Diversity Leaders

Diversity Leaders

Our commitment to diversity is reflected at every level of the firm:

  • Susan Murley became the firm’s first female co-managing partner in 2012, serving until 2023
  • Former Co-Managing Partner Bill Lee is Chinese-American
  • Diversity among our attorneys includes (as of May 1, 2021):
    • US equity partners: 27% are women, 15% are attorneys of color and 2% identify as LGBTQ
    • US counsel: 35% are women, 6% are attorneys of color and 2% identify as LGBTQ
    • US associates: 53% are women, 32% are attorneys of color and 7% identify as LGBTQ
  • Diversity in key leadership positions include:
    • Management Committee: 40% women and 13% attorneys of color
    • Compensation Committee: 44% women and 15% attorneys of color
    • US Department and Practice Leaders: 28% women and 16% attorneys of color
    • US Office Heads: 43% women and 29% attorneys of color

*All numbers are rounded to the nearest whole number. These figures use the National Association for Law Placement definitions of each title; “associate” numbers are comprised of the WilmerHale titles: associates, senior associates and counsel; “counsel” numbers are reflective of our “special counsel” title.

WilmerHale has long been a leader in efforts to diversify the legal profession. This leadership has been spearheaded by lawyers such as John Pickering, who played a major role in integrating the bar in the District of Columbia; John Hamilton, who for years served as chair of the Boston Lawyers Group; and John Payton, who was lead counsel for the University of Michigan in successfully defending the use of race in undergraduate and law school admissions (he also served as director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund). Over the years, attorneys of color have served as managing partner and assistant managing partner of the firm, as members of our management and hiring committees, and as practice leaders.

Diversity Leadership Committees

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  • Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee


    Any meaningful commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion must start with firm leadership. Our Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) is chaired by our co-managing partners and is composed of legal department and practice leaders, office managing partners, and other key stakeholders. The EDIC sets goals that extend to all members of our firm related to recruiting, developing and retaining diverse lawyers; strengthening our culture of inclusion; tying partner compensation to demonstrated diversity efforts; revisiting our evaluation, mentoring and benchmarking programs; and revamping our work assignment process.

  • Office/Regional Diversity Committees


    Our EDIC works closely with the firm’s local Diversity Committees in Boston, New York, Washington DC and our western US offices, and with our Director of Diversity and Inclusion. Each local committee fosters informal mentoring, relationships across practices, and a range of diversity programs and initiatives. The Diversity Committees also support our affinity groups and sponsor our lawyers’ attendance at diversity-related conferences and other professional development opportunities.

  • Committees' Focus


    These committees focus on:

    • working with firm leaders to ensure the continued effectiveness of our mentoring program and work assignment process;
    • promoting accountability by providing firm leadership with regular reports that track the progress of the firm’s diversity initiatives;
    • creating substantive programs designed to enhance the firm’s retention and advancement efforts;
    • providing lawyers with networking opportunities through affinity group activities and a variety of internal and external programs;
    • using our Diversity Speaker Series to expose the firm community to prominent lawyers in academia, private practice and the public sector, and to a range of diversity-related topics;
    • encouraging and sponsoring participation in bar associations, pro bono matters and other community service–related activities;
    • furthering diversity in the legal profession by hosting panel discussions and receptions for law students and diversity–related organizations;
    • participating in initiatives that improve the diversity pipeline by providing students with early exposure to law school and the practice of law (e.g., Law Preview and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity);
    • and showcasing our diversity program to clients, law students and other organizations interested in our efforts.


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