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Our Commitment to Diversity

K&L Gates Celebrates International Women's Day 2020 with Events Around the Globe and Sponsoring Pledges for Diversity and Inclusion

9 March 2020

K&L Gates LLP offices across the firm’s global platform are hosting events this month to celebrate International Women’s Day 2020. International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day recognizing the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women that also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. This year, K&L Gates events focus on the IWD 2020 theme of #EachforEqual and the premise that every individual can help to create a gender-equal world.

“We are proud to celebrate International Women’s Day as a unified firm around the world,” said Pallavi Mehta Wahi, K&L Gates’ co-managing partner, United States, and chair of the firm’s global Diversity Committee. “Each event taking place reflects our appreciation for the intelligent and influential women we have at K&L Gates, and will allow us to learn how we can better support women on their future professional and personal journeys.” 

K&L Gates offices from Seattle to Sydney, London to Los Angeles, and beyond are hosting events throughout March to celebrate women in the workplace and bring awareness of how positive differences can be made for women.

Cindy Ohlenforst, a partner in the Dallas office who chairs the firm’s global Women in the Profession Committee (WIP), stated: “These celebrations around the world are designed to recognize and appreciate the many smart, funny, and remarkable women who enrich our workplaces, our clients’ workplaces, and our lives.” 

Both Ohlenforst and Wahi also praised London partner Clarissa Coleman, a WIP member who chaired the committee’s IWD 2020 Task Force, noting her extraordinary efforts to organize and inspire not only celebratory events but also creative ways to encourage people both in and outside the firm to pledge to support diversity and inclusion in 2020.  

As part of the “Each for Equal” theme, K&L Gates is encouraging employees, clients, and friends of the firm to make pledges to encourage, support, and embrace diversity and inclusion, recognizing that small changes can make a big difference in the workplace. The online pledge form can be used to record initiatives, goals, or positive changes individuals plan to make in their workplace.

Coleman commented: “I am proud to be part of creating a truly global celebration for our wonderful women of the world. By passing the baton from office to office, we are coming together across K&L Gates’ global platform to build change for the better.”

The events and activities through which K&L Gates lawyers and staff are celebrating include:

  • The firm’s offices in Boston, Charleston, Chicago, Harrisburg, New York, and Pittsburgh will be partnering with Dress for Success, a nonprofit organization that provides support, professional attire, and development tools to help women thrive in their professional and personal lives, to host clothing drives and/or meetings of the organization’s regional Professional Women’s Groups.
  • Various offices will be hosting panel discussions featuring prominent local women. Examples include: 
    • In London, a panel including the international director of Christie’s auction house, the creative directors of clothing brand Teatum Jones, and the CEO of women’s activeware company Sweaty Betty. 
    • In Pittsburgh, a breakfast event with women leaders from organizations such as Highmark Health, The Pittsburgh Penguins, Leadership Pittsburgh, and the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania. 
    • In Berlin, a discussion regarding women at work including success stories and action items for the future.
    •  In Charleston, a panel including K&L Gates’ co-managing partner, United States, and chairwoman of the firm’s diversity committee Pallavi Mehta Wahi focusing on influential women and their experiences. 
    •  A panel co-hosted by the firm’s San Francisco and Palo Alto offices featuring local women CEOs and business founders.
  • The Austin and Dallas offices will host receptions and networking events for friends of the firm.
  • K&L Gates offices across Australia will gather by video conference to learn the recipients of the 2020 Women’s Achievement Awards, celebrating Australian employee achievements in client service, community service, teamwork, and emerging talent.
  • The firm’s Brisbane office will host the Women in the Profession Annual High Tea featuring a woman speaker.
  • K&L Gates’ Brussels office will be hosting Google Belgium’s head of legal and public policy, who will be offering a workshop that focuses on giving women the tools they need to practice self-promotion in their careers.
  • The Charlotte office will be hosting a luncheon featuring long distance hiker, author, and 2011 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year Jennifer Pharr Davis.
  • The Fort Worth, Newark, Portland, and Washington, D.C., offices will each be holding wine-related activities, with the Washington, D.C., event, for example, hosted by a woman-owned winery and the Newark event incorporating a painting class.
  • Art gallery events will be taking place in Frankfurt and Munich. In Frankfurt, the firm will host a reception at a special exhibition honoring female artists who have contributed to surrealism, while in Munich, K&L Gates will tour a woman-owned gallery.
  • The Houston office will host a cocktail reception and afterwards attend a performance at the Stages Theatre.
  • In Melbourne, K&L Gates employees and clients will attend the International Cricket Council Women's T20 World Cup, an event that is expected to achieve record attendance levels for a women’s sporting event.
  • In New York, the firm will host an internal luncheon that will feature a documentary that focuses on the right to education for all. 
  • The Pittsburgh office will sponsor a CLE program on the history, status, and legal issues associated with the Equal Rights Amendment.
  • The Raleigh and Research Triangle Park offices will be hosting a women-only event featuring a speaker on generational diversity.
  • The firm’s Seattle office will host a reception recognizing two individuals with the first annual Judge Betty Binns Fletcher Awards, named after the esteemed US Court of Appeals Judge and alumna of K&L Gates legacy firm Preston Gates & Ellis. Connie Collingsworth, chief operating officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Seattle K&L Gates partner Liz Thomas will both be honored for actively paving the way for women leaders.

K&L Gates' firmwide Women in the Profession Committee works to identify and promote ways for women lawyers to advance their careers, to promote women as leaders and role models, and to enhance the sense of community among women professionals across the firm’s global platform and footprint.

To read more about K&L Gates’ commitment and approach to diversity and inclusion, please visit the firm’s website

K&L Gates is a fully integrated global law firm with lawyers located across five continents. The firm represents leading multinational corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

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