When I joined the Hale and Dorr firm out of law school in 1976, I was not only the only Asian-American at the firm, I was the only Asian-American lawyer in the city of Boston. Although workplace diversity would not become a strategic priority on any law firm’s agenda for some time, I was blessed to find a supportive group of colleagues who provided me with mentoring, training, fair evaluations, and wide-ranging and challenging professional opportunities. Through these efforts and countless others, my colleagues made me feel appreciated and included, which helped pave the way for my success as a lawyer.

These values of inclusion, support and respect of which I have been a grateful beneficiary are at the heart of the implicit compact that we share with each other as colleagues at WilmerHale. They are also the foundation of our dedication to promoting diversity throughout the firm.

We firmly believe that competitive success for a global law firm in the twenty-first century requires a commitment to diversity that starts at the top and courses through the firm at every level. Our success and improvement in this area will help us to recruit and retain the very best available talent, raise our profile with an increasingly diverse and global client base, and cultivate an environment in which every person is able to do the best work possible, strengthened by our different perspectives, backgrounds and life experiences.

It is perhaps easy for words on diversity to seem like empty platitudes but we don’t rest on words alone. We are undertaking the serious work required to translate words into action. Together we are making meaningful progress towards the creation of a culture of open communication, inclusion and respect in which all of our colleagues can reach their full potential.


William F. Lee

More on diversity at WilmerHale.

Read WH Dimensions - A Diversity and Women's Leadership Quarterly Publication