Most elite law firms profess a devotion to diversity. Paul, Weiss has a history of putting it into practice. In 1927, when Louis Weiss and John Wharton merged their tiny outfit with the firm that Louis's father had founded, they did so with the then-exceptional policy of bucking the prevailing system in which Jews and Gentiles did not mingle in practice or in clientele. In 1949, Paul, Weiss hired William T. Coleman, an African-American graduate of Harvard Law School and former Supreme Court clerk, when no other law firm would hire a Black attorney with his qualifications. That same year, Carolyn E. Agger joined the firm, becoming the first woman partner at a major U.S. law firm.  In 1956, Dr. Pauli Murray joined the firm as our first African-American woman associate, and later became a prominent civil rights activist, feminist and the first African-American woman ordained to the Episcopal priesthood.

But the history of diversity at the firm is much more than a series of impressive milestones. Paul, Weiss owes much of its success to a consistent and proactive commitment to diversity-a dedication that has shaped the intellectual and cultural character of the firm over many decades.

The true scope of this dedication is best expressed by Judge Simon H. Rifkind, in his Statement of Firm Principles, written in 1963: 

"We are sensitive to the fact that we practice in New York City, which is a pluralistic community and the major international and financial center of the Western world. We believe in maintaining, by affirmative efforts, a membership of partners and associates reflecting a wide variety of religious, political, ethnic and social backgrounds, characteristic of that community. We believe that through this policy we may bring to the service of our clients greater breadth of understanding and wider contacts with the world at large, while enriching our personal lives and demonstrating the value of democratic principles as applied to the organization of a law firm."

- Judge Simon Rifkind,              
Firm Principles, 1963               

ยป Read more about our diversity program in our brochure

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