Diversity: Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP


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            Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

Diversity at Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP

At Edwards Wildman, our goal is to continue to increase the diversity of our workforce by actively hiring, developing, retaining and advancing the best lawyers and staff from a wide range of backgrounds. We believe that we can only provide our clients with the best possible representation if we reflect the diversity of the clients and communities we serve.

We know that diversity in the Firm makes us better lawyers by enabling us to bring a wide range of perspectives and life experiences to the work we do. It enhances our ability to recruit the best possible candidates for our summer program and each new class of entering associates, as well as lateral associates and partners, and it contributes directly to the strength of our Firm. 

The firm is exceptionally proud of our Partner and Chief Diversity Officer, Paulette Brown, who received the prestigious Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award in 2011 conferred each year to just five lawyers in the United States from the American Bar Association's Commission on Women in the Profession as well as the American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Award in 2007. The Spirit of Excellence Award was established by the ABA Commission of Ethnic & Racial Diversity to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments of lawyers who work to promote a more racially and ethnically diverse legal profession. Awards are presented to lawyers who excel in their professional settings; who personify excellence on the national, state, or local level; and who have demonstrated a commitment to racial and ethnic diversity in the legal profession.

Diversity Committees
Our firm-wide Teamwork & Diversity Committee (TDC) provides leadership for our long-term efforts to enhance diversity within our firm. The TDC is charged with establishing policies that promote and support diversity and teamwork, and devising strategies and tactics to effectuate those policies. To support local initiatives, we have also formed Diversity Committees in each of the firm’s offices. 

The firm has also formed four Affinity Groups. Our Hispanic/Latino Group led by Louis Mercedes, Asian American Group led by Huhnsik Chung, GLBT Group led by Matthew McTygue and African American Group led by Paulette Brown, meet in informal settings on a regular basis to discuss a variety of different causes and issues.

Diversity Initiatives
Our goal is not merely to increase the diversity of our workforce. We also strive to recognize, embrace, and celebrate our different life experiences and perspectives so that we can better serve our clients, continue to promote teamwork, and enhance our understanding of different backgrounds, values, beliefs and points of view. In order to meet our goals, the firm has solicited the help of diversity consultants to assist us in our diversity initiative. Together, we have developed information sessions, discussion groups, attorney and manager interviews, and diversity training workshops designed to help each of us broaden our understanding of how a more diverse workplace can strengthen the firm for both our clients and ourselves.

Edwards Wildman participates in minority job fairs and outreach efforts throughout the US and the UK. For decades, the firm has actively recruited lawyers of all backgrounds. We are proud of the diversity among our attorneys in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, educational background and other life experiences.

Retention and Development
We understand that recruiting talented new lawyers is meaningless if they don’t learn and thrive across the full range of professional skills, from substantive legal knowledge and technical proficiency to client relationships and practice management. Toward that end, we offer our associates a full-spectrum professional development program led by a full-time professional who also serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee. This program includes mentoring and training in the practice of law as well as diversity issues. This provides our new attorneys with a supportive environment and a meaningful professional experience. 

The firm’s ability to recruit, advance and retain attorneys is enhanced by a strong commitment to policies and programs that support both women and men seeking to balance professional and family life:

  • Generous maternity and paternity leave
  • A policy that enables attorneys to work part-time or flex-time while still maintaining the quality of work and partner and client relationships necessary to stay on track for partnership
  • Mentor program
  • Emergency day-care or family emergency leave
  • Domestic partner benefits

Pro Bono and Civic Involvement 
The firm’s commitment to diversity is consistent with our abiding commitment to issues of social equality and justice, and our tradition of active engagement in our communities.

For example, the firm is a long-standing supporter—both financially and in active service—of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, which focuses its efforts on issues of racial discrimination and racial violence, as well as supporting the efforts of minority entrepreneurs.  We regularly prosecute claims of racial discrimination on behalf of the Lawyers’ Committee, and are currently handling cases involving discrimination by a major airline and several leading retailers. A partner of the firm currently serves as the Chair of its Board of Directors.

We are proud of our many other engagements on issues of racial equality and justice, including our involvement in landmark affirmative action and civil rights litigation:

  • Submitted amicus briefs on behalf of two long-standing university clients supporting the University of Michigan in both recent affirmative action cases decided by the United States Supreme Court. 
  • Submitted a key amicus brief to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, in which Massachusetts became the first state to recognize a state constitutional right to marriage for gays and lesbians.
  • In the wake of Goodridge, represented city and town clerks who challenged the governor’s efforts to preclude the marriage in Massachusetts of gay and lesbian couples from other states.

Our attorneys are leaders in the following national and regional organizations:

  • American Bar Association Commission on Women in the Profession
    Member of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, whose mission it is to secure the full and equal participation of women in the ABA, the legal profession and the justice system.
  • American Bar Association Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice
    Past Chair of the ABA Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice, comprised of eleven members appointed by the ABA President and committed to educating and involving lawyers and their bar associations in eliminating racial/ethnic bias in the justice system and in their communities.
  • Association of Black Women Lawyers of New Jersey
    Past President of the Association, which is dedicated to improving social and economic outcomes for black women in the pursuit of the benefits of a democratic society.
  • Association of Professional Insurance Women
    Past President of APIW, an organization that provides women in the insurance industry with professional development and assistance in advancing their careers.
  • Black Solicitors Network (BSN)
    London participates in surveys and advertises for trainees in their publications.
  • Boston Lawyers Group
    Founding member of Boston Lawyers Group, an organization dedicated to helping its member law firms identify, recruit, advance and retain attorneys of color. We participate in its mentoring and mock interview programs, the college intern summer program and two annual minority job fairs. The Firm has co-hosted an associate training workshop and participated in BLG's recent Retention Summit, at which our partner, Paulette Brown (co-author of the ABA's Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms ), was the featured speaker.
  • British Nigeria Law Forum (BNLF)
    A London partner is the Honorable Treasurer of the forum.
  • Delegation of Lawyers, Democratic Elections in South Africa
    Led the Delegation of Lawyers to monitor the first democratic elections in South Africa.
  • Equality and Diversity Committee
    Part of the Equality and diversity committee established by the UK Law Society. Partaken in the Diversity Charter roundtable consultation.
  • International Women's Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation
    Founder of this organization that expands opportunities for women in the insolvency and restructuring profession, as well as awareness of the impact of insolvency on women and children internationally. Received Corporate Legal Times' "Distinguished Legal Services Award."
  • Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award Luncheon 
    Chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s Annual Award Luncheon honoring the accomplishments of women lawyers who have excelled in their field and have paved the way to success for other women lawyers.
  • Minority Environmental Law Association
    Advisory Board member of MELA, an organization focusing on issues of environmental justice.
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
    Two Past Presidents and the current Vice-President of the Asian American Lawyers Association of Massachusetts, an affiliate of NAPABA. Member of the NAPABA Board of Governors (Northeast Regional Governor).
  • National Association of Women Judges
    Gold Sponsor of the highly successful National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) Landmark Sponsorship Program, which helps to provide critically, needed support for NAWJ events and programs.
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
    Committee Chair of NAWL, the oldest association of women lawyers’ in the country.
  • Statement of Diversity Principles of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York
    As a signatory, our Firm underscores its commitment and encourages other law firms to foster diversity in the legal profession.
  • The Partnership
    Sponsor of The Partnership, a career mentoring and leadership organization dedicated to working with its corporate partners to attract, retain and advance professionals of color in the Boston area.
  • Thurgood Marshall Summer Law Internship Program, Association of the Bar of the City of New York
    Active participant in this internship program that places inner-city high school students with legal employers for the summer.
  • Women in Insurance and Reinsurance
    Hosted events for the Women in insurance and Reinsurance in our London office.
  • Women of Color Research Initiative
    Co-Chair of the Initiative, an ABA Commission on Women in the Profession program providing a comprehensive analysis on the unique concerns and experiences of Hispanic, African-American, Native American and Asian American women in the legal profession.  The results of this study were recently released in a report titled Visible Invisibility: Women of Color in Law Firms (co-authored by one of our partners).
  • Women’s Association of Venture & Equity
    Co-founders and Board members of WAVE, a not-for-profit association whose mission is to advance women professionals in the private equity and venture capital industries.
  • YWCA
    President of the YWCA of Central New Jersey, whose mission it is to eliminate racism and empower women.

Our firm is deeply committed to maintaining a culture in which teamwork, civility, compassion and respect for one another are prized. The firm’s professional development programs are designed to emphasize those values, with one goal being to ensure that all our professionals understand and participate in addressing the barriers to entry and advancement so often encountered by women and people of color in our profession. Through its scheduled in-house programs and by sponsoring, hosting, organizing or serving as panelists and moderators for bar association and other training, the Firm directly supports those serving on the front line. Among the firm's diversity targeted programs:

  • BLG associate training workshop offered to associates of color from BLG’s member firms, hosted by the firm’s Boston office.
  • Charting Your Own Course Minority Career Development Conference, an annual three day intensive conference co-founded by Werten Bellamy (the founder of Stakeholders), attended in 2006 by five of the firm's associates of color.
  • The firm Women’s Leadership Forum that convenes at WIC’s annual women’s retreat, including panels and workshops organized by partners and associates, outside speakers and social time designed to encourage personal and professional relationships within the Firm and the development of “networking” skills.
  • Enrollment each year of two promising associates of color in The Partnership’s leadership development programs.
  • Educational and career development programs hosted and/or sponsored by the firm with the Women’s Bar Association and National Association of Women Lawyers, in which our partners and associates participate as organizers, moderators and panelists.

We encourage, sponsor and financially support membership in a variety of organizations that promote the career development of minority professionals, including:

  • Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting
  • Asian Bar Group
  • Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence
  • Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
  • Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting
  • Center for Women and Enterprise
  • Gay and Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
  • Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce
  • Hispanic National Bar Association
  • Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity (Connecticut)
  • Mass Association of Hispanic Attorneys
  • Massachusetts Lesbian and Gay Bar Association
  • Minority Corporate Counsel
  • National Association of Securities Professionals and Women in Management
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • National Bar Association
  • National Conference for Community and Justice
  • National Lesbian and Gay Law Associations
  • New England Human Rights Campaign
  • New England Latin American Business Council
  • Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project
  • Springboard Enterprises
  • Women’s Bar Association

We are proud of our commitment to diversity, which we believe has made our firm stronger and more vibrant, while contributing to the highest quality of legal services. We recognize that achieving our mission is only possible if our firm reflects the diversity of our clients, communities, and national and global economies.  Our continuing efforts are a natural extension of the firm’s abiding interest and engagement in the legal and related social issues facing minorities throughout the country.