About Us



The Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) is committed to fostering participation of a more diverse group of lawyers in the Greater Philadelphia Region and beyond to make our legal profession stronger, more equitable and more inclusive.  To fulfill this mission, PDLG creates programs to enhance recruitment, advancement and promotion of lawyers of diverse backgrounds by law firms and corporate law departments.


In 1993, many local law firms and corporate legal departments signed a “statement of goals” presented by then Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Andre Dennis and agreed to increase minority attorney representation and retention at their organizations. Although the Philadelphia Bar Association and individual employers had made some progress since signing the statement of goals in 1993, it was recognized that a concerted effort was required if the number of minority lawyers in the Philadelphia legal community was going to increase. In 1998, Nolan Atkinson, Jr. of Duane Morris and Jonathan Waller of Sunoco were brought together by then Philadelphia Bar Association Chancellor Edward Chacker to take a hard look at this area of concern for the Philadelphia bar.

Out of the meetings between Nolan and Jon and their discussions with other lawyers a Steering Committee was formed in 2000.  The Steering Committee consisted of Nolan, Jon, Andre Dennis, Greg Matthews, Tobey Oxholm, Elaine Rinaldi and Robert Vogel. The Steering Committee convened a diversity retreat on June 2, 2000. The retreat was for senior in-house counsel and law firm chairpersons, managing partners and practice leaders. Its purpose was to evaluate the status of diverse lawyers in the area bar and to brainstorm how best to move forward with initiatives to increase diversity. Working with expert consultants, the group came up with a multi-pronged approach to be implemented under the auspices of what eventually became the PDLG.

Initially, the plan was to establish a non-profit corporation which would create a registry of diverse lawyers and law students seeking positions in Philadelphia and a second registry of volunteer mentors for diverse lawyers. In addition, the new corporation would serve as a resource center for educational programs and strategies for increasing diversity as well as to promote Philadelphia as a great place for diverse lawyers to work.

The work moved forward and in 2001, PDLG was incorporated with twelve members. The founding members, as listed in the original By-Laws, were Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, Cozen and O’Connor, Dechert, Drinker Biddle & Reath, Duane Morris & Heckscher, Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, Pepper Hamilton; Schnader, Harrison, Segal & Lewis, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, ACE USA and SUNOCO, Inc. From this modest beginning, PDLG has grown to 35 members - 23 law firms and 12 law departments.

While the mission has never changed, some of the programs designed to accomplish that mission have. Over the years, PDLG’s programs have focused on four areas: lawyer recruitment, student pipeline, legal community education and lawyer retention.


PDLG Officers 

Co-President – Maria Lewis, Faegre Drinker

Co-President – Jerome Maddox, Fox Chase Cancer Center

Secretary/Treasurer – Albert Dandridge, Ballard Spahr

Vice President – Sohana Sethi, Comcast Cable

Vice President for Programs – Lois Kimbol

Executive Committee Members 2023

Raymond Williams, DLA Piper

Shoshana Schiller, Manko Gold

John Lee, Morgan Lewis

Leslie John, Ballard Spahr


Melissa Merkel 

Archer Law
Shelly Smith
Tanneika Minott

Ballard Spahr LLP
Leslie John
Albert S. Dandridge, III

Blank Rome LLP
Rachel Packer

Buchanan Ingersoll
& Rooney PC

Charlene Gedeus
Lloyd Freeman

Ann Rappleye

Cohen Seglias
Lane Kelman
Sydney Pierce

Comcast Cable
Communications LLC

Sohana Sethi

Dechert LLP
Nitya Goyal

Dilworth Paxson LLP
Chris Nana-Sinkam

DLA Piper LLP (US)
Raymond Williams

Faegre Drinker Biddle
& Reath, LLP
Maria Lewis

Duane Morris LLP
Thomas Loder
Joseph West

Eckert Seamans Cherin
& Mellott, LLC

Ernest Holtzheimer

Flaster/Greenberg P.C.
Mariel Giletto

FMC Corporation
Marie Dukes

Fox Chase Cancer Center
Jerome Maddox

Greenberg Traurig
Michael Pratt
Vanessa Lowry

GlaxoSmithKline, LLC
Jennean Endres

Hangley Aronchick, Segal,
Pudlin, & Schiller
Peter Keays

Holland & Knight LLP
Nipun Patel

Stephani Lewis
Priyanko Pau

Independence Blue Cross
Erin Bender

Jazz Phamaceuticals
Mike King
Kali Wellington-James

Lincoln Financial
Christina Pron

Littler Mendelson, P.C.
Barbara Rittinger Rigo

Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox, LLP
Shoshana Schiller

Montgomery, McCracken, Walker & Rhoads, LLP
Keir Bradford-Grey

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
John Lee

Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, LLP
Min Suh

Troutman Pepper
Michael Reed
Kasem Lucas

Post & Schell
Marc Perry

Reed Smith LLP
Luke Debevec
Nick Rodriguez

Saul Ewing LLP
Igor Pleskov

Spark Theraputics, Inc.
Mia Beck

State Farm Mutual
Automobile Insurance Co.

Amy Loperfido

Stevens & Lee
Stacey Scrivani

Stradley, Ronon,
Stevens & Young, LLP

Danielle Banks

Temple University
Cameron Etezady
Sheryl Santerian

Temple University
Health System
John Ryan

The Vanguard Group
Ginene Lewis

White and Williams LLP
Wesley Payne
Rochelle Gumapac

Special Board Member
Lois Kimbol

Special Board Member
The Hon. Stella Tsai

Special Board Member
Fay Trachtenberg

Special Board Member
Sophia Lee

Special Board Member
Lilton (Tony) Taliaferro