Justice, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion - McDermott Will & Emery



A diverse, inclusive culture enhances our ability to identify, engage and motivate extraordinary people who can bring the best, broadest and most innovative ideas and perspectives to bear on the complex challenges facing our clients. We have developed comprehensive policies and programming that enable us to attract, nurture, retain and promote top talent from a wide range of backgrounds. As a result of our efforts, we have become a recognized leader in workplace diversity.

Our Firm-wide Justice, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee comprises several dedicated subcommittees that steer us along the path to an ever more inclusive work environment while (1) ensuring that all of our colleagues understand the value of a diverse workplace and (2) maintaining an atmosphere in which all of our people have an equal opportunity to succeed. We are very proud that our lawyers and staff are deeply committed to extending this ethos of inclusion throughout the broader legal profession and our surrounding communities.

We work continuously at the highest levels of Firm management to ensure equal access to all client development activities, challenging work assignments and viable advancement options for all McDermott lawyers. The doors at McDermott are open to all who share our commitment to excellence.


McDermott Rise Program combats inequality and promotes fairness while helping bridge the gap for black and other entrepreneurs of color.


Our longstanding commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion includes a sharp focus on providing access to justice. Learn how we continue to take action in our 2022 JDEI Year in Review.



One of only 41 “trailblazing firms,” McDermott has achieved Mansfield Certification one year after announcing participation in the Mansfield Rule pilot program hosted by Diversity Lab.

Racial & Ethnic

As our Firm, our clients, and society as a whole become more diverse, McDermott is hiring, retaining and promoting greater numbers of racially and ethnically diverse lawyers and working hard to ensure that justice, diversity, equity and inclusion are key considerations in every major decision that we make.

Our retention and promotion initiatives aim to provide an atmosphere in which all of our racially and ethnically diverse lawyers have the opportunity to be successful in their careers at the Firm. In 2013, we established a Diversity Talent Development Initiative specifically designed to provide McDermott’s lawyers of color with partner mentors and sponsors who monitor participants’ career development and access to important assignments.

We have adopted procedures in our recruiting processes that have further increased the number of diverse candidates we interview for positions at the Firm. The Firm’s Diversity Fellowship Program enables select first-year law students to participate in our summer associate program.

Outside the Firm, we support numerous professional associations and community service organizations that promote diversity, including the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity. Our lawyers hold leadership positions with influential organizations including The Chicago Committee (f/k/a The Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms), the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, the National Bar Association and the Asian American Bar Association of Greater Chicago.

We also assist the communities in which our lawyers and staff live and work by providing these communities with pro bono, financial and other support. To help provide opportunities for motivated students from traditionally underrepresented groups, we support organizations including LINK Unlimited Scholars, 3L+ Law Prep, and the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues High School Debate Program.

For all of our Careers openings, please visit our Careers site.


McDermott’s commitment to gender diversity and women’s issues dates back to 1957, when we became the second major US law firm to elect a female partner. As one of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” (Working Mother Magazine/Flex-Time Lawyers), we demonstrate our commitment through numerous programs, outreach initiatives and pro bono projects designed to promote gender diversity and inclusion within our Firm and throughout the legal profession.

Through our Gender Subcommittee, we develop policies and initiatives to reinforce the Firm’s long-standing commitment to accepting and understanding gender differences, and to recruiting, retaining and promoting the most talented lawyers and staff, regardless of gender.

We progressively enhance McDermott’s market-leading benefits, including generous maternity leave and reduced time policies, parental and caregiver leave options and equitable promotion guidelines.

The Firm offers several targeted coaching and mentoring programs for women lawyers, including a one-on-one Business Development Initiative Coaching Program for select partners. We regularly host learning and networking events that help McDermott’s women foster connections and provide a forum to discuss the unique challenges faced by women in the legal profession.

We actively support a number of professional women’s organizations, including the National Association of Women Lawyers, the Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Alliance (WLMA), and local women’s bar associations.

Our lawyers undertake pro bono matters for numerous organizations with a focus on women’s issues, including the Domestic Violence Legal Center, Her Justice, the Women’s Treatment Center, the Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Alliance (WLMA) and the Victim Rights Law Center.


As one of the first international firms to create a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ+) affinity group, we are a recognized leader in the realm of LGBTQ+ workplace justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.

Our LGBTQ+ Subcommittee has developed Firm-wide policies and programs to maintain a supportive and inclusive environment for all of our people.

We actively recruit LGBTQ+ candidates and participate in various LGBTQ-related recruiting events. We have formed a number of pro bono partnerships with LGBTQ+ nonprofits, and we sponsor and donate to events for LGBTQ+ organizations such as Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Equality Illinois and Immigration Equality, to name a few.

Members of the Committee are leaders in their respective communities and frequently speak publicly and publish on legal and social issues of importance, including in the areas of employee benefits, civil rights and tax.