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We are committed to fostering an environment that embraces each individual's unique background, experience and perspective. Our goal is to reflect the diversity of our clients and the communities in which we practice. We achieve this by recruiting talented and accomplished lawyers and staff and by providing resources to enhance their professional development and help them reach their full potential. We also provide these individuals with opportunities to impact the communities in which we live and practice through pro bono and community service.

Diversity at WilmerHale


John A. Payton Summer Associate Fellowship

John A. Payton was the sixth president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), the nation's preeminent civil rights and racial justice law firm. Prior to joining LDF, John was a partner of Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP and, later, the combined Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (WilmerHale) for more than ten years. A brilliant litigator, John dedicated his life to justice, equality and opportunity. Upon his passing, President Barack Obama remembered John as a "legend" and "a true champion of equality," whose "courage and fierce opposition to discrimination in all its forms" would never be forgotten.

WilmerHale and LDF honor John's enduring legacy through the creation of the John A. Payton Summer Associate Fellowship, which provides two summer associates in WilmerHale's Boston, New York or Washington DC offices the opportunity to spend a minimum of seven weeks at the firm and  five weeks of their summer at LDF in either its Washington DC or New York office.


Ayana Williams, 2017 Summer Associate and Payton Fellow


Sponsors for Educational Opportunity – SEO Law 

SEO Law provides entering first-year law students with law firm and legal department internships before starting law school. At WilmerHale, SEO Law interns participate in a 10-week program and are included in the firm's summer associate program, where they gain practical experience by working on substantive legal projects. At the beginning of the program, interns participate in SEO's Corporate Law Institute (CLI) in New York City. The CLI is a two-week lecture series and networking forum led by practicing lawyers and law professors. The lecture series provides interns with guidance on developing study strategies and exam-taking skills. WilmerHale's partnership with SEO began in 2010. In 2019, WilmerHale had four SEO interns working across domestic offices. And for the past four years, we’ve had the privilege of hosting the Nationwide SEO Welcome reception in our NY office.

Law Preview

WilmerHale also partners with Law Preview, a diversity pipeline program that prepares underrepresented law students for law school through a week-long prep program. The program introduces rising first-year law students to the full first-year curriculum, and provides tips on effective time management and how to prepare for class and take law school examinations. Law professors and practicing lawyers serve as lecturers in various cities across the United States. In 2019, WilmerHale offered scholarships to 45 students who gained admission to Boston College School of Law, Boston University School of Law, Columbia Law School, University of California Berkeley School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center and Northeastern University School of Law.

Pro Bono

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Pro Bono at WilmerHale


Because the law is still a profession as well as a business, lawyers have special obligations to the administration of justice and the development of the law. We encourage our lawyers to meet these obligations through pro bono work, government service, service to the bar and teaching. We also urge our lawyers to write and speak on legal issues and to participate in the affairs of their larger communities. We are, as we have always been, a national leader in our pro bono services and charitable activities. We continue to represent our many pro bono clients in the highest tradition of the profession, exceeding the 5% billable-hour-equivalent benchmark set by the Pro Bono Institute's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge.