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Seattle

Diversity is one of the core values at Davis Wright Tremaine, and is central to our recruiting, retention, and purchasing efforts.

For complete information on our firm’s recent diversity actions, as well as firm statistics, please see our latest Diversity & Inclusion Report and visit DWT Diversity.

Providing Scholarships for Diverse Students
Started in 2002, our 1L Diversity Scholarship Program offers a paid summer clerkship and $10,000 scholarship in several office locations.  It is open to diverse first-year law students who have a record of academic achievement and who are committed to civic involvement and promotion of diversity. Recipients of the scholarship include several of our attorneys.

Our paid summer clerkships offer a valuable opportunity for soon-to-be lawyers to try out several areas of law, work in a team environment, and build on the skills that will make them successful. We take the time to train and mentor our summer clerks in both substantive skills and professionalism so that they can hit the ground running as first-year associates.

Hosting a Diversity Summit for Legal Executives
Initiative 200, which was passed by the voters of Washington state in 1998, outlawed the use of race in college admissions and also barred state agencies from considering race in hiring. There have been ongoing efforts to repeal the law, so far without success. For its 2016 Legal Executives Diversity Summit, the Washington Initiative for Diversity chose to explore the ramifications of I-200 on law school admissions and develop strategic plans to counter the long-term effects on the legal profession. DWT was a lead sponsor of the event and hosted it at our Seattle office. The event was held in partnership with the law schools at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Gonzaga University. Speakers included the Honorable Barbara Madsen, chief justice of the Washington State Supreme Court, and fellow justice Sheryl Gordon McCloud.

Bringing DWT Minority Attorneys Together
Diverse lawyers, especially junior associates, can sometimes feel isolated within a large law firm. To help overcome this feeling of isolation and promote mentoring, the firm held two “Mix & Mentor” events in Seattle and Los Angeles in 2016, featuring a reception and casual dinner. There was no agenda beyond creating chances for our minority attorneys to become better acquainted—and in some cases, meet for the first time—in a relaxed setting and to create opportunities for them to connect with lawyers at all levels of the firm. The firm’s managing partner, the local partner-in-charge, and many others attended.

Moderating Panel on Health Care Coverage for Transgender Community
In March 2016, DWT health care partner Bob Homchick moderated a panel discussion on health care coverage and access for the transgender community. It was a timely topic, as federal regulations have been in play that directly affect the legal landscape governing access to and coverage of health care services for the transgender population. The American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA) organized the March 3 panel discussion as one of its “Convener Sessions,” which bring together stakeholders and experts from across the health care system to discuss an issue of public import. Homchick has held many roles with AHLA, including serving as chair of the Public Interest Committee and moderator for a number of Conveners. “The goal of a Convener Session is to bring affected stakeholders together in a context that permits the free and open sharing of perspectives and ideas,” Homchick said. “It was a lively and fascinating conversation.”

Providing Implicit Bias Awareness Training to Firm Leadership
Without our realizing it, important decisions we make every day can be influenced by racial, ethnic, and gender biases. Even stereotypes and attitudes we consider abhorrent can wield power over our better judgment. Recognizing the perilous consequences that unconscious biases can produce in the workplace, DWT brought together the members of the executive committee, practice group chairs, partners-in-charge, and other firm leaders for a three-hour training on issues of implicit bias.

DWT managing partner Jeff Gray introduced the 2016 session, which was led by Professor Jerry Kang, vice chancellor for equity, diversion and inclusion at UCLA. An expert in the the nexus between implicit bias and the law, Kang’s knowledge has informed a nationwide campaign to ensure racial and ethnic fairness in state courts.

Making Strides to Shrink the Gender Gap
DWT’s success in attracting, retaining, and advancing women was highlighted by the Puget Sound Business Journal in a special 2016 report on “Legal Best Practices.” The story noted DWT’s revised employment policies that helped provide for better work-life balance and quoted the firm’s director of professional development, Martinelle Cole. “What we’re all striving for is a workplace that allows the best talent to stay, one that allows people to have control over their careers,” Martinelle told the paper. “We want to give you the tools, opportunity, and platform to be advantageous to everyone, so you can bring your best self to work.”

Promoting Diversity in the Seattle Legal Profession
DWT is pleased to help underwrite the Gregoire Fellows program at the University of Washington School of Law, which aims to promote and enhance diversity at the school and in the Seattle area’s legal community. Nine fellows were named to the entering class in the fall of 2016. They are pictured above with former Washington governor Christine Gregoire and UW law school dean Kellye Y. Testy. Fellows who entered with the inaugural class in 2015 each received a paid summer fellowship this past year at one of seven law firms, including DWT, and in the legal department of one of seven major companies participating in the program, including Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks. The fellows also continue to receive ongoing mentorship opportunities with Gov. Gregoire as well as financial assistance for bar exam preparation at the end of their studies.

Helping Minority Students Attend Law School
In 2004, DWT endowed the John Davis Diversity Scholarship at the University of Washington School of Law in honor of the 90th birthday of our firm’s founder. The scholarship was established to provide financial assistance to first-year students at the school who are members of minority groups. For the 2016-2017 school year, the scholarship was awarded to Sandra Patlan. She hails from Pomona, California, and in addition to attending law school, she volunteers as an interpreter for Spanish-speaking clients of the King County Bar Association’s Neighborhood Legal Clinics Program.

Supporting “Flexible Schedules” and Helping Women Succeed in Big Law
In July 2015, Working Mother magazine published an article that featured DWT as one of the firms “flipping the script,” and our success accommodating flexible schedules was particularly highlighted. The article profiled Sheehan Sullivan Weiss of our Employment Services Group in Seattle.

The mother of two young children, Sheehan works a reduced-hours schedule and was promoted to equity partner while doing so. “Despite working a reduced-hour schedule,” the article said, “Sheehan herself serves on committees and volunteers whenever her practice group chair or managing partner asks for assistance. For her, it’s a way to keep her profile high.”

Connecting Our Women Associates with Partner Role Models
Following up on a highly successful pilot project launched last year, DWT held two Women’s Summits in 2015 to connect rising women lawyers at the firm with successful partners. More than a dozen senior DWT women came together with associates and counsel at two events—one in D.C. and one in Seattle— for networking, Q&A, and discussions related to business/client development, partnership process, and more. Each full-day event wrapped with a reception and dinner. The firm held a another summit in L.A. in February 2016.

Helping First-Year Law Students Attain Diversity Scholarships
Three young associates from DWT volunteered at a February 2015 event held at the Seattle University School of Law where first-year law students were engaged in mock interviews to help them successfully apply for 1L diversity scholarships. The event was spearheaded by the Washington State Bar Association’s Diversity Committee and attended by DWT’s Mimi Gentry, Julien Kern, and Laura Turczanski  (an alumna of the school).

Joining With Clients and Friends to Engage Men in the Advancement of Women
During the summer of 2015, DWT came together with Liberty Mutual Insurance, Moss Adams, and lead underwriter Alaska Airlines to sponsor the “Seattle Forum on Engaging Men, Advancing Women.” The forum focused on how men can become better allies in support of women’s advancement into leadership roles, how they can influence other men to do the same, and how women can develop positive relationships with these male allies.

Assessing What Works and What Doesn’t
DWT was pleased to sponsor and participate in an Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession symposium held at Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters in September 2015. DWT partner Ken Payson spoke as part of a panel discussion on “Diversity and Inclusion: What Works and What Doesn’t.” Ken is co-chair of the firm’s Class Action Defense Group and chair of the firm’s Seattle hiring committee.

Supporting Networking Opportunities for Diverse Law Students
Started in 2011, DWT’s Seattle office again hosted a Diversity Speed Networking Event in 2015, organized by the Asian Pacific American Law Student Association at the University of Washington School of Law. Co-sponsored by DWT and Microsoft, the event was an opportunity for first-year law students to engage with practitioners from Seattle’s legal community—including judges, public defenders, in-house lawyers, and lawyers working for private firms and the government.

Celebrating the Legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King
In 2015, DWT was a Platinum sponsor of the King County Bar Association’s annual Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Luncheon in downtown Seattle. Janai Nelson, associate director-counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, was the featured speaker at the sold-out event. Attendees included DWT partners Dirk Giseburt, Chris Helm, Jayanne Hino, and Ken Payson, as well as associates Mimi Gentry and Shirin Soleman.

Hosting a “Careers in Law” Forum for Students and Recent Grads of Color
In August 2015, DWT’s Seattle office hosted a “Careers in Law” program to support the important work being done by the Rainier Scholars program, which provides intense, personalized support for students of color in the Seattle area. The evening consisted of a robust panel discussion and an active networking session, all geared toward providing more than a dozen high school students, college students, and recent college graduates with insights and perspectives on practicing law.

DWT Diversity & Inclusion Committee chair Portia Moore, along with summer associate Amanda Hailey, joined U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones, Erin Hebert from Rios & Cruz, and Mark Larrañaga, a partner at Walsh & Larrañaga, for a panel discussion moderated by DWT partner Sean McCann.
Davis Wright Tremaine Repeats as Innovative Law Firm of the Year
2017 Diversity & Inclusion Report