At Willenken, we believe in the strength that diversity and inclusion bring to our practice. As a minority-owned, majority-women law firm, these principles are our hallmarks.
Our firm is comprised of women and men of different racial, ethnic, and social backgrounds—we are Indian-American, Chinese-American, and Japanese-American, among other ethnicities. We staff our cases with a diverse group of partners and associates by virtue of the composition of our firm.
Diversity is not just a slogan for us—it’s a core aspect of who we are and how we win. Simply put, our diversity allows us to avoid the pitfalls of conformity and make smarter decisions based on an objective review of the facts. Numerous research studies have found that diverse teams consistently outperform the homogeneous. Greater diversity leads to thinking that is both more rational and more innovative.
“Diverse teams are more likely to constantly re-examine facts and remain objective. They may also encourage greater scrutiny of each member’s actions, keeping their joint cognitive resources sharp and vigilant.”— “Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter,” Harvard Business Review
At Willenken, we don’t have to go out of our way to ensure that broad-based thinking occurs within every case—it happens organically because of who we are and where we came from. This approach helps us build credibility with clients and juries alike.
diversity & inclusion at willenken: a snapshot
Our composition: We are certified as a minority-owned law firm by the Southern California Minority Business Development Council, as qualified under the criteria of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. More than half of our attorneys are minorities and the majority are women.
Our organization and association involvement: Our attorneys are actively involved through membership and leadership roles in the following diversity-driven organizations and associations:
- National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF) — Willenken was one of the first 30 firms to join this nonprofit, which is now comprised of nearly 200 member firms.
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) — One of our attorneys has been selected annually to represent Willenken as an LCLD Fellow for the past six years. The purpose of the LCLD Fellows Program is to identify, train, and advance the next generation of diverse leaders in the legal profession.
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) — Willenken regularly participates on CLE panels at the annual MCCA Pathways Conference Global TEC Forum. In 2013, Paul Loh was featured in MCCA’s Diversity & the Bar in a Q&A on legal diversity and inclusion.
- California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP) — The firm was awarded the CMCP Minority-Owned Law Firm Client Service Award in 2019 and 2004.
- Diversity Law Institute (DLI) — The firm received the DLI 2019 Law Firm Diversity Award, presented in partnership with the Litigation Counsel of America.
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) — The firm was awarded the NAPABA APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year Award in 2019. Jason Wilson serves as co-chair of the NAPABA Solo & Small Firm Network Webinar Committee.
- Japanese American Bar Association (JABA) — Jason Wilson is the former director and a current member of this organization which provides a special networking and service forum for members of the legal profession with interests and ties to the Japanese American community.
- South Asian Bar Association of Southern California (SABA-SC) — Sherin Varghese is a member of one of the oldest and largest South Asian bar associations in the country, which strives to promote the professional development of South Asian lawyers and law students, educate the community about legal issues, and expand and enhance business and professional opportunities for South Asians.
- Harvard Law School Association Asian Pacific American Alumni Network (HLSAAPAAN) — The firm co-founded the HLSAAPAAN as an affiliate group of Harvard Law School to foster relationships between and advance the professional development of APA alumni. Jason Wilson currently serves on the Board of Directors as vice president.
- Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance (H4A) — Peter Shimamoto is the co-chair of the Los Angeles Chapter of this global network whose mission is to develop, foster, and sustain a growing and supported network of Harvard Asian-American alumni. Paul Loh and Jason Wilson are also members.