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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

“At Spencer Fane, we believe diversity, equity, and inclusion are fundamental principles essential to the firm and our clients’ success. Therefore, we seek to 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


Mission and Impact

With respect to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the firm focuses on identifying, attracting, and retaining diverse talent. 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 Women ADVOCATE affinity group, the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance, and the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity; and
  • Directing and encouraging our DEI Committee to promote, monitor, and evaluate our policies.

Women Attorneys in
Firm Leadership Positions


Diverse Partners
Hired in 2021


Women Attorneys
Hired in 2021


Committed to Improving the Diversity of Our Firm


DEI Committee

Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, working in collaboration with the Executive Committee and other Firm leadership, assists our efforts towards the benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion 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.


Spencer Fane attorney Mary Bacon

Spencer Fane attorney James Crumlin

Spencer Fane attorney Bill Hopkins

Spencer Fane attorney Heather Morris

Spencer Fane attorney Nate OrrSpencer Fane attorney Jeremy Rucker

Spencer Fane attorney DeAndrea Washington

Spencer Fane attorney Elizabeth Wente square


DEI Recruitment Strategy

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 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.

“Our firm recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for our firm members to learn about and discuss diversity and inclusion issues so that we can continue to work together to enhance our culture. We believe diversity and inclusion are fundamental principles essential to the firm and our clients’ success.”

Elizabeth Wente, DEI Committee Chair



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

Women ADVOCATE is an affinity group within Spencer Fane that aims to advance women within the firm and their civic and business communities. Recognizing that the sustained success of our female lawyers supports a competitive advantage for the firm, the Women ADVOCATE group is dedicated to the recruitment, retention, and advancement of female attorneys. We provide resources to develop our members and champion their interests and efforts. We encourage our female attorneys 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 firm-wide business development. Our goal is to create an environment where our female attorneys, and all members of Women ADVOCATE, thrive.


Spencer Fane attorney Jessica Gale

Spencer Fane attorney Stacey Garrett Koju

Spencer Fane attorney C Powell square

Spencer Fane attorney Gulmina Shah






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.

Leadership Council on Legal DIversitySpencer Fane Joins Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
Spencer Fane is pleased to announce the firm has joined the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). Spencer Fane joins over 350 law firms and corporate partners in support of the LCLD’s mission to help “a new and more diverse generation of attorneys ascend to positions of leadership.”

Law Firm Antiracism AllianceSpencer Fane Joins 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 announce the firm has joined the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA).


Annual MLK Fellowship Breakfast

We strive to be a firm that demonstrates the necessity of diversity in our work places and communities. Every year the Nashville office hosts an Annual Fellowship Breakfast in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event gathers community members and leaders together to reflect upon the life and legacy of Dr. King. To watch the 2022 event, please click here.


Related News

Ayesha Mehdi Named ABA Health Law Section Leader

Spencer Fane is pleased to announce attorney Ayesha Mehdi has been appointed a leader of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Health Law Section, including as Chair of the Healthcare Fraud & Compliance Committee and Vice Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Her term – her second consecutive for each role – runs September 1, 2022, through August 31, 2023.

Jeremy Rucker Talks Twitter Whistleblower on KNX In Depth

Spencer Fane attorney Jeremy Rucker recently spoke with KNX In Depth on the ongoing Twitter whistleblower situation, including the relevant advice he gives all of his clients, on its August 24 episode. KNX In Depth is the official news podcast of Los Angeles-based radio station KNX 97.1 FM.

Spencer Fane Women ADVOCATE Hosted Expert on Cultivating Well-Being

The Spencer Fane Women ADVOCATE Committee was pleased to host Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, a distinguished psychologist in the Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation at the University of Wisconsin’s School of Medicine and Public Health, for its quarterly meeting on August 23.

Related Events

Ruthie White to Share Best Practices for Terminating Employment Relationships

Spencer Fane attorney Ruthie White will present on the complex web of employment law related to terminating employees during two seminars at the 2022 Gulf Coast Symposium on HR Issues on July 27.

DeAndrea Washington Attends the University of Houston Dean’s Diversity Dialogue

Spencer Fane attorney DeAndrea Washington was recently invited to attend the Dean’s Diversity Dialogue: Texas Big Law, Black Law Partner/Corporate Counsel Summit organized by the Dean of the University of Houston Law Center (UHLC), Leonard M. Baynes, and retired UHLC professor, Anthony R. Chase.

4th Annual Southern Nevada Women’s Leadership Summit

Spencer Fane attorney Ayesha Mehdi recently served as the keynote speaker at the 4th Annual Southern Nevada Women’s Leadership Summit.