Walter Song, co-chair of the firm's Asian Affinity Group, has been a member of the Committee for Diversity and Inclusion since 2016. Born and raised in Dallas, Song joined the firm in 2008 as a technical paralegal. He transitioned into the Practice Support Department in 2010, and attended law school at night. Song became an associate in 2015, and resides in the Washington, D.C., office.

Why is diversity important to you?

Diversity is essential for maximizing efficiency and optimizing performance, allowing us to come to better decisions and to have improved judgment. In a profession where we must constantly analyze and solve problems from all angles, having a variety of perspectives and approaches is fundamental to providing the best service for our clients.

What challenges have you faced as a diverse lawyer and how did you overcome them?

One of the biggest challenges for me is trying to not let my own insecurities and fears hold me back from taking on challenges. What has worked for me is recognizing that even in the act of wrestling with difficult concepts and situations in my field, I gain knowledge and experience in the process. It is with the knowledge or experience gained after every challenge that I work on improving my self-confidence and not shying away from future opportunities. And of course if I get stuck, I take great comfort in knowing that the firm has valuable resources, mentors, and world-class attorneys (each with a diverse set of experiences) on whom I can draw for help.

Why did you get involved with the Diversity Committee?

I got involved with the Diversity Committee because I want to be an influential part of the changing culture of our profession, and to help demonstrate that prioritizing diversity can be both a healthier and more sustainable business model than one that focuses solely on the bottom line. I want to continue to put the firm's many resources dedicated to diversity and inclusion to good use so that we can all feel like we are contributing to the firm's success, as we are at our best when we are treated as valuable members of the team.

What's the best way for a law firm to increase the number of diverse attorneys?

There is no doubt that our firm's Recruitment teams have made phenomenal strides over the years to identify and acquire diverse talent. The key is for each of us (regardless of our backgrounds) to take ownership in the kind of culture we want this place to embody and to make honest efforts in adhering to that embodiment. This means looking out for each other, being kind to one another, respecting one another, and appreciating each other. This will promote retention and growth, which will lead to more opportunities for diverse talent, and which will in turn naturally attract more diverse talent.

What are the short-term and long-term goals for the group?

The short-term goal is to continue providing a safe and supportive environment to share and learn from each other's experiences, be it through mentorship, cultural events, networking opportunities, or otherwise. The long-term goal is to help make the legal field a more diverse and inclusive profession overall by trying to be part of the solution.