Diversity Makes Us Better:
A Firm-wide Commitment to Diversity
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt believes that the diversity of
our people enriches the fabric of our culture and promotes a high
level of workplace satisfaction. We are truly a better place, and
most assuredly a better firm, because we welcome and engage individuals
of diverse races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, veteran
status, backgrounds, and viewpoints.
Additionally, we take great pride that our firm has been at the
forefront of several historic “firsts” for Oregon-based
• Former Schwabe lawyer, Ancer Haggerty: one of
the first African-American partner in a major Portland law firm,
who became a highly-respected U.S. Federal District Court judge,
now on senior status.
We are convinced that our advancements in diversity have enhanced
workplace satisfaction for all of us. Meeting the challenge of a fully
diverse workplace is far from complete, but our commitment to diversity
is resolute and sustained. Our firm’s diversity statement listed
below was developed internally, by our attorneys, management and staff,
to reflect our values, beliefs, and commitment.
• Schwabe lawyer, Neva Campbell: among the first women to
become a partner in an Oregon law firm.
Firm Diversity Statement
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is committed to being a workplace that reflects the diverse communities in which we live and work. We believe that diversity serves our interests and those of our clients both by enhancing the quality of our legal services and providing us with a rich and rewarding workplace. We embrace our employees’ individuality, including differences related to race, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. We encourage diversity through our actions designed to foster and promote an inclusive, nurturing, respectful, and supportive work environment, and an atmosphere which values the free and open exchange of ideas and beliefs. We ensure that fairness, respect, and opportunity for everyone at our firm remain integral to all of our recruiting, retention, professional development, and promotion initiatives.
Firm Diversity Committee
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt created a Firm Diversity Committee
several years ago, at a time when such a concept was still relatively
new to many corporate law firms in the Pacific Northwest. It is composed
of attorneys (both associates and shareholders) and senior administrative
staff who meet regularly and make recommendations to Schwabe’s
governing Board of Directors, which are strategic in nature and intended
to make Schwabe a law firm that is more diverse and inclusive.
Currently, the Chair of the Diversity Committee is Román
D. Hernández, a shareholder in Schwabe’s Labor and
Employment Law Department. Other members of the Diversity Committee
To examine our progress and help guide our future in increasing
the diversity of the firm, the Board of Directors approved the hiring
of a nationally-known diversity consultant who conducted an assessment
of the firm’s diversity culture. This assessment was presented
to the Board, which is committed to incorporating the recommendations
firm-wide in an effort to continue to create a diverse workplace that
is representative of the community in which we live and work.
F. Bartz, Jr.
• Mark A. Long
• Dorianna Phillips
• Rhonda Stephens
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt makes significant efforts to ensure
that our attorneys reflect the community in which we live through
our recruitment of summer associates. The firm has recruited at law
student job fairs, both locally and nationally, in an effort to recruit
a diverse workforce. For example, the firm has recruited at the Pacific
Northwest Minority Job Fair, the Oregon Minority Job Fair, the DuPont
Career Fair, the Black Law Students' Association’s Job Fair,
and the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Job Fair. Schwabe’s
recruitment at these job fairs is in addition to the on-campus interviews
conducted annually by the firm at various law school campuses across
In addition, Schwabe created its 1L
Diversity Fellowship Program for students who have completed
their first year of law school. The 1L Diversity Fellowship Program consists of two paid summer associate positions. The positions reside in the firm's Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington offices. Recipients receive a $7,500 scholarship to assist with law school expenses during the student’s second year of law school.
In 2012, Schwabe created a $5,000 scholarship for a Hispanic law student that is awarded through the HNBA Legal Education Fund for a student who attends law school in the Pacific Northwest.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt was one of the few large law firms
in Portland that hosted an educational series intended to address
the elimination of bias that inherently exists in society. The program
was titled, “Understanding Racism,” and was a several
weeks-long program attended by Schwabe attorneys and staff. Discussions
were led by professional facilitators of the Understanding Racism
Foundation, an Oregon nonprofit dedicated to addressing the elimination
of bias in various sectors of society, including corporations and
the legal profession.
The firm regularly hosts events and meetings on behalf of several
ethnic minority bar associations, including the Oregon Chapter of
the National Bar Association, the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar
Association, the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association, the Oregon Minority
Lawyers Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. These
events are well-publicized within the law firm, and are well-attended
by attorneys and staff.
Schwabe's Diversity Committee recently organized a diversity panel discussion at the firm's office in Portland that featured presidents from three of Oregon's ethnic minority bar associations, the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association, the Oregon Chapter of the National Bar Association, and the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association. The panelists described their respective bar associations, different programs, how they collaborate with the other bar associations on items of mutual interest, how they interact and collaborate with their respective national bar associations, and other areas of discussion related to diversity in the legal profession.
Recently, Schwabe hosted an event in its offices for the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, an IRS Section 501(c)(3) charitable foundation based in Washington D.C. The event was organized by Schwabe's Diversity Committee, and featured an informational presentation by Ms. Zuraya Tapia-Hadley, Director of the Mexican-American Leadership Institute of the U.S.-Mexico Foundation, who traveled from Washington to meet with distinguished community leaders from the State of Oregon. The event was well-attended by approximately 35 community and business leaders, members of the judiciary, and law students. Very positive feedback concerning the event was received, and for Schwabe's efforts to continue to raise the profile of various diversity initiatives and organizations that support diversity.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt’s attorneys have been leaders
in diversity efforts, and have been recognized for their leadership:
F. Bartz, Jr., firm president, received the Oregon League of
Minority Voters' (OLMV) 2011 Liberty and Hope Award. It is OLMV's
highest honor and recognizes those who have taken extraordinary
steps in elevating the economic, social, educational, and political
aspirations of minorities in Oregon.
• Mr. Bartz also received a 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award
from the World Arts Foundation, which honors individuals who exemplify
the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through community service
work, and the prestigious Oregon Women Lawyers’ “2008
Mercedes Deiz Award” for outstanding contribution to promoting
minorities in the legal profession and community.
D. Hernández, shareholder, was elected to lead the Hispanic
National Bar Association (HNBA), a national, non-partisan, voluntary bar
association that represents the interests of more than 100,000 Hispanic
attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students across the country.
He served as the HNBA’s national president from 2009 through
2010. He was the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of The
HNBA Legal Education Fund, the HNBA’s only IRS Section 501(c)(3)
charitable foundation that raises monies to support HNBA charitable
and educational programs. He continues to serve on the board of this important organization.
• Mr. Hernández received the prestigious "J. Michael Brown" Award from DuPont for his demonstrated efforts to increase diversity within the legal profession.
• Mr. Hernández received the Ohtli Award from the government of Mexico for his support and empowerment of Mexican and Mexican-American communities in the United States. The Ohtli Award is the highest award presented by the Mexican Government to a non-Mexican citizen.
• Mr. Hernández received a "¡Bravo! Award" from the Portland Hispanic Chamber for his professional excellence and commitment to the advancement of the Latino community in Oregon and Southwest Washington.
• Mr. Hernández received the "Paul De Muniz Professionalism" Award from the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association for outstanding contributions to Oregon's legal community and for demonstrated professionalism within the legal community.
• Schwabe was selected as the recipient of the prestigious HNBA Corporate Partner of the Year Award in 2010 in recognition of Schwabe's staunch support of the HNBA, its programs, mission, and events.
• Several Schwabe attorneys helped organize and create the Oregon Asian Pacific American Bar Association, a recently created ethnic minority bar association.
M. Talcott, shareholder, was appointed to the inaugural Diversity
Steering Committee for the Defense Research Institute (DRI), the
largest international organization of in-house and outside counsel
representing businesses in litigation.
• The firm and several of our
lawyers have played leading roles in the support of and as activists
for gay and lesbian workplace equity, and against initiatives and
institutions which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
• Ali Seals is the current President of the Oregon Chapter of the National Bar Association.
• Stephanie Berntsen serves on the Board of Directors for Mother Attorneys Mentoring Association of Seattle (MAMAS), a specialty bar organization dedicated to furthering the interests of attorneys mothers in the legal profession.
• Peter Ricoy is a past President of the Oregon Hispanic Bar Association.
• Jamila Johnson is a former chair of the Seattle Women's Commission, and continues to serves as a Commissioner.
Erfle and Elizabeth
Schleuning are actively involved and have held leadership positions
within the DuPont Women’s Network, a group of women lawyers
who are all part of the prestigious DuPont Primary Law Firm Network.
• Joaquin Hernandez serves as a Board member of the Seattle, Washington based Latino Community Fund.
Financial Investment In Diversity
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt’s commitment to diversity can
also be seen through our community involvement efforts, including
sponsorship of nonprofit organizations that seek to better the community
and the legal profession. For example, here is a partial list of organizations
that the firm has financially supported:
• The Portland Hispanic Chamber. For the past eight
years, the firm has annually sponsored and funded a scholarship
which is awarded to a deserving Hispanic student enrolled in college
or graduate school.
• The Oregon Minority Lawyers Association (OMLA). The firm
is an annual sponsor of the OMLA Annual Fundraiser and other events
of the OMLA.
• Latina/o Bar Association of Washington (LBAW). The firm is an annual sponsor of the Latina/o Bar Association of Washington.
• The Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA). The firm is
an annual sponsor of the Hispanic National Bar Association, and
has hosted board meetings of the HNBA Board of Governors in its
• The Oregon Hispanic Bar Association (OHBA). The firm is
an annual sponsor of the OHBA, which is an affiliated bar of the
HNBA. Román D. Hernández was one of the OHBA’s original founders.
• Opportunities in Law in Oregon (OLIO). The firm is an annual
sponsor of the Oregon State Bar Affirmative Action Program, and
its attorneys have presented at OLIO which targets in-coming 1Ls
who have been admitted to Oregon’s three law schools to facilitate
the students’ introduction to the Oregon legal community and
• In 2002, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt was one of the initial sponsors of the DeLaSalle North Catholic High School Corporate Internship Program. It has supported the program ever since, and through this program, Schwabe is able to provide real-work experience, in a professional setting, for high school students who are primarily ethnic and racial minorities.