Recognized for Managing and Developing Talent
The 2018 Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers report honored Weil for developing the first accredited unconscious bias training program in New York State.
Inclusion is in our DNA
We believe the results of our inclusion efforts tell a remarkable story. Today, 18 Firm leaders are LGBTQ+, people of color, or women serving as heads of practice groups, Firmwide committee chairs, or Management Committee members. The General Counsel and three Management Committee members (19 percent) are women. Three of the Firm’s practice group leaders and two office heads are attorneys of color. Of the U.S. partners promoted since 2007, 38 percent are women.
of the Management Committee are women
Firm leaders are LGBTQ+, racial/ethnic minorities, and/or women
languages are spoken by Weil employees worldwide
Upstander@Weil Award recipients
Building off a longstanding commitment to engage people of all backgrounds in our diversity efforts, the Firm launched this innovative initiative in 2015 to inspire all attorneys and staff to stand up for inclusion in the workplace, community and at home. This campaign expands the powerful “ally” concept within the LGBTQ+ community to a broader spectrum of groups, including people of color, women, veterans, etc.
The initiative was kicked off during Diversity Month 2015 with a firmwide event featuring a video of Upstanders@Weil across levels and offices, inspiring remarks from Executive Partner Barry Wolf, and a panel sharing how they actively support diversity. A diversity training workshop, action guide, and extensive online resources were developed to raise awareness and showcase concrete behaviors on how to be an Upstander@Weil.
To date, over 85 individuals at the Firm across levels and offices have been granted the award. Since 2015, The American Lawyer, the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, the Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, and Minority Corporate Counsel Association have highlighted Weil’s Upstander initiative in articles about diversity and inclusion developments at top-tier law firms.
Weil was among the first law firms to establish Professional Development Affinity Groups which:
- Foster internal networking and mentoring relationships among members
- Showcase successful role models
- Cultivate relationships with clients
- Provide two-way communication with Firm leadership
- Host educational programs open to all Weil employees
Weil’s five affinity groups include:
- The Black Attorney Affinity Group
- WeilPride (LGBTQ+ Association of Weil)
Weil holds biennial individual conferences for its AsianAttorneys@Weil, Black Attorney Affinity Group, Latinos@Weil, and WeilPride (LGBTQ+) affinity groups. The conferences are designed to bring together members from across the Firm’s offices for professional development, internal networking and mentoring, client development and pipeline efforts. In January 2017, Weil hosted a Multicultural Attorney Conference, bringing together Asian, Black and Latino attorneys from across the U.S. and London offices for professional development, client networking, and strategic planning. In 2018, Weil hosted the Black Attorney Affinity Group in New York in July, and we held our WeilPride LGBTQ+ conference in Washington, D.C., in September. To date, the Firm has hosted 15 affinity group conferences.
- By the numbers: Women represent 41% of U.S. attorneys and 41% of all attorneys globally. Of the U.S. partners promoted since 2007, 38% are women.
- TOWER (Taskforce on Women’s Engagement & Retention): A committee of male and female partners from across the Firm focused on the advancement and development of women attorneys globally. TOWER members represent all four Firm departments and 9 offices. One co-chair and 35% of members are men.
- Women@Weil, the Firm’s women’s affinity group, embraces the talents and energies of women attorneys across Weil, focusing on mentoring, networking, recruiting, retention, advancement, pro bono and community engagement initiatives, business development and outreach.
- Learn more about Weil’s gender diversity efforts.
Diversity Education and Training
Weil has consistently been at the forefront of law firm diversity training programs for over two decades. The most recent evolution of our efforts began in 2011 with a two-hour annual diversity education requirement for all U.S. attorneys and staff. Each year, a new program is developed specifically for Weil to provide concrete skills for achieving inclusion. Program topics have included unconscious bias, mentoring and delivering feedback across difference, working with different generations, religious diversity, and managing cross-cultural relationships. Weil’s mandatory diversity training in 2017, “Talking Boldly About Race: Being an Upstander in a Time of Cultural Unrest” was an interactive workshop facilitated by Verna Myers. In 2018, Weil began hosting interactive presentations that satisfy the new diversity, inclusion and elimination of bias CLE requirement in New York.
In addition, Weil continues to promote diversity education in recent programs such as:
- Our Dallas office hosting their annual Multicultural Program featuring in 2018: “Disabilities in the Legal Workplace” fireside chat with Angela Winfield, Director of inclusion and workplace diversity at Cornell University.
- Our Silicon Valley office hosted Transgender 101 facilitated by Ellie Krug, founder and president of Human Inspiration Works, LLC.
In Continental Europe, following a comprehensive culture assessment, we conducted customized mandatory training workshops for all attorneys and staff.
Disability Inclusion & Awareness
Weil strives to create an environment where diverse abilities are appreciated and respected. The Firm provides opportunities for staff and attorneys to learn about different abilities and how they may come up in the workplace, such as regular Deaf Awareness Sensitivity trainings to enhance communication between hearing impaired and non-hearing impaired employees. For 2019 Mental Health Month, Weil’s US offices hosted a series of programs such as Making Mental Health a priority and a CLE on Mental Health & Ethical Obligations. Weil’s London office has an Emotional Health and Wellness initiative with programs and events throughout the year. In 2018, the Dallas office hosted a program video conferenced to all US offices titled “Attorneys with Disabilities: Shedding Light on the Invisible Element of Diversity” featuring Angela Winfield, Director, Department of Inclusion and Workforce Diversity, Cornell University. During 2018 Mental Health Awareness Week, there were multiple programs designed to raise awareness and reduce stigma such as an “In Our Own Voice” program by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Weil attorneys have also advocated for people with disabilities through pro bono work on behalf of deaf and hearing-impaired people in prison. Weil has also partnered with Lighthouse Guild, an organization that is dedicated to addressing and preventing vision loss by coordinating care for eye health, vision rehabilitation, behavioral health and related services. Volunteer projects include: spa day for seniors, a prom for visually impaired students, and a hygiene kit building for behavioral health patients.
Given our global footprint, we must be able to communicate effectively across cultures. At Weil, our offices span three continents and six countries. Our people speak 49 languages. In our U.S. offices, our lawyers and staff hail from 40 countries around the globe. Nearly one in five was born outside of the United States and over one-quarter has at least one parent born abroad. This cultural diversity is our strength as we serve clients who touch nearly every corner of the globe.
Biennial Diversity Month
Our approach is to hold inclusion as a firmwide value and empower each office to address the most important diversity issues that are relevant to their geographic location. In the past, the Firm dedicated a week biennially to recognize timely and cutting-edge issues in our offices across the globe. In 2015, Diversity Week evolved into Diversity Month for the month of November, boasting even more firmwide events and opportunities. Diversity Month 2017 explored the Firm’s historic commitment to inclusion and delved into the topic of Diversity of Thought. Diversity Month 2017 events included:
- Diversity Month Kick-Off Lunch featuring Barry Wolf & Ira Millstein
- Presentation from Professor Jonathan Haidt of NYU Stern School of Business on Ideological and Political Diversity
- Diversity of Thought Workshop by Mind Gym on broadening the definition of diversity and the brain science behind exclusion
- Conversation on Leadership, Mentorship and Diversity of Thought in Higher Education with Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College
- Diversity recruiting event and cocktail reception featuring Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League
- Community Service, Cornhole & Cocktails event benefitting students served by NYC nonprofit, Read Ahead, and Operation Gratitude
- An interactive conversation on talking to children about current events and cultural unrest led by Peter Nelson, Director of the New York office of Facing History and Ourselves, and Dr. Gail Saltz
Weil’s significant industry community engagement initiatives include our Volunteer Time Off, Weil Gives and Weil Pay It Forward programs. Weil is one of the first law firms in the legal industry to implement a comprehensive community engagement program, including employee giving and volunteer opportunities for all U.S. and U.K. attorneys and administrative staff, taking place during and outside of work hours.
Filling the Talent Pipeline
- Diversity Fellowship Program: Weil offers scholarship awards to first- and second-year law students to promote greater diversity in law school classes. The winning recipients receive a $10,000 scholarship, contingent upon accepting an offer to join Weil’s summer program. Weil has granted 49 Diversity Fellowships since 2011. Learn more about the winners of the Second-Year Law Student Diversity Fellowship and the winners of the First-Year Law Student Diversity Fellowships. For additional information about the Diversity Fellowship Program, click here.
- Mentoring: Weil also performs outreach to urban schools and nonprofit programs to introduce the legal profession to racial/ethnic minority students. The Firm hosts regular, year-round college and career readiness programs for middle school students from Middle School 224 in the South Bronx through PENCIL, a nonprofit organization that inspires innovation in NYC's public schools through private-public partnerships, and high school students at the Murray Hill Academy through the Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City Workplace Mentoring Program.
- Internships: The Firm provides funding for and/or summer internship opportunities for programs such as Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, the New York City Bar Fellowship, and the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program in Dallas and New York.
- Charitable Giving: Weil sponsors over two dozen non-profit organizations from diversity-oriented bar associations to law related nonprofit organizations and conferences.
Our Finest Hours
Weil's pro bono program provides legal services to diversity-related causes around the world. Recent examples include challenging a Mexican-American studies ban in Tucson, AZ, counseling a New York city-based organization that serves at-risk women and providing advice and legal services to LGBTQ+ immigrants seeking refuge.