About Us



The Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (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.


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.


PDLG Officers 

Co-President – Maria Lewis, Faegre Drinker

Co-President – Leslie John, Ballard Spahr

Secretary/Treasurer – Albert Dandridge, Schnader

Vice President – Marie Dukes, FMC

Vice President for Programs – Lois Kimbol

Executive Committee Members 2020 - 2021

Raymond Williams, DLA Piper

Prince Thomas, Fox Rothschild

Shoshana Schiller, Manko Gold

Sohana Sethi, Comcast Cable

John Lee, Morgan Lewis


Melissa Merkel 

Archer & Greiner, P.C.
Debra Rosen

Ballard Spahr LLP
Leslie John

Blank Rome LLP
Sophia Lee

Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC
Joseph Centeno

Ann Rappleye

Cohen Seglias
Lane Kelman
Kelsey Riehle

Comcast Cable Communications LLC
Sohana Sethi

Conrad O’Brien
Lorie Dakessian

Cozen O’Connor, PC
Jason Cabrera

Dechert LLP
Vernon Francis

Dilworth Paxson LLP
Skye Nickalls

DLA Piper LLP (US)
Raymond Williams

Drinker, Biddle & Reath, LLP
Maria Lewis

Duane Morris LLP
Thomas Loder
Joseph West

Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, LLC
Dennis Ziemba

Flaster/Greenberg P.C.
Angie Gambone

FMC Corporation
Marie Dukes

Fox Rothschild LLP
Steven Ludwig
Prince Thomas

Greenberg Traurig
Michael Pratt
Vanessa Lowry

GlaxoSmithKline, LLC
Jennean Endres

Independence Blue Cross
Lilton R. Taliaferro Jr.

Hogan Lovells US, LLP
Kelliann Payne

Holland & Knight LLP
Nipun Patel

Lincoln Financial
Christina Pron

Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Barbara Rittinger Rigo

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP
Shoshana Schiller

Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP
Renee Smith

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
John Lee

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP
Min Suh

Pepper Hamilton LLP
Michael Reed
Kasem Lucas

Post & Schell
Marc Perry

Reed Smith LLP
Luke Debevec
Shruti Engstrom

Saul Ewing LLP
Christopher Hall

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

Spark Theraputics, Inc.
Michael Gerard

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co.
Amy Loperfido

Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young, LLP
Danielle Banks

Temple University
Fay Trachtenberg

The Vanguard Group
Ginene Lewis

White and Williams LLP
Wesley Payne

Rochelle Gumapac

Special Board Member
Nolan Atkinson

Special Board Member
Julie Congdon

Special Board Member
Lois Kimbol

Special Board Member
Aaron Skrypski

Special Board Member
Stella Tsai

Stevens & Lee
Stacey Scrivani