Sidley Austin LLP is a pioneer in diversity and inclusion initiatives in its own ranks. When our first female partner was added to the firm in 1956, most firms were not hiring women lawyers at all. We were one of the first law firms in Chicago to add a partner of ethnic minority background. Openly LGBT lawyers have long been leaders in the firm. These were not accidents. Sidley has long valued diversity among its lawyers and clients and we have always been actively involved in the communities where we live and work. Our mission is to continually attract, retain and promote to partnership and leadership outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and the communities that we serve.
Sidley has also strenuously encouraged an inclusive and collegial firm culture. Over twenty years ago, Sidley was one of the first law firms to implement a Reduced Work Schedule policy, one part of a comprehensive support system for our lawyers. We were the first U.S. law firm to be a national sponsor of Lambda Legal and led in providing health insurance coverage and other benefits to same-gender partners and spouses. We have implemented innovative programs to both bring greater numbers of minority students into the legal profession (our Sidley Prelaw Scholars Initiative) and to create programs that enhance an inclusive culture for our minority, female, LGBT and disabled lawyers.
We are committed to achieving greater diversity and inclusivity, not just in our firm, but in the legal profession as a whole. Sidley was the first U.S. law firm to develop a pipeline program providing financial and mentoring support for economically disadvantaged minority college students seeking to attend law school. Our pipeline efforts range from elementary school through young lawyers’ first years in the profession. Beyond the legal profession, Sidley has strong ties in the diverse communities in which our lawyers and staff reside. For more detailed information, please visit our Diversity Committee and Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women pages.
Sidley Austin’s Chicago office recently hosted an event for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Pictured are: Scott Lilly, President of Opportunity Funding Corporation, a division of Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Blake Bryson, accepting an award on behalf of Cheryl Blackwell Bryson, Dorothy Capers, Dorothy Brown and Tyronne Stoudemire.