As Chief Diversity Officer for Perkins Coie LLP, Theresa Cropper is responsible for the firm's diversity policies and initiatives. Theresa works with the firm's Executive Committee, the Strategic Diversity Committee and the Management Committee to develop and support the execution of strategies, programs and timetables related to diversity. In this role, she develops programs for the recruitment, retention, and promotion of lawyers of color, women, gay lesbian bisexual and transgender and those with disabilities. Theresa works with each office to develop and support local diversity initiatives, and she partners with firm management and practice groups to explore ways to promote diversity and inclusion internally and externally.
Theresa previously served as the National Director of Diversity at DLA Piper US LLP, where she was responsible for implementing all aspects of the firm's national diversity initiative. Before entering the law firm arena, Theresa served as the Dean of Students at Northwestern University School of Law. During her 14-year tenure at Northwestern, she was the first Director of Minority Affairs and led the initiative to increase the diversity of the student body from 9% to over 30%. She also developed model programs for retention and professional development for diverse students. After six years in that position, she was promoted to Dean of Students and worked to create an inclusive community through programming that emphasized a team approach to student problem solving. She launched programs designed to provide professional development outside of the classroom with a focus on leadership, team building, mandatory diversity training, problem solving, and networking. These programs became the hallmark of the Office of Student Affairs.
Theresa is President Emeritus and Historian of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professional (ALDFP), a group she founded in 2004. The group is the professional organization of diversity professionals in law firms. She was inducted in the National Black Law Students Association (NBLSA) Hall of Fame in 2008, with the historical recognition of being the first woman to serve as the national chair of the NBLSA in 1978.