May 21, 2007
Wendell Taylor ('95) Honored for Heroic Efforts in Diversity
Included in the first-annual honoring of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly's Diversity Heroes is BU Law alumnus Wendell Taylor (’95), a partner at the Boston firm WilmerHale. As one of five attorneys to pave the way for this special title, Taylor and his counterparts “have demonstrated by their achievements that they have been able to move beyond the slights and slurs, or whatever barriers may have been placed in their way as members of minorities, as they sought to advance in their profession,” according to the Lawyers Weekly Web site.
After growing up in Boston during the racial tensions of the 1974 busing mandate, Taylor, who moved to Washington D.C. with his family in his youth, was left with bad impressions of the city. Luckily, that didn’t stop him from returning when he was accepted to BU Law in 1992.
Today, he sees Massachusetts as a promising venue for racial advancement with the election of Deval Patrick, the state’s first black governor. He is also optimistic about his own firm’s progress in promoting diversity. "When I came here [in February 1996], we had three partners and six non-partner lawyers of color in the Boston office. As of January 1 of this year, we had six partners and 30 non-partner lawyers of color in the Boston office. ... That's significant growth," he said on the Lawyers Weekly Web site.
Using his firm to assist in promoting racial equality, Taylor is a member of WilmerHale’s Youth and Education Initiative, which recruits minority attorneys to mentor high school summer interns. He also established the firm’s Committee on Diversity, on which he serves as co-chairman. He sees his professional advancement as a way to give back to the community.
"Color has not been an impediment to my career. But I have experienced incidents where people have made assumptions about me based on the color of my skin," he said. "Those are associations people make everyday. The key is to educate [them] or make a judgment to move on and make sure it's not holding me back."
Taylor was further honored for his award at Excellence in the Law, an event held by the Westin Boston Waterfront on February 1st and sponsored by Lawyers Weekly and the Massachusetts Bar Association. The event celebrated Lawyers Weekly's Lawyers of the Year, Diversity Heroes and others.
Reported by Elizabeth Ress