Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman has appointed complex commercial and labor and employment litigation partner Stacie Yee as executive chair of the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
Yee, who is based in Los Angeles, takes over the role from former corporate partner Brian Wong, who left the firm’s San Francisco office last month to become a managing counsel for corporate, finance and governance at the Pacific Gas and Electric Co. Wong served as Pillsbury’s executive partner for diversity and inclusion from 2014 to 2018.
“I am taking the role from someone who was a phenomenal supporter of Pillsbury’s diversity and inclusion efforts, Brian Wong,” said Yee, praising her firm’s focus on having a diverse leadership group. “What I hope to do is bring a fresh and different perspective on that, but still continue that goal and build in Pillsbury’s accomplishments.”
Wong, who after nearly 22 years at Pillsbury moved in-house to PG&E, a longtime firm client, was not immediately available for comment about the firm’s diversity efforts.
Yee joined Pillsbury’s litigation practice in 2016 when the firm reeled in three West Coast partners from Squire Patton Boggs, including business and employment litigators Yee and Thomas Liu in Los Angeles, and corporate and securities partner Jenny Liu in San Francisco.
Before moving to Pillsbury, Yee spent more than 14 years at Squire and predecessor firm Squire Sanders, which merged with Patton Boggs in mid-2014. Her practice, which fuses labor and employment law matters and complex commercial litigation, focuses on wage-and-hour issues, wrongful discharge, discrimination and retaliation litigation, as well as noncompete and trade secret matters.
Yee has been involved with diversity efforts for a number of years.
“What got me interested [in this] is very personal, [and] to be open about that, I would say in a sense that I never completely felt like I fit in,” said the biracial Yee, who has a Chinese father and a Norwegian mother. “Even when I was younger throughout my career, I personally struggled to figure out not only what my identity is, but also what a path to success looks like for someone like me, with my background.”
In her new role, Yee will work closely with Rosa Walker, director of administration for Pillsbury’s offices in Houston and Austin, Texas, as well as its firmwide director of diversity and inclusion, to advance the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Other colleagues that Yee will be working with include Pillsbury partners Brooke Daniels in Washington, D.C., and Alicia McKnight in San Francisco, who lead the firm’s Women Attorneys Network, an affinity group that Yee once co-chaired. Pillsbury corporate partner Kimberly Mann in Washington, D.C., leader of the firm’s Attorneys of Color Network, and partners Richard Segal in San Diego and Michael Reese in New York, co-leaders of the Pillsbury Pride employee resource group, will also work closely with Yee.
Prior to accepting her role as diversity chair, Yee was a fellow for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity program, a national organization comprised of more than 285 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners who dedicate themselves to create a diverse U.S. legal profession by identifying and preparing diverse lawyers for leadership roles.
Pillsbury, which had roughly $589.5 million in gross revenue rise last year, came in at No. 59 on The American Lawyer’s most recent Diversity Scorecard. The firm also recently topped a list of family-friendly firms compiled by Yale Law Women.
“Diversity and inclusion are core to Pillsbury’s culture, so we are excited to welcome such a talented, collaborative and fair-minded partner as Stacie Yee as diversity chair,” said a statement from firm leader David Dekker. “Stacie has been a creative co-leader of our Women Attorneys Network. We’re confident that she will build on our accomplishments as a leading firm for diversity and inclusion through recruiting, retention and advancement.”
“I am still a minority in what I am doing now,” Yee said. “I think it is important for other attorneys who are coming through the ranks to have a network or support system, to have people that they can see what a path for success may look like for them.”