At Morris James, we believe that our outstanding personnel are the firm’s greatest assets and the source of our strength. Our people-first culture embraces our differences, nurtures the uniqueness of the individual and fosters an environment of mutual respect. This philosophy brings perspective to our practice and is the driving force behind all that we do at Morris James.
Morris James believes that promoting diversity and work/life balance is critical to our quest for excellence and our ability to understand and meet our clients’ expectations. Our culture fosters an open and welcoming environment that not only encourages, but also expects, contributions from people with diverse views, experiences and backgrounds.
Our Committee on Diversity
P. Clarkson Collins, Jr., chairs our diversity committee. Comprised of both partners and associates, the committee vigorously seeks to recruit and promote outstanding attorneys, paralegals and staff who have traditionally been underrepresented in the legal profession. To further its effectiveness and increase our firm’s diversity efforts, committee members also hold leadership positions in outside professional and community groups dedicated to enhancing diversity.
Delaware Bar Initiatives
Morris James attorneys actively participate in committees and organizations designed to increase diversity in the Delaware Bar. Some of these initiatives include:
Delaware State Bar Association Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section - Our firm offers ongoing program sponsorships and support to this Bar section including sponsorship of the Haile L. Alford Memorial Breakfast held annually in recognition of the late Judge Alford. Additionally, Patricia Winston has served as the Secretary of this section from 2010 to the present.
Delaware Minority Supplemental Bar Review Course – Our firm has provided years of leadership to this program and continues to mentor students. The program helps prepare diverse applicants for success on the difficult Delaware Bar examination. Thomas Hanson co-chaired this initiative from 2003-2006.
Delaware Minority Job Fair – As part of an effort to recruit talented students and increase diversity in the Bar, law firms, corporations, and governmental legal employers participate in this annual job fair. Thomas Hanson chaired the job fair in 2009 and in 2002.
Widener Law Diversity Summer Camp Program - Morris James, along with the DuPont Company and others, are sponsors of Widener University School of Law’s JURIST Academy. This scholastic summer camp strives to increase the participation of minority groups in law school. Rising college-age seniors are introduced to the legal profession and experience the dynamics of a law school classroom. Students also learn the critical thinking and analytical skills used by successful law students. Lewis Lazarus, Thomas Hanson and Patricia Winston have volunteered as speakers and guest professors at this Academy.
Street Law Inc. Program - As a DuPont Primary Law Firm, Morris James continues to participate in Street Law and, through this program, regularly hires student clerks from Howard High School in Wilmington. The program began as a practical law curriculum project designed by Georgetown University law students. Street Law, Inc. has grown into a national and international organization providing high school students the opportunity to work in legal services and learn about the day-to-day activities of practicing lawyers.
DuPont Minority Job Fair - Morris James participates in DuPont’s annual recruitment program promoting minority hiring in the legal profession.
DuPont Minority Counsel Network– The DuPont Minority Counsel Network (the “MCN”) is an organization comprised of the diverse attorneys practicing at DuPont’s Primary Law Firms. Morris James attorneys have been active in the MCN for over a decade and participate and hold leadership positions in its committees designed to serve the needs of diverse attorneys in majority firms. The MCN structure was recently reorganized and Thomas Hanson was appointed to the newly-formed Leadership Executive Board.
DuPont Women Lawyers’ Network – The DuPont Women Lawyers’ Network (the “DWLN”) is an organization designed to promote the advancement, recognition and visibility of women in DuPont’s Primary Law Firms. Morris James attorneys frequently attend DWLN events, are active in its initiatives and benefit greatly from its programs.
Delaware State Bar Association Multicultural Judges and Lawyers Section Leadership Award – Charles Toliver (2014) and Thomas Hanson (2011) were recognized for their leadership and ongoing contributions to promote diversity in the bar.
DuPont Themis Award – In 2006, Mary Culley received the prestigious Themis Award recognizing her achievements in the legal profession and contributions to the pro bono efforts in the Delaware Bar.
Wilmington Awards – In 2009, Thomas Hanson received the Community Service Award for his efforts in serving the local Wilmington community and promoting diversity in the Bar.
DuPont Minority Counsel Network - Thomas Hanson was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation for serving as Chair of the Minority Counsel Network Mentoring & Retention Committee, and moderating the panel discussion: "Why Mentoring Is Worth the Commitment." Mr. Hanson served as Co-Chair of the Minority Counsel Network Mentoring & Retention Committee from 2008-2012. Mr. Hanson was also awarded the Hinton J. Lucas, Jr. Torchbearer Award in 2014 for his unparalleled efforts to support and promote initiatives that create opportunities for diverse attorneys.
Morris James actively sponsors conferences, journals and associations that promote the hiring, retention and promotion of minorities. Some of those initiatives include:
Minority Corporate Counsel Association - An advocate for the expanded hiring, retention, and promotion of minority attorneys in corporate law departments and the law firms that serve them.
Minority Law Journal - Since 1996, the Minority Law Journal has provided a forum for the exchange of ideas on the application of diversity in the legal workplace.
DuPont Minority Corporate Counsel Conference – This conference helps its members build relationships in order to coordinate and add credibility to their diversity initiatives.
The ALLEI Program
Morris James frequently hosts foreign judges, lawyers, and law students while they are studying at the American Law and Legal English Institute at the University of Delaware. While we take the opportunity to respond to their questions regarding the American legal system during these visits, at the same time we always learn much about the how the law operates in a variety of countries - Brazil, Colombia, Japan, China, Korea, the Ukraine, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, to name just a few. This exchange is quite beneficial for both Morris James and our visitors as our practices increasingly expand beyond our own borders.
Morris James LLP derives its strength from its diverse and skilled attorney base. Morris James LLP recognizes that their attorneys have responsibilities outside the Firm that require attention in addition to their work within the Firm. Morris James LLP provides a supportive environment for attorneys who wish to balance their professional responsibilities with other personal demands.
Diversity at all levels of the Firm is a core cultural value which enhances our ability to compete and serve clients. (David H. Williams, Managing Partner)
The Firm’s commitment to diversity creates a respectful and inclusive culture where people from diverse backgrounds can utilize their talents and work productively together. Morris James recognizes that diversity provides a unique perspective that broadens our understanding of the clients and communities we serve. (Patricia A. Winston, Associate)
The firm’s commitment to diversity aligns us with our clients, and the collection of diverse viewpoints on our team promotes better innovative problem solving and better communication with those we represent. (P. Clarkson Collins, Jr., Diversity Committee Chair)
My Peace Corps experience taught me that differing backgrounds often result in divergent approaches to solving a problem which in turn can lead to multiple potential solutions. (Mary B. Matterer, Partner)
Some years ago, when I was still an associate, my husband and I decided that we both wanted to continue to pursue our career goals while sharing equally in all aspects of raising our two children. Morris James LLP has allowed me to practice law at the highest level and become a partner in the firm while providing the flexibility necessary to meet the needs and obligations of my family. (Gretchen S. Knight, Partner, Diversity Committee Member)
Morris James derives its strength from its diverse and skilled attorney base. The Firm recognizes that the attorneys have responsibilities outside the Firm that require attention in addition to their work within the Firm, and provides a supportive environment for attorneys who wish to balance their professional responsibilities with other personal demands. (Jill Spevack DiSciullo, Associate)
Morris James' inclusiveness allows us to learn from others whose human qualities differ from our own. This difference creates a workplace environment and practice that encourages collaboration and captures the advantage of diverse perspectives while showing dignity and respect for others. (Julian L. Stamper, Paralegal)