In principle & practice, Womble Bond Dickinson values and seeks diversity.
Womble Bond Dickinson is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive environment within our firm, our communities and the legal profession.
Diversity matters in today’s business world. Top talent gravitates toward work environments where all are welcome. Reaching an increasingly diverse and inclusive marketplace requires a team with a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives. Corporate clients demand outside legal counsel that shares their commitment to diversity.
One of Womble Bond Dickinson’s core values is respect for the dignity of the individual, which includes embracing diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are not just good for business, but they are the right values for our firm, our team members, our clients, and our communities.
We work to make diversity and inclusion an integral part of our firm’s culture through recruitment, professional development and retention efforts; internal education programs and speakers; and the creation of affinity groups and an active diversity committee.
We recognize that in our pursuit of a diverse workforce and an inclusive environment, there is strength in numbers. That’s why Womble Bond Dickinson partners with leading organizations that promote diversity and inclusion. Some of our U.S. partners include the:
- Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC)
- Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)
- Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
- Human Rights Campaign (HRC)
- Law Firm Anti-Racism Alliance (LFAA)
- MCCA N-Gen Advisory Board
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA)
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
Womble Bond Dickinson supports diversity and inclusion in multiple ways, including through:
- An active Diversity Committee;
- Adoption of a Firm-wide Inclusion Strategy;
- Affinity groups, Women of Womble (WOW), Womble Inclusion Network (WIN), WBD Pride, WBD Asian American and Pacific Islander (APAN) Affinity Group, WBD Black Affinity Group (BAG), and WBD Sabor;
- Partnership, membership and sponsorship of leading organizations that promote diversity and inclusion;
- The HBCU Succeed Program;
- The Womble Scholars Program; and
- Proactive steps to increase recruitment, promotion and retention of diverse attorneys.
Diversity & Inclusion Goal: Increase the number of diverse attorneys at all levels and especially at the partner level.
Womble Bond Dickinson has adopted the Womble Inclusion Strategy. This strategy states, “We will actively recruit, develop, promote and retain diverse talent who are prepared to meet and exceed the needs of our clients doing business in a global economy.”
The Womble Inclusion Strategy is central to the Firm’s priorities, and is integrated into the overall Firm Strategic Plan.
Specific goals of the Inclusion Strategy include:
- Increasing the number of lawyers of color, women, disabled and LGBT attorneys at all levels and especially at the partner level;
- Increasing the retention of our lawyers of color, women, disabled and LGBT attorneys;
- Promoting and advancing lawyers of color, women, disabled and LGBT attorneys to positions of leadership;
- Embedding language and behavior of inclusiveness into our culture as tangible evidence of our core value of respect for the individual;
- Helping the diverse general counsel of our clients to be strong champions in their own boardrooms and successful in their careers; and
- Measuring our progress while rewarding and acknowledging positive results.
Womble Bond Dickinson is a Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certified Firm, a designation indicating that at least 30% women and attorneys from diverse backgrounds are proactively considered for leadership roles, partner promotions and more. The firm currently is taking part in Mansfield Rule 6.0.
Participating in this program is one of the many ways Womble is advancing diversity. The firm is constantly introducing new initiatives and raising the bar on current efforts to recruit, hire, promote, and retain diverse lawyers.
Diversity & Inclusion Goal: Embed language and behavior of inclusiveness into our culture.
Women of Womble – A leadership initiative for women, WOW’s mission is to develop a network of women lawyers dedicated to supporting the professional success of one another through intentional acts of mentorship, collaboration and sharing of opportunities.
Womble Inclusion Network – An initiative to retain and develop diverse attorneys through professional development, business development and community engagement components.
WBD Pride – A LGBTQ+ Affinity and Ally Group with a mission to foster equality for LGBTQ+ individuals - both internally and externally. Internally, it serves as a resource and outreach group for LGBTQ+ attorneys and staff of the firm, as well as their allies. Externally, through education, mentoring and networking, pro bono initiatives, and collaboration with the business community, WOMBLE PRIDE seeks to create a more just world for LGBTQ+ individuals.
WBD Asian American and Pacific Islander (APAN) Affinity Group, fosters equality and a sense of community for AAPI individuals and serves as a resource and outreach group for all AAPI employees of the Firm, as well as their allies. WBD APAN also seeks to cultivate a better understanding of the unique issues facing the AAPI community, enhance the recruitment and retention of AAPI employees, and support the professional and social development needs of our AAPI employees.
WBD Black Affinity Group (BAG) furthers the inclusion and development of Black attorneys and staff at Womble Bond Dickinson. BAG advocates for and provides a network of support for the retention and promotion of the Firm’s Black attorneys and staff, as well as avenues for recruitment of diverse talent to the Firm.
WBD Sabor serves as a resource to enhance diversity equity & inclusion, augment recruitment and retention efforts, cultivate career development opportunities, and deepen the firm’s connection to the Hispanic/Latino community.
Recruitment, Retention, and Promotion
Diversity & Inclusion Goals: Increase the retention of our diverse lawyers & Promote and advance diverse lawyers to positions of leadership
The firm’s Inclusion Strategy makes hiring, promoting and retaining a diverse workforce a top priority. This strategy is “designed to create and retain within the firm a critical mass of skilled and talented diverse attorneys – increasing the number of attorneys of color, expediting the movement of women attorneys into positions of leadership, and making welcome disabled attorneys and attorneys from the LGBT legal community.” Womble Bond Dickinson also offers domestic partner benefits and insurance coverage for sex-affirmation procedures.
Womble Bond Dickinson pays more than just lip service to issues of diversity and inclusion. During annual performance reviews, contributions to the firm’s diversity efforts are considered as factors for advancement, promotion, and compensation.
The firm's Getting to Equity program invites salaried partners and of counsel to opt in to a voluntary equity partner panel review process that provides individualized feedback, training and coaching resources to help with the creation and implementation of an actionable business plan.
Womble Bond Dickinson actively recruits at law schools with large minority enrollments, in addition to local and regional minority programs through the local bar associations. The firm also sponsors events in conjunction with diverse student organizations at neighboring law schools.
Click here for more information on recruitment and careers at Womble Bond Dickinson.
HBCU Succeed is an initiative designed to provide HBCU students with high quality professional development programming, meaningful networking platforms and robust mentorship and sponsorship opportunities.
This initiative will not only highlight thought leadership and inspiring success stories, but will also endeavor to provide participating students and schools with introductions and access to lawyers at Womble Bond Dickinson, key client principals and their organizations, as well as connections to proven industry veterans.
The program will launch through a series of virtual conferences for HBCUs in the WBD geographic footprint. These conferences will feature dynamic panelists who will provide practical advice for entrepreneurship and professional success.
The Womble Scholars Program was launched in 2004 for rising second-year law students with solid academic credentials, personal or professional achievement outside the school environment, and a record of significant community service. The program is designed to increase participation in the bar by traditionally underrepresented groups.
Starting in 2014, scholars received $30,000 and an offer of employment during the summer after their 2nd year of law school. To date, the firm has awarded more than $700,000 in scholarships to over 80 diverse law students.
Click here for more information on recruitment and careers at Womble Bond Dickinson (US).
The firm has sponsored the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), and Pamela Rothenberg, a Partner in our DC office, currently serves on the Board of Directors. CLEO is committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities to minority, low-income and disadvantaged groups. Womble’s support of CLEO includes its previous sponsorship of the CLEO-Womble Road to Law School Academy. This summer program invited minority undergraduate students to participate in pre-law courses, meet with working attorneys and learn about the law school application process. Womble has recently been named an inaugural CLEO EDGE Greater Equality Honoree for championing increased opportunity in the legal profession. The firm joined such esteemed winners as former President Barack Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and former First Lady Michelle Obama as 2018 honorees.
Diverse Community & Bar Associations
Diversity & Inclusion Goal: Help the diverse general counsel of our clients to be strong champions in their own boardrooms and successful in their careers
We at Womble Bond Dickinson embrace diversity and inclusion as core values. Not just because they are good for business, but because they are the right values
for our clients, our team members and our communities.
But we know we can’t do it all alone. That’s why Womble Bond Dickinson collaborates with leading organizations that promote diversity and inclusion. Some of these collaborators include:
Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) – Since 2014, Womble has been one of three MCCA Strategic Diversity Sponsors, joining Microsoft and Wal-Mart. As such, the firm is actively engaged with MCCA on many projects and activities, including the annual MCCA General Counsel Summit, MCCA Pathways & Gala, and Global TEC. In addition, Kevin Lyn, Chair of Womble’s Diversity Committee, is a member of the inaugural MCCA N-Gen Advisory Board. The 13-member N-Gen board, including senior in-house counsel and experienced law firm partners, will “help MCCA drive the conversation to inspire change in the legal profession through programs, networking, and training.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – Womble supports the LGBTQ community through its involvement with HRC, the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans. HRC represents a force of more than 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide — all committed to making HRC's vision a reality. Since 2014, the Firm has earned a perfect score on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which grades hundreds of major U.S. companies on their support of LGBTQ employees.
National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) – For years, Womble has sent a contingent of attorneys to the NAPABA Annual Convention. The Firm has also been a sponsor of the annual convention since 2014. In addition, Partner Sid Shenoy has formed CAPABA, the Charlotte-area affiliate chapter of NAPABA. NAPABA is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of over 50,000 attorneys and 81 national, state, and local bar associations.
Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) – Womble works with the ACC on diversity-related forums in several of our markets. For example, the firm hosted the ACC’s “He Heard…She Heard” event in Washington, D.C., which was designed to improve office communication between genders. Womble is a long-time sponsor of the ACC, both nationally and sponsoring ACC chapters in all of our markets.
Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC) – Womble attorneys have attended the CCWC’s Career Strategies Conference, and the Firm has been a sponsor of the conference. The Corporate Counsel Women of Color is a not-for-profit organization of women attorneys of color who serve as general counsel, assistant general counsel, corporate counsel, in-house legal counsel, and in other capacities for Fortune 1000 companies, Forbes 2000 companies, not-for-profit corporations, and other entities in the United States of America and abroad. The organization was formed in 2004 to provide a support network to in-house women of color and to facilitate networking around the nation and abroad, promote career advancement and the success of in-house women of color, and promote all aspects of global diversity in the legal profession and workplace.
Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund – Womble has supported the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund annual event, The Happening, for seven years. The fund awards grants to organizations that support the LGBTQ community in the Charlotte area. In 2016, the Fund awarded $134,000 to community organizations supporting LGBTQ people in the Charlotte area. The vision of the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund is to cultivate one community with the belief that all people should be treated with dignity and respect with a mission to fund organizations that support the LGBTQ community through the pooled financial resources of individuals, corporations, and foundations.
The Diverse In-House Counsel Network – Womble’s D.C. and Baltimore offices hosted the Network’s Multi-City Leadership Summit in late 2014. The Diverse In-House Counsel Network supports, educates and empowers minority in-house counsel serving in corporations, governments, and non-profits in order to enhance their professional and personal success.
The American Jewish Committee – In November 2014, the firm’s Northern Virginia office hosted a community-wide American Jewish Committee presentation on “Taking a Stand: Fighting Anti-Semitism.”
In addition, Womble has supported the following organizations in achieving their diversity and inclusion goals:
Diversity Awards and Recognition
Diversity & Inclusion Goal: Measure progress while rewarding and acknowledging positive results.
2022 – Womble Bond Dickinson has been recognized as a “Tipping the Scales” law firm by the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance for the firm’s efforts to promote women attorneys to partner. The Diversity & Flexibility Alliance’s New Partner Report acknowledged firms, like WBD, that had 50 percent or more women in their 2022 U.S.-based new partner classes. The firm promoted eight attorneys, four of whom are women, to Partner in 2022.
2021 – Kevin Lyn, Chair of Womble Bond Dickinson's Diversity Committee, appointed to the Advisory Board for NAPABA, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Womble Bond Dickinson achieved a perfect score (100%) for the years 2015–2022 and the coveted distinction of one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality” by the Human Rights Campaign’s (“HRC”) Corporate Equality Index. This is the seventh consecutive year Womble has received a perfect score. In order to score 100%, firms must have fully-inclusive equal employment opportunity policies, provide equal employment benefits, demonstrate organizational LGBTQ competency, evidence their commitment to equality publicly and implement internal guidelines prohibiting philanthropic giving to organizations that discriminate against LGBTQ people. In 2014, the Firm earned a score of 90 out of 100, which was good, but not good enough for Womble. We focused on improving and since 2015, Womble has earned perfect scores on the Corporate Equality Index.
2021 – Womble Bond Dickinson named a Top Performer by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD), recognizing those law firms and corporations showing a strong commitment to building more diverse organizations and a more inclusive legal profession.
2020 – Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Sonny Haynes named one of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA)’s Rising Stars for 2020.
2019 – Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Sid Shenoy named one of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s (NAPABA) Best Lawyers Under 40 Award winners.
2018 – The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. named Womble an inaugural CLEO EDGE Greater Equality Honoree for championing increased opportunity in the legal profession. The firm joined such esteemed winners as former President Barack Obama, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and former First Lady Michelle Obama as 2018 honorees.
Womble was named a Gold Standard Firm by Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020. In order to earn this honor, firms must “meet objective criteria concerning the number of women among equity partners, in firm leadership positions, and in the ranks of their most highly compensated partners.”
2017 – Womble was recognized at PepsiCo’s 2017 Outside Counsel Diversity Recognition Day. As part of PepsiCo Inc.’s outside counsel diversity initiatives, Womble was recognized for our demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
2017 – Womble was named by The Litigation Counsel of America (“LCA”) as a Law Firm Diversity Partner. The LCA is an invitation-only trial lawyer honorary society established to reflect the new face of the American bar. The composition of the LCA is aggressively diverse, with recognition of excellence among American litigation and trial counsel across all segments of the bar.
2011 – MultiCultural Law magazine named Womble as one of the Top 100 Law Firms for Women as well as one of the Top 25 Law Firms for Native-Americans.
2009 – Womble was the winner of the Law Firm Diversity Award by DRI (formerly the Defense Research Institute), the Voice of the Defense Bar.
2007 – Working Mother Magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers named Womble as one of the Top 50 Best Law Firms for Women.
- 2003 – Womble received the Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s highest honor given to businesses – the Corporate Leadership Award – given to organizations whose record of commitment to public historically black colleges and universities, education, and diversity has advanced the overall mission of developing a new generation of leaders. In the 21 years since the formation of the Fund, Womble is the only law firm to ever receive this award.