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Diversity & Inclusion

Who are we?

With more than 160 attorneys and 150 staff members in seven states, we serve our clients locally, nationally and around the globe.  Our attorneys and staff come from richly diverse backgrounds, and we actively support diversity and inclusion within our firm and the community.

View Our Attorney Profiles

What do we believe

WTP believes that, in order to provide our clients with the best possible service, we must take a firm-wide, pro-active approach to foster a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion.  This is not a new concept to WTP, but one that our firm has encouraged for years -- diversity and inclusion are part of our business plan and strategy for success, and we believe they are important for our society as a whole. We are proud of our diversity initiatives and remain committed to enhancing and expanding them.  The needs of the future necessitate a constant and evolving commitment to making diversity and inclusion a priority.

How are we acting?

The Inclusion Committee, co-chaired by the firm’s Managing Partner, Martin T. Fletcher, is committed to enhancing our firm’s diversity.   The Committee is designed to ensure that WTP fosters an environment reflective of society and promotes a diverse workforce that encompasses, without limitation, race, color, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, and disability.  We actively recruit, mentor, develop professionally, support and promote diverse attorneys and staff.  Our goal is to ensure that each of our attorneys and staff has the opportunity to develop her or his full potential and become a leader, both within the firm and in the communities we serve.  We work toward this goal through acceptance, understanding and respect of individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures and experiences. Through various initiatives, WTP strives to recruit, retain and develop diverse attorneys and staff who can offer the many varied and valuable perspectives that enable us to offer our clients high-quality legal services.  WTP sponsors and supports numerous initiatives to foster inclusion within our firm and the community.  The following are some of our initiatives:

The Women’s Initiative Network (“WIN”)

The Women’s Initiative Network aims to support female attorneys who are in various stages of their practice and are actively involved in numerous professional and business organizations.  WIN focuses on internal networking, professional development, advancement, leadership, and business development opportunities for our women attorneys.

Summer Program

WTP’s Summer Program provides law students with an opportunity to hone their research and writing skills under the direction of an attorney mentor.  Participants also have an opportunity to attend hearings, trials, depositions, closings, business negotiations, and settlement conferences.  Attorney mentors meet with summer associates and interns on a weekly basis to review and discuss work assignments and offer support, guidance and constructive criticism regarding the summer associates’ performance.  At the end of the summer, associates and interns have a formal performance review meeting with the mentor and the Chair of the Summer Program.  The firm also hosts a number of social events and outings for the summer associates so that they can get to know the firm’s attorneys outside of the office. 2L Summer Program –The selection of 2L summer associates is done by the firm’s Hiring Committee after the student’s first year of law school.  The program is open to students attending law schools in the geographic areas in which WTP has offices.  Applications are collected via resume at the law schools’ Career Services Offices.

Applications must include cover letter, resume, law school transcript and writing sample.  Candidates should be in the top 15% of law school class and have strong ties to the region.  Preference is given to applicants having demonstrated writing ability.   [None of these will demonstrate writing experience by the late summer after first year.  Competitions for law review, journal or forum will indicate ability.] 1L Summer Program - WTP offers a summer internship program with a concentration on inclusion-based hiring for 1st year law students.  The selection of participants is made by the firm’s Hiring Committee in February of the 1L year.  Applications are collected via resume drop at the Career Services Offices of law schools that have been selected by the Hiring Committee.  Candidates should be in the top 15% of law school class and have strong ties to the region.  Applications must include cover letter, resume, law school transcript and writing sample.  Participants in the 1L Program will be eligible for hiring in the 2L Program for the following summer.

Mentoring Program

WTP offers a formal mentoring program for newly-hired associates and associate counsels for a period of one to three years.  The program engenders camaraderie among the attorneys at WTP, and is designed to facilitate development of the attorney’s practical skills, legal ability, and professional judgment.  The Program also serves to encourage growth in integrity, business development skills and mastery of the highest ideals in the practice of law.  In 2017, we implemented a team approach to mentoring and formed “Mentor Panels” to serve in each of the firm’s office locations.  Although we continue to provide firm-wide educational and social events for the participants in the Mentoring Program, the Mentor Panels develop a yearly calendar of mentoring meetings and social get-togethers for their specific office, or in combination with one of the other offices.

Internal Firm Tools to Support Inclusion

WTP's intranet portal for all staff and attorneys provides access to internal and external resources.  The intranet portal allows WTP staff and attorneys from our eleven offices to stay connected, get to know one another, and highlight the accomplishments of our diverse staff and attorneys.  Further, the intranet portal provides a centralized location to post useful information.  For example, the portal highlights a calendar of important holidays celebrated throughout the world and among various religions and cultures, allowing all of us to acknowledge the important dates in the Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist faiths and other faiths that members of the firm celebrate.

What are some of our accomplishments?

Diversity and inclusion is central to WTP’s culture.  Our attorneys, staff, section heads, department chairs and firm leaders come from numerous diverse backgrounds.  A review of the biographies of our attorneys shows that diversity and inclusion is important and valued at WTP. Additionally, our diverse attorneys have taken leadership roles in the broader legal bar and in the communities we serve.  For example:

  • Harry S. Johnson, a partner in the Products Liability and Environmental Litigation department and member of WTP’s Executive Board, served as the first and so far only African-American head of the Maryland State Bar Association and is a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Legal Profession.
  • Deborah Diehl, a partner in our Business and Corporate Law Section and member of WTP’s Executive Board, serves on the Board of Governors for the Maryland State Bar Association.
  • Thurman Zollicoffer, a partner in the Products Liability and Environmental Litigation department, is a former City Solicitor and counsel for the Mayor & City Council for the City of Baltimore. 
  • Enayat Qasimi, a partner in the Business and Corporate Law Section, is the former Minister of Civil Aviation and Transport in Afghanistan.
  • Erek Barron, counsel in our Business Litigation department, formerly served as the Counsel and Policy Advisor to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and the Hon. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. and was a member of President Obama's Transition Team for Justice and Civil Rights.
  • Dorothy Deng, an partner in our International Practice, is an eligible judicial interpreter in Mandarin for the State of Maryland.
  • Ari Ghosal is a board member of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Maryland and the Indian Biomedical Association, while Dorothy Deng is on the board of the DC chapter of the Monte Jade Science and Technology Association and Erek Barron is the incoming president of the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association.

Our firm supports many legal organizations and events in our communities, such as: Hispanic Bar Association International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at the University of Baltimore School of Law Black Law Students Association (BLSA) at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law Montgomery County Bar Association's Summer Scholars Program Cook County Bar Association Minority Law Student Job Fair Delaware Minority Job Fair Monumental City Bar Association DC Bar Pro Bono Program Our attorneys are involved in numerous charitable, educational, governmental and professional organizations and boards. (See WTP's Pro Bono work.) Further, WTP supports numerous community groups and organizations: House of Ruth The Public Justice Center Legal Aid Bureau, Inc. Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland Rebuilding Baltimore Together Living Classrooms Foundation Maryland Disability Law Center Maryland Food Bank Bea Gaddy Family Center The Journey Home.

What does our future hold?

WTP will continue to develop and enhance a positive working environment that focuses on maximizing the inclusion of our attorneys and staff.  We value and celebrate the diversity within our own firm, our clients and the broader communities we live in.  Our ongoing commitment to sustaining a diverse and inclusive firm is central to our success now and in the future.