WilmerHale has hired Nimesh Patel from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to lead diversity and inclusion at the firm.
Patel started on May 23 as Director, Diversity and Inclusion, and is based in WilmerHale's Washington DC office. He works with the firm's management and diversity committees to develop and maintain the diversity and inclusion strategy at WilmerHale. He also aids in the recruitment, mentoring and career development of diverse attorneys at the firm, and in the creation of diversity-related programs.
Before joining WilmerHale, Patel served for nearly five years as Executive Director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion at DHS. He led diversity and inclusion initiatives involving DHS's 230,000 employees around the world.
“Patel's knowledge and strategic expertise on diversity and inclusion are unrivaled throughout the industry,” said Susan Murley, co-managing partner at the firm. “WilmerHale is lucky to have him, and we look forward to tapping into his ideas to further bolster our firmwide diversity and inclusion efforts.”
With stints in both the federal government and private practice, Patel has about 20 years of experience advancing diversity and inclusion issues. At DHS, he created and implemented the Department's first Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, which is still in use today. He also developed and led DHS's recruiting initiatives, including outreach to diverse communities for recent graduates through the Senior Executive Service.
“WilmerHale is known in the industry not just for its elite lawyers and management, but for its commitment to diversity and inclusion,” Patel said. “I'm eager to further solidify that reputation and develop ways to expand on it. The firm's management has made diversity and inclusion a top priority, and I look forward to working with colleagues throughout the firm to help WilmerHale achieve its current and future goals in this area.”
“We have made great strides at WilmerHale to ensure our firm is a leader in diversity and inclusion,” said Robert Novick, co-managing partner at WilmerHale. “But the challenge remains to maintain and expand on that success. Patel is a critical component in this effort.”
Patel most recently worked in government, but also spent six-and-a-half years in private practice Am Law 100 firms. His most recent experience in private practice was as a senior associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath where he was a member of the labor and employment practice with a specialty in corporate diversity counseling. His experience includes performing diversity risk assessments, developing diversity strategy and action plans and advising Fortune 500 companies and government agencies on their diversity and inclusion efforts. He began his legal career at the US Department of Justice through the Attorney General's Honors Program.
Patel earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University in multi-disciplinary studies and received a Juris Doctor degree from The Ohio State University. He also completed a Master of Business Administration degree from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Patel serves on the Board of Directors for Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) and is a former President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.