About Us

HISTORY AND PROGRAMS

Mission

The Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) PDLG is committed to fostering participation of a more diverse group of lawyers in the Greater Philadelphia Region in order to make our legal profession stronger, more productive and better equipped to address the challenges of the twenty-first century.  As part of this mission, PDLG creates programs to enhance recruitment and retention of lawyers of diverse backgrounds by law firms and corporate law departments in this region.

History

In 1993, many local law firms and corporate legal departments signed a “statement of goals” presented by then Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Andre Dennis and agreed to increase minority attorney representation and retention at their organizations. Although the Philadelphia Bar Association and individual employers had made some progress since signing the statement of goals in 1993, it was recognized that a concerted effort was required if the number of minority lawyers in the Philadelphia legal community was going to increase. In 1998, Nolan Atkinson ,Jr. of Duane Morris and Jonathan Waller of Sunoco were brought together by then Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Edward Chacker to take a hard look at this area of concern for the Philadelphia bar.

Out of the meetings between Nolan and Jon and their discussions with other lawyers a Steering Committee was formed in 2000.  The Steering Committee consisted of Nolan, Jon, Andre Dennis, Greg Matthews, Tobey Oxholm, Elaine Rinaldi and Robert Vogel. The Steering Committee convened a diversity retreat on June 2, 2000. The retreat was for senior in-house counsel and law firm chairpersons, managing partners and practice leaders. Its purpose was to evaluate the status of diverse lawyers in the area bar and to brainstorm how best to move forward with initiatives to increase diversity. Working with expert consultants, the group came up with a multi-pronged approach to be implemented under the auspices of what eventually became the PDLG.

Initially, the plan was to establish a non-profit corporation which would create a registry of diverse lawyers and law students seeking positions in Philadelphia and a second registry of volunteer mentors for diverse lawyers. In addition, the new corporation would serve as a resource center for educational programs and strategies for increasing diversity as well as to promote Philadelphia as a great place for diverse lawyers to work.

The work moved forward and in 2001, PDLG was incorporated with twelve members. The founding members, as listed in the original By-Laws, were Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, Cozen and O’Connor, Dechert, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Duane Morris & Heckscher, Montgomery,McCracken Walker & Rhoads, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Pepper Hamilton; Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, ACE USA and SUNOCO, Inc. From this modest beginning, PDLG has grown to 35 members – 23 law firms and 12 law departments.

While the mission has never changed, some of the programs designed to accomplish that mission have. Over the years, PDLG’s programs have focused on four areas: lawyer recruitment, student pipeline, legal community education and lawyer retention.

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

PDLG Officers 2016 – 2018

Co-President – Julie Congdon

Co-President -Raymond Williams, DLA Piper

Secretary/treasurer – Albert Dandridge, Schnader

Vice President – Leslie John, Ballard Spahr

Vice President for Programs – Lois Kimbol

 

Executive Committee Members 2016 – 2018

Wesley Payne, White and Williams

Sophia Lee, Blank Rome

Kimya Johnson, Cozen O’Connor

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Aramark
Aaron Skrypski

Archer & Greiner, P.C.
Debra Rosen

Ballard Spahr LLP
Leslie John

Blank Rome LLP
Sophia Lee
Christopher Lewis

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Min Suh
Joseph Centeno

Chubb Group
Michael Blackshear

Comcast Cable Communications LLC
Tracy Haslett

Cozen O’Connor, PC
Kimya Johnson

Dechert LLP
Vernon Francis

Dilworth Paxson LLP
Alex Braden
Samuel Cooper

DLA Piper LLP (US)
Raymond Williams

Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP
Maria Lewis

Duane Morris LLP
Joseph West

Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
David Laigaie

Flaster/Greenberg P.C.
Michael Homans

FMC Corporation
Marie Dukes

Fox Rothschild LLP
Steven Ludwig
Prince Thomas
Marilou E. Watson

GlaxoSmithKline, LLC
Jerome Maddox

Independence Blue Cross
Lilton R. Taliaferro Jr.

Lincoln Financial
Carrie Chelko

Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Barbara Rittinger Rigo

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP
Suzanne Schiller

Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP
Chastity Bruno

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
John Lee

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP
To be announced

Pepper Hamilton LLP
Michael Reed

Reed Smith LLP
Nipun Patel

Saul Ewing LLP
Christopher R. Hall

Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis LLP
Albert S. Dandridge, III

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
Robert J. Casey, Jr.
Lynn M. Martosella

Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, LLP
Danielle Banks

Temple University
Fay Trachtenberg

The Vanguard Group
Marisa Tilghman

White and Williams LLP
Wesley Payne

Special Board Member
Nolan Atkinson

Special Board Member
Julie Congdon

Special Board Member
Lois Kimbol

Special Board Member
Stella Tsai