At Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell, we value the differences in people and believe that diversity enhances our ability to succeed and to serve our clients well. We welcome inquiries from qualified diverse candidates for both lawyer and staff positions.

WTO provides equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. It is the policy of the firm that all employees shall work in an environment free from all forms of discrimination. The firm does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or veteran status in matters of hiring, promoting, disciplining, and rewarding employees.

WTO diversity numbers recorded in September 2017 meet or exceed trends in Denver and nationwide, according to data published by The National Association of Law Placement in 2016.

Diversity Category

Large Firms Nationwide


 Women equity partners



 Women associates



 Minority equity partners



 Minority women partners



 Diverse associates (defined as  minority,  LGBTQIA, disabled, or veteran)



 U.S. military veterans



Recognition & Innovative Best Practices
WTO is a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and has participated in and won two recent national awards, the Vashon Innovator Award for Diversity Initiatives (2014) and the annual Rainmakers Award, which honors 10 diverse rainmakers each year, and which WTO’s managing partner, Carolyn Fairless, won in 2017.

WTO associate CiCi Cheng is the current co-president of the Colorado Pledge to Diversity, which is dedicated to improving the diversity pipeline for Colorado attorneys. In 2018, the ABA named Cheng to its national On the Rise list, which identified 40 young lawyers in the U.S. who demonstrate high achievement, innovation, vision, leadership, and legal and community service.

Twice in the past three years, Vault named WTO to the Nationwide Top 10 Best Midsize Law Firms to Work For based on its annual associate survey. The Denver Business Journal named WTO the #1 Best Place to Work in Denver in the extra-large company category in 2018, and the firm has finished in the Top 3 for each of the past four years. Both of these surveys ask about diversity and inclusion as part of the firm’s culture, and the recognitions reinforce and help the firm to add to and improve upon its recruiting and diversity and inclusion efforts.

Behavioral-Based Interviews
As we attract new candidates to the firm, we continue to educate ourselves about diversity and inclusion best practices and to undertake new approaches to diversify further. For example, WTO participated in the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System’s groundbreaking Foundations for Practice survey of tens of thousands of partners in law firms nationwide. The survey set out to identify those traits and qualities firm partnerships recognize as most critical to associate success.

Based on the results of this survey, WTO implemented a behavioral-based interview format to help determine whether candidates possess the qualities that most closely correlate with success. A key benefit to this interview format is that it helps to overcome the implicit biases that may negatively impact decision-making in a traditional “likeability” interview format.

Residency Program
For several years, WTO partnered with local law schools to provide a one-year legal residency training to highly qualified and motivated candidates following completion of law school. The program recently ended, and the results have been meaningful. Two women attorneys who went through the program have become regular lawyer-employees at the firm, and WTO provided training and substantive work experience to several other male, female, and diverse lawyers who went on to thrive in other law firms.

Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans
Additionally, the firm has been a steady supporter of Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans (CLCV). WTO Senior Counsel John Vaught spearheaded the program. CLCV launched in 2012 and has since helped more than 2,000 veterans and their families. CLCV facilitates legal services for veterans through free legal clinics hosted across the state. Since its inception, CLCV has opened more than 360 matters and matched more than 420 attorneys with veterans in need of free and reduced-cost legal services.

Diversity and inclusivity at WTO have been noticeably enriched thanks to these and other efforts, and WTO will continue to innovate to achieve greater diversity successes.

Mentorship & Professional Development
To retain and enhance diversity among our lawyers, WTO provides all associates with mentoring, guidance, and on-the-job supervision by experienced partners. In doing so, we take into account the background, experience level, and needs of each associate. We also have a formal professional development program. In addition to actual, hands-on trial work, we offer all attorneys workshops with the firm's senior partners, trial presentation consultants, and outside experts.

We encourage and support our diverse attorneys' interests in specialty bar associations, programs, and networking. In addition to our ongoing efforts aimed at increasing and retaining the diversity among our lawyers, WTO is committed to building a pipeline of diverse lawyers and helping them develop professionally.

  • The firm is a founding sponsor of a National Institute of Trial Advocacy scholarship program for public service lawyers.
  • The firm is a member of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and was a founding sponsor of the MCCA diversity scholarship program.
  • The WTO Foundation supports with volunteer time and donations nonprofit organizations such as Denver Urban Debate League, Denver Public Schools TutorMate, and Denver Kids, Inc., three programs that provide mentoring and support to underserved youth to encourage them to complete high school and pursue post-secondary education.
  • WTO sponsors financially and volunteers with the Center for Legal Inclusiveness, a national organization based in Denver.
  • WTO attorneys serve on the board of directors of the Deans' Diversity Council led by the deans of the University of Colorado and the University of Denver law schools, and on the Council’s pipeline and retention committees.
  • The firm also sponsors financially and pays for attorneys’ memberships in various diversity bar associations.

For more information, please contact Amy DeVan, Executive Director.