Sheryl J. Willert

Professional Biography

Sheryl Willert is a Member in the firm’s Seattle office and served as the firm’s Managing Director from 1996-2001 and again from 2006-2013. Ms. Willert continues to serve the firm on its Board of Directors and chairs the firm’s Diversity Committee.

Ms. Willert concentrates her legal practice on counseling, investigations and dispute resolution. She has broad experience in all aspects of employment law for unionized and nonunionized employers in both the public and private sectors. A nationally recognized speaker and author on such topics as employment discrimination, implicit bias, compliance and privacy matters, Ms. Willert has been “AV Preeminent”- the highest peer-review rating available, for over 25 years. She has worked locally with various organizations and individuals on a wide range of legal issues. Sheryl has a long-term work relationship with the Puget Sound Pilots, providing counsel on maritime law and various other legal matters.

Additionally, Ms. Willert has represented clients in matters involving commercial litigation, products liability and medical negligence. She has provided council to numerous professional athletes on business and personal matters in addition to assisting in legal matters for various nonprofit organizations including Russell Wilson’s Why Not You Foundation. Ms. Willert was designated by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of the region’s “Women of Influence,” a recognition of women in commerce, service and philanthropy who are “a force in the Seattle community.”

Ms. Willert is a past president of the DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, the nation’s largest association of civil litigation defense attorneys. She is also the organization’s first female and first African-American officer. In 2009, DRI-The Voice of the Defense Bar, renamed its Pioneer Diversity Award after Ms. Willert. The award, now known as the Sheryl J. Willert Pioneer Diversity Award, recognizes an individual attorney for his or her demonstrated commitment to diversity in the legal profession. In 2010, Ms. Willert was honored as one of the Women of Power in Law at the Women of Color Empowered event hosted by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation. In 2011, Ms. Willert received the Loren Miller Bar Association’s Pioneering Woman Award, presented to African-American female attorneys who are trailblazers in the legal profession. In 2013, Ms. Willert was named to On Being A Black Lawyer’s Power 100 list, a compilation of the nation’s most influential black attorneys working in government, academics, and both the private and public sectors. Also in 2013, USLAW Network recognized Ms. Willert for her dedication and service to the organization with the O’Hagan Award. In 2014, Ms. Willert received the Washington Most Powerful and Influential Women Award from the National Diversity Council.

Ms. Willert received her B.A. degree with distinction from Duke University in 1975 and her J.D. degree from Vanderbilt University in 1978.

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