range of content. And an increasingly large share of that content is spearheaded by diverse creators and/or targeted to non-majority audiences. For that content to succeed, it has be authentic. And that requires lawyers who operate comfortably and knowledgably in a multicultural setting.
"YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE AN EFFECTIVE ATTORNEY IF YOU CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE JOKES" "You're not going to be an effective attorney if you can't understand the jokes," says DWT partner Diana Palacios. She grew up in a mostly Latinx L.A. neighborhood and has built a practice that includes advising the producers and distributors of Spanishlanguage content, airing both in the U.S. and abroad. Diana says that in counseling her clients, deep sensitivity to context and nuance is essential. It allows her to provide appropriate advice on fair use, defamation, privacy, and more. "In some cases, the talent may feel like their creative vision will be better understood by someone who's seen the world through a lens that's similar to their own," says partner Alonzo Wickers. "And because our team is diverse—in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, religion, and other ways—we're able to be responsive to how clients want their project handled." Our media and entertainment clients also reach out for assistance with their "standards and practices"—the general guidelines for content from a social and ethical standpoint. This is an area of renewed focus and "where we can take the relationship a step further," says Diana. "It's not just legal questions."
DEI CASE STUDY
G ROW TH
Building and recruiting a diverse pipeline of talent and ensuring our professionals have equitable access to opportunities, information, and leadership.
Strengthening the Pipeline and Mitigating Implicit Bias in Recruiting
OUR GOALS, BY 2025
Throughout 2020, we worked to increase our pipeline of diverse attorneys—including personally meeting with and advising diverse law students across the country and recruiting from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. To help ensure equal opportunity, our recruiting team moved toward a model that embraces DEI best practices, including: •
Structured interviews, and
Blind review of writing assignments.
Double our number of Black and Hispanic/ Latinx partners Increase by 25% our number of associates and counsel from underrepresented groups
Establishing Accountability for Our Minority Recruitment Efforts Without accountability, good intentions can remain just that. That's why we were gratified to receive Mansfield Certification in 2020. Under the Mansfield Rule, firms pledge to ensure that diverse lawyers will make up at least 30 percent of the candidate pool for recruitment, governance roles, and equity partner promotions, as well as inclusion in formal pitches to clients.
The 12-month Mansfield Certification process resulted in improvement in our performance across the board:
Share of partners hired from underrepresented groups
Share of associates hired from underrepresented groups
Based on this success, we have begun deploying the Mansfield rule in staff recruitment as well.
Using Culture as a Bridge to Help Clients in Need When the Santa Clara County District Attorney raided the office of a California CPA named Jimmy Chen and charged him with multiple counts of tax evasion, many Chinese-Americans who had relied on Mr. Chen's advice were put in a difficult situation. For our San Francisco partner Jean Tom, this became an opportunity to provide vital legal services to a vulnerable community. Mandarin was informally spoken in Jean's home when she was growing up and she had refined her skills while in school. But she had never been called upon to use it much professionally—until her phone rang from some of Mr. Chen's clients.
THEY FELT THEY COULD SPEAK MORE CANDIDLY WITH ME IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE. "They all said they felt more comfortable sharing their predicament with me because I'm ethnically Chinese," says Jean. "And they felt they could speak more candidly with me in their native language." The work lasted for several years, but Jean was able to resolve her clients' legal matters with the California Franchise Tax Board. Says Jean: "I was grateful to be able to connect with this client population and build their trust, to use my culture as a bridge to successfully advocate on their behalf before a government agency."
DEI CASE STUDY
Seeding the Next Generation of Diverse Lawyers We are proud to offer an array of scholarships and fellowships that promote the advancement of diverse law student candidates. These include: •
1 L Diversity Scholarship Program: This past year we hired fellows in our Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Portland offices.
P re-Law Diversity Fellowship: A one-year fellowship for undergraduates.
G regoire Fellows Program: A program for University of Washington School of Law students, including paid summer internships with participating law firms and legal departments along with financial assistance for bar exam preparation.
J ohn Davis Diversity Endowed Scholarships: Significant financial assistance to first-year minority students attending the University of Washington School of Law.
P ride scholarship: Funding for an incoming LGBTQ law student in Oregon.
1 L Patent Scholarship: Open to diverse first-year law students with backgrounds in computer science, electrical engineering, and math.
Words from our 2020 1L Diversity Scholars Lauren Harris Georgetown University Law Center | Washington, D.C., office
"DWT CREATED OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT WITH ATTORNEYS AND BUILD MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS THAT WILL CONTINUE TO DEVELOP BEYOND THE SUMMER." Jade Harvey UCLA School of Law | Los Angeles office
"THE LEVEL OF MENTORSHIP I RECEIVED WAS INCREDIBLE." Julian McIntosh University of Michigan Law School | Portland office
"THE SUMMER PROGRAM GAVE ME HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE AND A CLEAR EXAMPLE OF WHAT IT TAKES TO WORK AND SUCCEED IN BIGLAW. THE ATTORNEYS SHOWED THEMSELVES TO BE DEDICATED PROFESSIONALS AS WELL AS CARING AND FUN PEOPLE TO WORK WITH."
Simone Smith Howard University School of Law | Seattle office
"EVEN IN A REMOTE ENVIRONMENT, IT WAS CLEAR THAT THE ATTORNEYS I WORKED WITH ARE DYNAMIC PROFESSIONALS EAGER TO PASS ON THEIR KNOWLEDGE. THE SUBSTANTIVE WORK I WAS SURPRISED TO RECEIVE HELPED ME BUILD A SOLID FOUNDATION FOR THE START OF MY LEGAL CAREER." Olalekan Sumonu Seton Hall University School of Law | New York office
"DWT ENSURED THAT MY SUMMER WAS AS EFFECTIVE AS IT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN-PERSON. I WAS ABLE TO MEET AND WORK WITH ATTORNEYS FROM ALL THE OFFICES. "
Coaching, Retention, Promotion Finding and hiring outstanding diverse talent is a critical first step. But we know that providing strong career guidance, a supportive culture, opportunities for advancement, and equitable paths to success are equally important. We have instituted a series of policies and initiatives to help promote professional growth and satisfaction among our lawyers and staff, especially those from underrepresented groups. Among these are: •
DEI billable hours credit policy.
Office-specific DEI committees.
Diverse attorney retreats focused on networking, skills-based training, and professional development.
ELEVATED TO PARTNER IN 2020 Equity Partner 50% women 12% attorneys of color Contract Partner 57% women 14% attorneys of color
On-demand professional coaching.
Customized career paths.
Parental leave transition program.
Practice group and firm mentors.
Extensive engagement with minority bar associations.
DEI Committee participation in setting the partnership candidate pool.
DEI Committee participation in partnership evaluation.
"I FEEL FORTUNATE TO HAVE SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO DRAW ON OUR FIRM’S DIVERSITY TO BETTER SERVE MY CLIENTS: IT’S AN ASSET THAT PAYS OFF IN SO MANY WAYS."
DEI CASE STUDY
Forging Client Relationships With Cultural Competency When one of Japan's largest engineering and construction firms decided to make its first Seattle real estate acquisition, DWT's Clayton Graham had all the legal expertise needed to handle the project, which involved a quarter-billion-dollar acquisition of an inprogress development project in Seattle’s urban core. But handling the matter also demanded fluency with traditional Japanese business culture. This client was the U.S. subsidiary of an enterprise that started out building shrines and was now in its 17th generation of family leadership. Fortunately Clayton could call on a colleague in the litigation practice, Ben Byer, whose background includes deep knowledge of Japanese language and law. Ben was able to advise Clayton on everything from client-dinner etiquette to the importance of board consensus. Since the successful deal close, the relationship has continued, with the client relying on our team for advice on real estate and land use matters in the Pacific Northwest. "My familiarity with Japanese culture was almost nil before this," says Clayton. "Ben helped provide the tools to forge a long-term relationship with this new client. I feel fortunate to have so many opportunities to draw on our firm’s diversity to better serve my clients: It’s an asset that pays off in so many ways.”
Words from Our Pre-Law Diversity Fellows: Fanny Castro
"THE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES FROM ALL THE LEGAL PROFESSIONALS WHO SHARED THEIR PATHS TO THEIR CAREER WERE BENEFICIAL AND INSPIRATIONAL."
"THE ADVICE, WISDOM, AND SUPPORT THAT I HAVE RECEIVED FROM THE MENTORS ARE INVALUABLE. THE CONNECTIONS I HAVE MADE THROUGHOUT THE PROGRAM ARE GENUINE AND EVERY CONVERSATION HAS BEEN IMPACTFUL."
A New Pipeline Program Conceived by Attorneys and Staff Last year, our largest office hosted an innovative, new competition called "Imagine the Impact." Teams of lawyers and staff in Seattle were challenged to come up with high-value, social-impact ideas that would be funded by the firm. The event was conceived and organized by our Seattle partner-incharge, Pete Johnson, together with Joanna Plichta Boisen, our chief pro bono and social impact officer. Four esteemed local judges presided over a pitch session and selected the winners. Our new Pre-Law Diversity Fellowship was among the projects selected and launched. It provides a cohort of undergraduates with a two-day career seminar, verbal skills workshop, fully funded LSAT prep course, and other support to enable them to explore a career in law. The program is co-sponsored by our clients, T-Mobile and Vulcan. One of our inaugural fellows has already been admitted to law school.
MOVING THE NEEDLE 2020 DWT summer associate class 83% diverse, 59% from underrepresented groups
How a Veteran Came to Treasure the First Amendment Before he was an associate at DWT, Caesar Kalinowski IV spent a decade in the United States Marine Corps. As part of a Veterans Day feature. The legal news site Law360 spoke to lawyers around the country, including Caesar, about what they've brought with them to the legal profession from their years of service. Here's what Caesar said:
"DEPLOYING MULTIPLE TIMES AS A SPECIAL OPERATIONS MARINE, I WAS FORTUNATE TO SEE THE RIGHTS AFFORDED INDIVIDUALS IN DOZENS OF COUNTRIES ACROSS THE GLOBE. EVEN COMPARED TO OUR WESTERN ALLIES, IT WAS OBVIOUS THAT AMERICA VALUED ITS CITIZENS' LIBERTY AND FREEDOM—EVEN WHEN IT FAILED IN PRACTICAL TERMS. ULTIMATELY, I REALIZED THAT THE GUARANTEES OF THE FIRST AMENDMENT—PROTECTING ONE'S RIGHT TO SPEAK, WORSHIP, ASSOCIATE AND PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FREELY— MADE ALL THE DIFFERENCE."
DEI CASE STUDY
Working to Create the Women Clients—and Women Lawyers— of the Future Our Project W initiative, founded and led by New York partner-in-charge Lynn Loacker, is dedicated to helping women build great companies. In cooperation with like-minded organizations across the country, Project W presents boot camps, pitch sessions, networking events, and more. These not only benefit the women entrepreneurs who participate but also provide a means to elevate the profiles of our up-and-coming women lawyers, especially those who are diverse. Last year, Project W helped present more than 60 events to support women founders—and lawyers across the firm played critical roles. For example: •
Katori Rameau, Danielle Toaltoan, and Jenna Rovira served as panelists at Project W's Women of Color Entrepreneurs Roundtable.
Rachel Marmor and Melanie VanSlavens presented at a series of weekly workshops on navigating the challenges presented by coronavirus.
Christina Chan was featured in the Puget Sound Business Journal discussing our SaaS Launch Lab, created in partnership with Microsoft M12.
Darby Allen, Dayna Nicholson, Jane Eckels, and Lyra Correa participated in Project W women's health roundtables.
ED UCATIO N
Generating opportunities to learn about DEI in order to elevate our individual and collective consciousness.
Creating DEI Heritage Awareness Over the course of 2020, our DEI team used the national heritage months to let everyone at our firm hear from diverse attorneys and staff about how they grapple with and celebrate their identities. These Q&As, posted on the firmwide intranet and on social media, provided powerful insights and made these months into something relevant and personal. Among those who offered their reflections was Emilio Gonzalez, a partner in our Employment Services Group in Los Angeles, who said:
"NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO PRESENT STORIES THAT OTHERWISE MAY REMAIN UNHEARD" "I remember watching a documentary about the Armenian genocide with my fifth grade class and being shocked not only by the horrible things done in the name of otherness but also by how utterly ignorant about it I had been, and would have remained, had there not been a decision to commemorate that event. Through that lens, National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to present stories that otherwise may remain unheard, to consider the common elements of many disparate traditions, to dispel assumptions, to challenge prejudices, to learn about history and to think critically about how history is presented. It provides a stage upon which to tell your story, and that is a powerful thing. That said, I must acknowledge that my relationship to National Hispanic Heritage Month is complicated. It risks painting Latinos with too broad a brush and trivializing the diversity of dozens of culturally distinct countries. It also risks identifying us as the 'other' rather than as an integral part of the American experience."
DEI CASE STUDY
Anti-Racism Education Initiatives Launched Across the Firm In response to the murders of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police, and the passionate demonstrations that took place this summer, our attorneys and staff needed to process, learn, advocate, and heal. This took many forms around the firm, including regular communications from firm leadership, conversations with staff across offices and departments, and teachings about how to support our colleagues.
OUR ATTORNEYS AND STAFF NEEDED TO PROCESS, LEARN, ADVOCATE, AND HEAL. •
Staff members in our Washington, D.C., and San Francisco offices worked with their respective Partners in Charge to organize officewide conversations on race, police brutality, and white supremacy.
Our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion provided extensive guidance on allyship, with links to videos, books, recordings, worksheets, and thought exercises. DEI Engagement Manager Amy Franklin presented the resources at a firmwide meeting.
Our Library & Research Services team launched a firmwide DEI book group in July. More than 200 attorneys and staff have read along and 100 have participated in Zoom discussions moderated by research staff. Our colleagues have been vocal in sharing experiences ranging from first-hand accounts of systemic racism to deeply personal connections to landmark civil rights efforts.
We were proud to join the Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance, which launched in June. More than 285 firms have become members and two summits have been held to provide training on antiracist work. DWT's Joanna Plichta Boisen co-chairs the Financial Institutions Committee.
EN GAG EM ENT
Collaborating with external stakeholders, including our clients, affinity bar organizations, and other external diversity organizations.
Partnering With Clients to Help Diverse Lawyers Advance We're fortunate to have strong relationships with clients who share our commitment to improving DEI in the legal industry. Among the many ways these clients lead is by providing early-career lawyers with mentorship and other professional development opportunities. These programs offer an invaluable window into the needs of inside counsel as well as guidance on advancing in the world of private practice.
Discover Financial recently invited diverse law firm associates to participate in a mentorship program with its in-house lawyers. The company's program focuses on three areas that the Discover legal team has determined are key to success within a law firm setting: (1) relationship building; (2) leadership; and (3) visibility. Two associates in our Washington, D.C., office had the honor of participating in the program's pilot year.
We have been a longtime participant in the Starbucks Diversity Mentorship Program, which pairs junior attorneys from diverse backgrounds with Starbucks in-house lawyers for advice on the practice of law, navigating legal work environments, and career development strategies.
Tyler Quillin Technology practice
"THE LEGAL FIELD IS UNIQUELY PLAGUED WITH BARRIERS, DYNAMICS, AND OBSTACLES THAT PEOPLE FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS ARE NOT AWARE OF. MY MENTOR HAS BEEN INTEGRAL IN HELPING ME SEE THINGS THAT I MAY HAVE NOT SEEN AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HELPING ME LEVERAGE MY CURRENT ASSETS AND SKILL SET TO ACHIEVE MY GOALS."
Silki Patel Financial Services practice
"MY MENTOR RECENTLY JOINED DISCOVER FROM A LAW FIRM AND I APPRECIATED HER ADVICE ON INCREASING MY VISIBILITY." Lyra Correa Privacy & Security practice
"I HAD A WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE."
Other DWT participants currently include Brent Droze, Daisy Dong, and William Wu.
Since 2017, the law division at U.S. Bank has run an innovative program called "Spotlight on Talent." It offers early-career lawyers a chance to showcase their expertise by giving a CLE to the full U.S. Bank legal department. Participants also get to connect with the client's legal team through a day of networking and meetings. U.S. Bank's outside law firms apply for the chance to participate in Spotlight on Talent and last year a team from DWT was selected. Seven of our associates—from four offices and five different practices—created and delivered a presentation entitled "Diversity and Inclusion in Coastal Big Law." They provided a candid, balanced exploration of the practical applications, best practices, and impact of DEI initiatives. In an email to the team, U.S. Bank general counsel James Chosy called the CLE "outstanding," adding: "You presented as real experts on DE&I and engaged with us on a very practical level. We learned a lot, including some things we can take away relative to our own Law Division program. You stood out as being prepared, capable, personable and enthusiastic—qualities we certainly look for in outside counsel. The future of your firm, and indeed the broader profession, is quite bright with the likes of you."
Maryam Casbarro, Privacy & Security
"AS A JUNIOR ATTORNEY, YOU DON'T USUALLY GET TO INTERACT IN A MEANINGFUL MANNER WITH SENIOR-LEVEL PEOPLE AT THE CLIENT. BUT THIS ALLOWED US ONE-ON-ONE CONTACT." Other presenters were Christina Antoun, Julianna Gerrick, Xiang Li, Jonathan Mark, Danielle Toaltoan, and Dsu-Wei Yuen. Maryam is continuing to work with contacts at U.S. Bank to develop a Spotlight on Talent alumni program.
Addressing the Racial Wealth Gap We partnered with clients, allies, and organizations across the country to address the persistent racial wealth gap in this country and to help unblock the road to success for Black businesses and entrepreneurs. Here are a few examples: •
1:1 With Black Founders. This past summer, we put out a call to investors, advisors, and experts in our Project W network to volunteer at least 30 minutes of their time to mentor a Black founder. The response was tremendous. We ended up connecting 70 mentors (including a dozen DWT lawyers) for sessions with more than 120 mentees.
Supporting Black Business in Consumer Packaged Goods. The CPG industry is a difficult space for any new company to break into—and even more so for companies from historically underrepresented groups. To start to overcome that challenge, we are one of nine professional service providers participating in The Empower Project, which will provide nearly $700,000 in services to a Black-owned CPG business with a high probability of success and potential to make a strong, positive impact on Black lives.
Fostering Inclusion in the Natural Products Space. We are one of 15 Early Adopter Companies in the J.E.D.I. Collaborative, a group of leading natural foods companies seeking to embed justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion into the food ecosystem. Our nationally ranked Food + Beverage team committed to a yearlong deep dive into J.E.D.I. issues. They and the other early adopters will present their findings, and roll out a model J.E.D.I. policy, in May 2021 at the natural products industry's biggest trade show.
Finding Common Language to Help Clients Recall the Unspeakable Joanna Plichta Boisen's family fled communist Poland in the late 1980s when she was six years old. Growing up as an immigrant in Federal Way, Wash., and seeing the hardships faced by her family and others— including the difficulty of accessing the legal system—made her realize she wanted to make a difference in the lives of the vulnerable. Joanna never imagined that her fluency in Polish would play a significant role in her practice, but it has been a gateway to aiding some of the most memorable clients of her career. At her previous firm, Joanna helped bring to Seattle a program under which the German government provides reparations to Holocaust survivors (many of whom live below the poverty line). Working in partnership with Bet Tzedek, she recruited and trained lawyers to help survivors apply for these benefits and represented numerous survivors herself.
"BEING ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH SURVIVORS IN THEIR NATIVE TONGUE WAS A GAME CHANGER." Says Joanna: "Being able to communicate with Holocaust survivors in their native tongue and talk to them about their cases, and then telling their incredible stories in a way that allowed them to get reparations and dignity from the German government, was a game-changer in terms of justice and equity." She continues to work on behalf of survivors and is raising her children to speak Polish as well.
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AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
"Working Mother" Best Law Firms for Women
Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality We were pleased to receive a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2020 Corporate Equality Index, recognizing the firm as one of the country's "Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality" for the seventh straight year.
In recognition of the firm's high numbers of women in leadership positions, family-friendly policies, and success in retaining and promoting women lawyers, DWT was named one of the country's Best Law Firms for Women by Working Mother magazine. This was the firm's seventh consecutive year on the list.
Gender Equity "Business of the Year"
The Diversity and Flexibility Alliance recognized DWT as a "Tipping the Scales" honoree for the second year. The award recognizes firms whose partner promotions included at least 50% women.
Recognizing the firm's "exemplary contributions" to increasing gender equity in the workplace, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce honored DWT with its 2019 Women in Business and Leadership Initiative "Business of the Year" award.
A "Ceiling Smasher"
WRBLSA Law Firm of the Year
In its 2020 Glass Ceiling Report, Law360 called DWT a "Ceiling Smasher" and ranked the firm #2 in the country (among firms of comparable size) for its percentage of women lawyers and women equity partners.
We were thrilled to be honored by the Western Region of the National Black Law Students Association at their 52nd annual gala in January 2020.
"Tipping the Scales" Award
Discover Financial Services, 2020 Legal Organization's Excellence in Diversity Award
AmLaw 200's Top 10 for Women American Lawyer named the firm to its annual A-List, placing DWT at #8 nationwide among the AmLaw 200 for percentage of equity partners who are women.
Recognition from clients is some of the most gratifying we can receive. Bradford Hardin, our relationship partner for Discover Financial Services, was pleased to accept this annual award at a firmwide meeting along with Chava Brandriss, Juliana Gerrick, and Silki Patel.
Mansfield Certification Plus We achieved "Mansfield Certification Plus" from DiversityLab, a leading promoter of diversity and inclusion practices in the law. The Plus status recognizes that in addition to Mansfield Certification, we reached at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation in a significant number of current leadership roles.
Pride Foundation, Equity Award for Community Philanthropy We were honored to receive this award from this Northwest community foundation, which works to advance equity and justice through grants, scholarships, sponsorships, public education, and advocacy.
WILEF Gold Certification For the tenth consecutive year, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum awarded DWT its Gold Standard certification, recognizing the firm's success in promoting women to positions of leadership.
Internal DWT Awards The Edward J. Davis Award, honoring a partner who has made exceptional efforts to advance diversity and mentorship of all attorneys, was given to Vid Prabhakaran in 2019 and Chip English in 2020. The Willard J. Wright Award, honoring a partner who demonstrates a commitment to the community, was given in 2020 to Laura Sack. The H. Stewart Tremaine Award, honoring a partner who exemplifies the role of a team player within the firm, was given in 2019 to Wendy Kearns.
Two Lawyers Draw on Discrimination's Painful Legacy to Empower Their Work It's well known that attorneys with diverse backgrounds are an asset to their legal teams. Law360 wanted to know "how those advantages play out in practice," so the publication put out a call for "examples of where diverse attorneys found their backgrounds beneficial to their work." Vidhya Prabhakaran, chair of our energy practice team, and Portia Moore, a partner in our Employment Services Group, were among those who submitted responses. However, when the section came out, Vid observed that, in most instances, the "advantage" being illustrated "rests on the fact that the lawyers quoted have either faced, experienced, or witnessed discrimination." He adds: "It is NOT a privilege to face, experience or witness discrimination—it's a burden. It's just that we should be proud that these minority attorneys are turning lemons into lemonade." Vid and Portia's comments were distributed firmwide and prompted deep conversation across DWT. Here are the stories they offered to Law360:
"I'VE SPENT MY LIFE HELPING MY DAD, A SOUTH ASIAN IMMIGRANT WITH A THICK ACCENT, BE UNDERSTOOD."
DEI CASE STUDY
Two Lawyers Draw on Discrimination's Painful Legacy to Empower Their Work
Vid: "I was working with a telecom client in requesting a policy change at the California Public Utilities Commission. In-house counsel was reticent to use one of her South Asian engineers as a witness, even though he had the most technical expertise, because she was concerned his thick accent would make him incomprehensible. I told her I've spent my life helping my dad, a South Asian immigrant with a thick accent, be understood. I was able to put both the client and the witness at ease with the rigors of testifying, and the PUC ultimately took the policy direction we advocated."
"I TOLD THE JURY ABOUT A TIME 40 YEARS BEFORE, WHEN I WALKED MY YOUNGER SISTER TO SCHOOL IN AN ALL-WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD" Portia: "I defended a case where it was alleged that the N-word was used repeatedly by a white manager against an African American employee. But the plaintiff could not remember details about when the slurs were uttered or who was present to hear them. In closing arguments, I told the jury about a time 40 years before, when I walked my younger sister to school in an all-white neighborhood and she was called the same offensive word by a number of boys. I was able to tell the jury what those boys looked like, the color of their hair, and what they were wearing. Because if something is as offensive as that, you don't forget. We won the case."
Joanna Plichta Boisen, chief pro bono and social impact officer at DWT, was honored with the 2020 APEX Pro Bono and Public Service Award by the Washington State Bar Association.
Bonnie MacNaughton, partner in our litigation practice in Seattle, was named a 2020 Litigation Trailblazer by the National Law Journal. Jenna Mooney, chair of the Portland employment practice group at DWT, was named to the 2019 class of "Women of Influence" by the Portland Business Journal. Jenna was also named Portland's 2021 Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.
Katherine Bolger, partner in our New York office, was named an MVP of the Year in Media & Entertainment by Law360. Cindy Caditz was named Seattle's 2020 Lawyer of the Year in Copyright Law by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.
Sheila Fox Morrison was named Portland's 2021 Lawyer of the Year in Trademark Law by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.
Julie Capell, a partner in our Employment Services Group, was named one of the Most Influential Women Attorneys in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Alexandra (Allie) Nicholson, national chair of DWT's Media, Entertainment & Intellectual Property practice, was named a 2021 Notable Woman in Law by Crain's New York Business.
Scott Commerson, a partner in our litigation practice, was named one of the Top Minority Lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Dayna Nicholson, a partner in our healthcare practice, was named one of the Most Influential Women Attorneys in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Camilo Echavarria, our Los Angeles partner–incharge and a partner in our Employment Services Group, was named one of the Top Minority Lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Diana Palacios, a partner in our media and entertainment practice, was named one of the Most Influential Women Attorneys in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Mary Haas, a partner in our litigation practice, was named one of the Most Influential Women Attorneys in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Alison Schary, counsel in DWT's media and entertainment practice, was named a 2020 Rising Star by both the National Law Journal and Law360.
Laura Handman was named Washington, D.C., 2020 Lawyer of the Year in First Amendment Litigation by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.
Victoria (Vicky) Slade, counsel in our Employment Services Group in Seattle, was named to the 2020 class of the Forty Best LGBTQ+ Lawyers Under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association.
Olivier Jamin, an associate in our environmental practice in Portland, was honored with the "Advancing Diversity" award from the Oregon State Bar's New Lawyers Division.
Rachel Strom, partner in DWT's media and entertainment practice, was named a Rising Star by the New York Law Journal.
Thomas Kim, an associate in our corporate practice in Portland, was honored with the 2020 Michael E. Haglund Pro Bono Award by the Multnomah Bar. Nancy Lapp, a partner in our real estate practice, was named one of the Top Minority Lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Sarah English Tune, chair of our national Corporate and Business Transactions practice and chair of DWT's executive committee, was named one of 2020's Most Influential Women in Mid-Market M&A by Mergers & Acquisitions magazine.
John LeCrone, a partner in our Employment Services Group, was named one of the Top Minority Lawyers in Los Angeles by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
LaVerne Woods was named Seattle's 2020 Lawyer of the Year in Nonprofit Law by U.S. News and Best Lawyers.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team Yusuf Zakir, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer (he/him) Tiffani Lambie, Director of DEI Operations (she/her) Jacky Sabin, Senior DEI Community Manager (she/her) Amy Franklin, DEI Engagement Manager (she/her) Sarah Hooper-Smith, DEI Coordinator (she/her) Urshula Dunn, DEI Assistant (she/her) Bahareh Samanian, Director of Lawyer Recruiting (she/her) Hiroko Peraza, Senior Manager of Attorney Recruiting and Inclusion (she/her) Dana Casterella, Diversity & Inclusion Recruiting Specialist (she/her) Martinelle Cole, Director of Professional Development and Training (she/her)
Diversity Executive Council Camilo Echavarria, Los Angeles Partner-in-Charge Chip English, Washington, D.C., Partner-in-Charge Jeff Gray, Managing Partner Wendy Kearns, Partner Lynn Loacker, DEI Chair; New York Partner-in-Charge Scott MacCormack, Partner Portia Moore, Partner; Co-Chair, African-American/Black Affinity Group Maya Yamazaki, Partner Martinelle Cole, Director of Professional Development and Training Amy Franklin, DEI Engagement Manager Kelli Kohout, Chief Administrative Officer Tiffani Lambie, Director of DEI Operations Jacky Sabin, Senior DEI Community Manager Bahareh Samanian, Director of Lawyer Recruiting Yusuf Zakir, Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer
Office Diversity Ambassadors
Affinity Groups Chairs
ANCHORAGE Anne Marie Tavella, Counsel Joe Reece, Partner
ATTORNEYS OF COLOR Vanessa Norman Jean Tom
BELLEVUE Kate Tylee Herz, Partner
WOMEN ATTORNEYS Jaime Allen Bonnie MacNaughton Cindy Caditz (Peer Mentoring Circles)
LOS ANGELES Jon Segal, Partner Valerie Gallo, Associate
LGBTQ ATTORNEYS John LeCrone Chip English
NEW YORK Danielle Toaltoan, Counsel John Magliery, Partner
VETERANS Brent Droze Matthew LeMaster Dan Szabo (staff)
PORTLAND Kaley Fendall, Partner Kevin Kono, Partner
SAGE-SENIOR ATTORNEYS Judy Keyes
SAN FRANCISCO Tahiya Sultan, Associate Suzanne Toller, Partner
FLEX SCHEDULE ATTORNEYS Sheehan Sullivan
SEATTLE Diane Butler, Partner Ken Payson, Partner Claudia Lin, Associate Naaz Hodjat, Associate WASHINGTON D.C. Patrick Curran, Associate Brian Hurh, Partner Shannon McNeal, Associate
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