• Share
  • Email
  • Print

As a firm committed to diversity and inclusion, we engage our lawyers through mentorship, teamwork and a steadfast belief in the power of our people to change the legal profession and the power of our profession to change society. From internal affinity groups for diverse lawyers and their allies to leadership positions within the firm and in outside organizations, we work to provide opportunities for all of our lawyers to develop their practices and careers in meaningful ways.

For years, our firmwide Diversity and Women in the Profession Committees have led the charge for diversity and inclusion throughout the firm. These committees span the globe, are supported by full-time staff and include members of the firm’s Management Committee. The firm has various employee resource groups at the firmwide and local office levels, including groups for women lawyers; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and allies; lawyers of color; working parents; veterans; and lawyers with disabilities.

For students, we offer two K&L Gates Diversity Fellowships and the K&L Gates Kickstarter Program. Our Seattle-based Diversity Fellowship offers one diverse first-year law student from any U.S. law school a paid summer associate position in our Seattle office and a $10,000 scholarship. We also participate in the Seattle-based Gregoire Fellows program at the University of Washington. This program connects law students with leading Puget Sound area businesses and law firms and supports students throughout their education. Students receive paid summer internships with participating law firms and corporate legal departments after the first year of study, and financial assistance for bar exam preparation at the end of their studies. The fellows also have opportunities to participate in a mentorship program with former Governor Christine Gregoire. Our Pittsburgh-based Fellowship, offered in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh, School of Law (Pitt Law), grants a full-tuition scholarship to an entering student at Pitt Law for all three years of law school, as well as a paid summer associate position in K&L Gates’ Pittsburgh office in the student’s first and second summers of law school. The Kickstarter Program is a multi-seminar, multi-office program designed to assist U.S. first-year law students who self-identify as diverse in navigating the transition from law school to law firm. Since 2013, nearly 200 students have participated, with some joining the firm as summer and first-year associates thereafter. We also recruit diverse first-year law students to be Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) Scholars. LCLD is an organization of leaders in the law who are dedicated to increasing diversity in the legal profession, and participants in the LCLD Scholars program receive targeted mentoring, career development opportunities and a summer team-building retreat.

K&L Gates sponsors and/or participates in a number of diversity-related events and organizations including the ABA’s Minority Counsel Program and Commission on Disability Rights, Corporate Counsel Women of Color (CCWC), Diversity Council Australia, the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), LCLD, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL), the National Bar Association, the National LGBT Bar Association and Stonewall UK. Some of our lawyers serve as leaders within these organizations: partner Sang-yul Lee is a former President of the NAPABA Law Foundation, partner Bill Simonitsch is a former President of NAPABA, and partner Diane Ambler serves on the NAWL Board. Additionally, K&L Gates is proud to be the largest and sole title sponsor of CCWC, a non-profit organization serving women of color lawyers in corporate legal departments, for over a decade.

Although we recognize that we have more work to do, we are proud of the strides we have made. This year, the Women in Law Empowerment Forum awarded us Gold Certification for our work ensuring significant representation of women at all levels of firm leadership. In 2016, Yale Law Women named us a “Top Ten Family Friendly Firm,” with specific honors in the Gender Equity category. In 2015, Chambers USA recognized us as the “Outstanding Firm for Furthering Women’s Advancement” (Recruitment, Retention and Promotion), and the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency has named us an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality several years in a row. We have received the Two Ticks Disability Symbol in Great Britain multiple times for prioritizing the employment, retention, training and career development of employees with disabilities, and we recently were ranked among the top 50 LGBT-inclusive employers in the U.K. by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. We also have been rated a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality” in the U.S. by the Human Rights Campaign for seven consecutive years by earning a 100 score on their Corporate Equality Index survey.

Clients also have recognized us for our diversity and inclusion initiatives. In 2016, K&L Gates was honored as a top achiever in advancing diversity within the legal profession by Microsoft’s Law Firm Diversity Program. We were also recognized by another longtime client for our firm’s commitment to inclusion and diversity on our client teams.

We are committed to collaborating with our clients and communities in furtherance of our goals and we strive to maintain an inclusive culture that enriches the experience of our lawyers and staff, enabling them to better serve our clients. We encourage cooperation and teamwork and provide fair and ethical treatment of all employees regardless of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, marital status, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.