Associate Development, Retention and Advancement
The Firm has active networks for diverse associates: the Asian Associates Network, the Network of Black & Latino Lawyers (NOBLL), and the LGBT Network. These networks provide welcoming forums for our lawyers to seek advice, share experiences, and discuss work-related issues. The networks meet regularly and bring in speakers periodically to discuss career development topics. Participating associates also organize community service, professional development, social networking, and recruiting activities. Some examples of the networks’ activities are described below.
- To assist its members with achieving their professional and personal milestones, while also raising members’ professional profiles within the Firm, both AAN and NOBLL maintain mentoring programs for incoming associate members. NOBLL also maintains a monthly Speaker Series. The Speaker Series provides associates with opportunities to present on legal issues related to their practice areas.
- Members of the LGBT Network spearhead the Firm’s support of LGBT organizations and other contributions to LGBT causes. In addition, members of the LGBT Network facilitate S&C’s involvement in pro bono legal representations on important civil rights issues, including issues related to gay marriage and gay adoption. For example, the Firm, along with co-counsel from the American Civil Liberties Union, won an important victory in a landmark pro bono case, Cole v. Arkansas, which struck down as unconstitutional an Arkansas law that prohibited cohabiting couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents.
Our Associate Experience Committee is charged with monitoring, assessing and making recommendations regarding the Firm’s associate development initiatives, which include our formal advisor program and informal mentoring, professional/practice experience and development, training and morale. The committee works closely with the Firm’s Diversity Committee.
The Firm is also very proud of its “S&C Celebrates Diversity” speaker series. In the most recent program in this series the Women’s Initiative Committee co-hosted with the Firm’s Diversity Committee, Carla Harris, vice chairman of Global Wealth Management and senior client adviser at Morgan Stanley, and author of Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace. Ms. Harris’s discussion focused on her experiences in the financial management industry and her advice for building a successful career.
Participation in Firm Leadership
Women, racially diverse, and LGBT partners hold several leadership positions in the Firm, including serving on the Firm’s Management Committee and other committees, managing multiple offices, and heading many practice groups and practice areas. For instance:
- Women and diverse lawyers head or co-head the Firm’s Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, and Tokyo offices.
- LGBT lawyers head or co-head the Firm’s Broker-Dealer Regulation practice.
- Minorities head or co-head the Firm’s Africa practice, Asia practice, Australia practice, Corporate practice, European Union practice, Executive Compensation & Benefits practice, Hong Kong Law practice, Latin America practice, Sovereign Issuers practice, and Technology, Finance and Mergers and Acquisitions practice.
- Women head or co-head the Firm’s Africa practice, Alternative Investment Management practice, Antitrust practice, Asia practice, California practice, Litigation practice, Private Equity practice, Sovereign Issuers practice, and Technology, Finance and Mergers and Acquisitions practice.
Continuing Efforts to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in the Legal Community
Beyond the Firm, we are committed to improving the diversity of the legal profession.
In 2006, Sullivan & Cromwell, Goldman Sachs and the Harvard Law School’s Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice launched the Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies Initiative as a public-private partnership to address the achievement gap between young black men and their peers. Seeking to draw upon the resources of the private and philanthropic sectors to improve opportunities for young black men, the group identified five areas in which to urgently direct resources and energy: (1) early childhood development; (2) public school education; (3) employment and economic development; (4) criminal justice, prison reform, and reentry; and (5) opportunities for high-potential youth. The Firm is proud to have been a co-founder of this innovative and important initiative. Since the inaugural forum, thousands of people in the private sector have participated in discussions, plenary sessions and working groups to secure funding and to develop and implement strategies to combat the rising rates of drop-out, incarceration and unemployment among young black men.
The Firm is also deeply committed to growing the pipeline of diverse attorneys through internship, mentoring and development programs for high school, college and law school students of color.
- At the high school level we partner with Legal Outreach, NJ LEEP and the Boys’ Club of New York. These organizations prepare urban youth from underserved communities to compete at high academic levels by providing intensive legal and educational skill-building programs. In addition to our financial support of the programs, each summer the Firm hosts four students from each program for one week, during which time the students meet our lawyers, learn about the Firm’s various practice areas and participate in a lawyer-run mock trial.
- At the college level, we are a longstanding partner with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (“SEO”), a non-profit organization that provides mentoring programs for minority high school students and continues to support their development throughout college. S&C has financially supported the SEO program for many years and has employed outstanding college students as part of SEO’s Corporate Law Program. Each year students intern at the Firm during the summer between graduation from college and commencement of law school. The Firm also routinely hires former SEO interns as summer and regular associates.
- At the law school level, S&C has a longstanding tradition of being an active supporter of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students, Program, Inc. (“PALS”), an organization that provides networking opportunities and mentoring and development programs to minority law students and junior lawyers. For more than 15 years, the Firm has hosted the program’s Fall Kick-Off Event, which attracts approximately 250 minority law students and attorneys from around New York City. For the past 13 years, the Firm has also hosted a writing workshop each spring for PALS members. S&C lawyers also serve as PALS mentors.
Our lawyers also participate in bar committee activities addressing issues of concern to women and minority lawyers in the profession and are encouraged to participate in professional development and diversity-related forums, seminars and conferences.