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 law firms:

• 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.
• Schwabe lawyer, Neva Campbell: among the first women to become a partner in an Oregon law firm.
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.

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 Amanda Gamblin, a shareholder in Schwabe’s Labor and Employment Law Department. Other members of the Diversity Committee include:

Al AuYeung
David F. Bartz, Jr.
Ryan Fox-Lee
Amanda T. Gamblin
Penny J. Godwin
Phil Haberthur
Darius L. Hartwell
Joaquin Hernandez
Jill L. King
Darien S. Loiselle
Dorianna Phillips
Rhonda Stephens
Anne M. Talcott
Joyce Wan
Scott Weimer

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.

Recruitment

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 the nation.

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 a paid summer associate position in the firm's Portland office for a first-year law student, and 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.

Internal Education

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.

External Outreach


Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt’s attorneys have been leaders in diversity efforts, and have been recognized for their leadership:

David 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.

Román 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.

Anne 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.

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 offices.
• 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 profession.
• 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 hig


 




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