Ana Reyes is “a leader who has championed change in the profession by leading by example, advocating for justice, and promoting the advancement of women in the profession.”
–Women’s Bar Association of D.C., 2017 Woman of the Year Award
“Supporting diversity in the profession is a priority for Williams & Connolly. We are proud to support the Corporate Counsel Women of Color, the Hispanic National Bar Association, Lambda Legal, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, among many other organizations.”
– Kevin Hodges, Managing Partner
Williams & Connolly recognizes diversity and inclusion as core values; exceptional advocates are not cut from a single—or predictable—cloth. We work to recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds and provide them with the opportunities and resources necessary to thrive.
Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee, chaired by partners Ana Reyes and Amy Saharia, develops and monitors initiatives to achieve our goals, and the entire firm implements them. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion makes us better able to serve our clients and community.
Our recruiting efforts aim to increase the number of diverse candidates considered and hired by our Hiring Committee. We actively recruit diverse summer associates and associates through targeted initiatives. We participate in career fairs, panels, and other events focused on women and diverse students. In addition, we partner with diverse students groups at many top law schools to host 1L receptions.
We maintain a sponsorship program that pairs diverse associates with our partners to increase opportunities for informal guidance, feedback, and social interaction. We also sponsor Williams & Connolly attorneys annually to participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s Fellow and Pathfinder Programs. In addition, our Women’s Initiative leads various professional development and networking events for our attorneys each year.
Women and diverse attorneys play key roles in firm leadership, holding postions on the Executive Committee, as practice group chairs and co-chairs, and as chairs of our Hiring and Diversity & Inclusion Committees.
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee sponsors a speaker series that brings distinguished speakers to our firm to discuss diversity-related issues. Recent speakers include Paul Smith, who argued the landmark case Lawrence v. Texas, and Georgetown Law Professor Paul Butler, a Williams & Connolly alumnus whose academic work focuses on criminal law and race relations.
We pride ourselves on our commitment to our diverse community, including through pro bono work. We regularly support and partner with organizations that serve our community. We have longstanding relationships with Dunbar High School (a D.C. public school) and Thurgood Marshall Academy (a D.C. charter school), both of which primarily serve African-American students. In our pro bono work, we represent plaintiffs in civil rights lawsuits, low-income individuals in housing cases, military veterans in benefits appeals, and parolees in parole revocation hearings. We also staff walk-in clinics in D.C. Superior Court for consumers and tenants. We represent refugees fleeing persecution, and our work in the area of asylum and immigrants’ rights cases has been recognized by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs and the Center for Gender and Refugee Studies.
We also support and encourage participation in minority bar associations and non-profit organizations that serve diverse populations. Among other organizations, we support Corporate Counsel Women of Color, the Hispanic National Bar Association, Lambda Legal, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Women’s Bar Association, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Williams & Connolly partner David Kendall serves on the national Board of Directors of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The Williams & Connolly Women’s Initiative, chaired by partners Katherine Turner and Amanda MacDonald, focuses on the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women. The objectives of the Women’s Initiative include advancing the professional development of women attorneys, encouraging mentorship and sponsorship by our partners, strengthening the internal and external network of our women, and supporting legal and business development skills.
Recent events include a panel discussion by women outside counsel focused on developing leadership skills in the legal profession, a presentation from a nationally recognized jury consultant on effective courtroom communication, and a partner perspective series in which partners share strategies that have helped them to be successful. The Women’s Initiative also participates in recruiting efforts and has hosted internal networking events to foster relationships among the women attorneys at the firm.