Diversity: It Makes a Difference at Willenken
Q&A with William Delgado
At Willenken, we shatter the myth that hiring diverse firms is a compromise. In fact, we have found the opposite to be true: diversity in experience, thought, and approach enhances credibility with juries and clients alike. As a minority-owned law firm, diversity is a hallmark of our practice. Our firm is comprised of women and men of diverse racial, ethnic and social backgrounds, and case after case, we have proven that inclusion of diverse lawyers is a boon to our clients and the legal profession as a whole.
Our Diversity Q&A series features our attorneys as they offer their candid thoughts on how diversity makes a positive impact at Willenken.
Q&A with William Delgado
Q: What is your background?
A: I’m a first-generation Cuban-American, born in Miami, Florida to Cuban exiles. I have an electrical engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma and a JD from NYU School of Law. I practiced with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP before joining Willenken nearly thirteen years ago. I now have a national and international practice, specializing in IP and consumer class action defense.
Q: Why is diversity important to your firm?
A: That’s easy: diversity ensures robustness in thought. Litigators are paid for their judgment and that judgment is enhanced when we consider an issue from multiple angles. Only a diverse and eclectic group can provide such different vantage points.
Q: How does your firm ensure its focus on diversity?
A: We actually don’t have any “formal” programs in place, like diversity or women’s initiatives, to ensure our firm is focused on diversity. When we’ve gone to the market to hire someone, we have simply focused on hiring the best lawyer we could and, unsurprisingly to me at least, that approach resulted in an extraordinarily diverse firm. It leaves us in a position, unlike most firms, where we don’t have to put models in place to ensure diverse lawyers are staffed on cases for our clients –- inclusion is inevitable by virtue of the make-up of our firm. It would be near impossible for us to staff a case in a non-diverse manner!
Q: How have you seen diversity make a difference in serving clients?
A: Our diversity serves our clients in countless ways. We bring diverse perspectives to our analyses and arguments. Where cultural differences may implicate certain sensitivities, we are able to anticipate and prepare for them. When our Latin American or Asian clients want to speak in their native languages, our lawyers speak Spanish, Korean, and Mandarin. Diverse jurors recognize themselves when they look at our trial teams. The list goes on.
Q: What do the members of your firm do to advance diversity and inclusion in the legal profession?
A: Our lawyers are very active in the legal community, and are members of various organizations devoted to advancing diverse attorneys, such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, among others. Several have been selected as fellows by the Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity (LCLD). I myself am on the board of the National Association of Minority and Women Owned Law Firms (NAMWOLF), and am a member of the Hispanic National Bar Association and Cuban American Bar Association. Most recently we have been contributing to scholarships to assist diverse law students, in recognition of the realities of the most basic barriers to entry to the legal profession. These students are the diverse judges, general counsels, and litigators of tomorrow, and we’re quite proud of any small difference we can make in their path forward.