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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 three summer associates in WilmerHale's 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.

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 11-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 began its partnership with SEO in 2010, and has hosted many SEO interns across our domestic offices each year since then. 

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. We have offered hundreds of scholarships to students who have gained admission law schools throughout the United States.

WilmerHale’s 1L Diversity Public Interest Fellowship Program

Consistent with our longstanding commitment to public service and organizations that seek social justice, we sponsor six 1L Diversity Public Interest Fellowship Program spots for first-year law students during the summer between their 1L and 2L year.

WilmerHale’s 2L Diversity Scholarship

As part of our ongoing support of diversity, we sponsor several 2L Diversity Scholarships for the summer between 2L and 3L year. In addition to our Summer Associate salary, the recipients will be awarded a $30,000 stipend (half at the conclusion of the summer program and the remainder upon starting as a full-time WilmerHale associate, contingent on receipt of a permanent offer).

Practice Pro

We support Practice Pro’s 1L Diversity Scholar Program, which provides coaching, training and recruiting opportunities for law students from underrepresented backgrounds.

Pipeline to Practice (“P2P”)

We participate in P2P which supports and nurtures low-income law students at critical academic and professional development stages. We participate in programming and coaching opportunities that are critical to achieving academic excellence in law school, developing the skills necessary to be successful attorneys, creating pathways to leadership positions, and becoming role models to the next generation of law students.

Pro Bono

Pro Bono1

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.