Diversity Achievements

Wilson Elser continues to promote attorney and professional involvement, applying an increasingly large number of resources behind our Diversity program. Firm leadership supports diversity initiatives through the Diversity Committee and encourages employee participation via a comprehensive publicity campaign.

Related initiatives and achievements follow:

  • We have participated in benchmarking surveys most notably including the Minority Law Journal’s Diversity Scorecard.
  • In collaboration with Wilson Elser’s partners in charge of hiring and the deans of participating law schools, the Diversity Committee identifies and recruits minority candidates.
  • We sponsored the NAPABA’s Annual Convention in 2011 and plan to repeat our sponsorship in 2012.
  • For eight consecutive years, Wilson Elser’s Albany office has sponsored a minority internship program.
  • We sponsor the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Metropolitan Black Bar Association of New York City, and the Chicago African American Women’s Lawyers Association.
  • We participate in the Vault Minority Corporate Counsel Law Firm Diversity System.
  • We annually conduct the Wilson Elser Women’s Networking Event for our female professionals and clients.
  • We support a National Attorney Orientation Program in which Committee members familiarize new attorneys to the firm’s diversity goals and initiatives and frequently initiate long-lasting mentoring relationships.
  • We actively embrace the Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago. Our sponsorship helps support the organization’s continued ability to award scholarships to deserving Illinois students and to promote excellence among attorneys of color. 
  • In honor of one of our clients, we recently donated $50,000 to a student with Downs syndrome and juvenile diabetes seeking a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • We will be sponsoring the Claims & Litigation Management Alliance’s Diversity Forum (December, 2012).

We are particularly proud of the activities of our attorneys that promote diversity through their endeavors in social action, volunteerism and education and that draw on their unique backgrounds of professional growth. Such achievements reassure our clients that they are served by a firm with an inclusive mindset and a rich array of talents:

  • Wilser Elser’s Diversity Committee has co-sponsored lectures and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) programs with the Westchester (New York) Women’s Bar Association and the Puerto Rican Bar Association. Jacqueline Hattar (Partner-White Plains) is the current co-chair of the WWBA’s Diversity Committee and co-founder of the WWBA’s Continuing Lecture Series on Diversity Initiatives in the field of law. The Diversity Committee has also collaborated with the WWBA on such programs as “A Judge’s Perspective on Diversity,”  “Successes and Challenges of Promoting Diversity in Law Schools and Throughout the Industry” and “The Effects of the Foreclosure Crisis on the Practice of Law: How to Avoid the Pitfalls,” the latter focusing on how the foreclosure crisis has impacted women.
  • For three successive years, Lori Semlies (Partner-New York Metro) has led fundraising for Girls, Inc., a national organization committed to “inspiring all girls to be strong, smart and bold.”  Wilson Elser is a consistent financial supporter of Lori’s efforts on behalf of Girls, Inc.
  • Kathleen Wilkinson (Partner-Philadelphia) has served for five years on the Pennsylvania Interbranch Commission on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness. Kathleen is also a board member of the Friends of Farmers, an organization committed to serving the local Hispanic community. She has worked tirelessly to protect the rights of all persons to have equal access to justice regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation.
  • In support of the Capital District Women’s Employment & Resource Center, Wilson Elser’s Albany office donated more than 500 items in keeping with the not-for-profit’s mission of advancing women’s success in the workplace by building their economic and personal independence. Partner Peter Lauricella has been involved with the organization for many years, as a former board member.
  • Many of our attorneys have also served in leadership roles with various bar associations and other professional organizations that advocate the interests of diverse groups of attorneys and related communities. These organizations include the African American, Asian American, Hispanic, National Asian Pacific American and Korean American bar associations. In addition, Wilson Elser is an active participant and sponsor of the efforts led by the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), the nation’s oldest and largest bar association of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender persons in the field of law.