Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Inclusion lifts us all. We’re all in.

The more diverse, equitable, and inclusive we are, the better equipped we become to rise above challenges and add new, creative, and fresh perspectives to the problems we solve. The important work to advance DEI at Spencer Fane is a shared passion.

View our DEI Annual Report


“At Spencer Fane, we believe diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental principles essential to the firm and our clients’ success. We foster and develop a diverse array of attorneys and professional staff who bring varied ideas and perspective to our clients’ complex legal challenges.”
-Patrick J. Whalen, Chairman

Our mission is to build, maintain, and leverage a diverse and inclusive law firm that strengthens our clients and communities.

We implement this mission through a variety of initiatives including:

  • Educating our firm members on DEI issues and providing opportunities for discussion.
  • Recruiting law students to ensure a diverse applicant pool and participating in recruiting events aimed at enhancing the diversity of law firms’ workforces.
  • Mentoring and training all attorneys towards their goals of becoming more effective service providers to our clients and advocating for their success.
  • Supporting diversity-focused networks, such as our Black Opportunities to Network and Discover (BOND) and Women ADVOCATE Connect Groups, the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity.
  • Directing and encouraging our DEI Committee to promote, monitor, and evaluate our policies.


Women Attorneys in Firm Leadership Positions


Diverse Attorneys Hired in 2023


Women Attorneys Hired in 2023


Committed to Improving the Diversity of Our Firm

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, working in collaboration with the Executive Committee and other firm leadership, assists our efforts by providing educational opportunities for our attorneys and professional staff, measuring, and monitoring each success and challenge, investing in formal and informal mentorship, and supporting attorneys and professional staff with a dedicated budget. We breathe life into fundamental principles that make our law firm strong, and a better place to work.

At Spencer Fane, we actively seek to recruit and retain qualified individuals with diverse characteristics and backgrounds. We promote equal opportunity at law schools as part of our on-campus recruiting, and actively encourage the referral of qualified minority candidates.

We are an active member of the Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association’s Commitment to Diversity Initiative and Metro Nashville’s POWER Youth program, among others. In addition, we participate in regional diversity job fairs, including the Heartland Diversity Legal Job Fair in Kansas City, the St. Louis Diversity Job Fair, and the 1L Pledge to Diversity Program in Denver. We also participate in on-campus interviews at many of the regional law schools around Denver, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Springfield, and St. Louis.

“We recognize the significance of providing opportunities for all to learn about and discuss diversity and inclusion issues so that we can continue to work together to enhance our culture. We know diversity and inclusion are fundamental principles essential to the firm and our clients’ success.”
James Crumlin, DEI Committee Chair

Spencer Fane BOND

Black Opportunities to Network and Discover

Spencer Fane BOND provides a central point of connection and belonging for Black professionals to flourish within and outside the firm. BOND seeks to foster opportunities for professional development, cooperation, and visibility for its members through a supportive network of exemplary legal leaders. Understanding the power of our voices and the value of our innovative ideas, we dedicate ourselves to cultivating initiatives centered on growth, mentorship, and advocacy. BOND also serves as an avenue to network and discover new talent, resources, and business practices. Above all, we honor the bond created by a community united in advancing the principles of diversity and inclusion.

  • Wale Akinmoladun | Of Counsel | Kansas City, Missouri
  • Paz Haynes, Co-Chair | Partner | Nashville, Tennessee
  • Brittainy Joyner |  Associate | Tampa, Florida
  • Bernadette Lawson | Client Development Manager | Kansas City, Missouri
  • Ed Summers | Network and Server Administrator | Nashville, Tennessee
  • Valentine Uduebor, Co-Chair | Associate | Plano, Texas
  • Jeremy Rucker | DEI Committee Liaison | Associate | Plano, Texas


Advance. Develop. Visualize. Own. Champion. Advise. Thrive. Engage.

Women ADVOCATE is a connect group within Spencer Fane that aims to advance women within the firm and their civic and business communities. Recognizing that the sustained success of both our female lawyers and staff supports a competitive advantage for the firm, the Women ADVOCATE group is dedicated to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of female professionals in the firm. We provide resources to develop our members and champion their interests and efforts. We encourage our female professionals to visualize the career path that they want. As a group, we then work to engage each member in leadership and growth opportunities and advise so each member can own their career path. Women ADVOCATE also implements internal and external initiatives that cultivate both individual talent development and firmwide business development. This requires the continued support of our male colleagues and allies. Our goal is to create an environment where our female attorneys and staff, and all members of Women ADVOCATE, thrive.

Spencer Fane+

Spencer Fane+ is a networking and resource group committed to promoting equality and belonging for LGBTQIA+ and allied members at the firm. We recognize our diverse society, and Spencer Fane+ understands what makes us unique as people also makes us valuable,  and should be celebrated within our legal community as well as outside of it. We champion the rights of everyone to live proudly, safely, and authentically. Through initiatives centered on professional advancement, awareness, and advocacy, Spencer Fane+ provides opportunities for members to connect and succeed while fostering a broader legal culture of acceptance and justice.

Our firm embraces its responsibility to increase diversity, equitable access to opportunities, and inclusion of people of color within our firm and community. We are proud to join our peers in the legal industry in this endeavor to raise awareness and eliminate practices that perpetuate racial bias in our community.

Spencer Fane and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
Spencer Fane is one of more than 350 law firms and corporate partners in support of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) mission to help “a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to positions of leadership.” Read the firm’s and Chair Pat Whalen’s commitment here.

Spencer Fane and the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce
Spencer Fane is committed to fostering belonging and success for professionals of all identities. In our mission to support LGBT+ individuals and allies exist fearlessly and advance without barriers, we are thus thrilled to partner with the Mid-America LGBT Chamber of Commerce in creating a “more inclusive and vibrant economy in Kansas City and the surrounding region.”

Spencer Fane and the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance
Spencer Fane is proud to have a culture that values diversity and inclusion and continually strives to elevate the voices of people and communities of color. In our commitment to promote racial equity in the law, we are pleased to be a member of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA).

Spencer Fane and the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance
Spencer Fane embraces its DEI mission through investments such as supporting DEI-focused networks both inside and outside the firm, embedding diversity into our recruitment strategy, and providing career development and advancement opportunities for all our professionals. Having the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance among the firm’s growing list of diversity-oriented affiliations, will allow the firm to build on the culture that has allowed the firm to attract top talent and grow its national footprint.

Leading by example

Our DEI leaders measure progress and give our diversity mission traction though investments in educational programs, events, mentorship, and more. All to extend our culture of belonging.