New York – Sidley today announced Leslie Richards-Yellen as Chief Diversity Officer. She joins Sidley from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP where she played a pivotal role in strengthening their global diversity and inclusion functions. She will partner with firm leaders and Sidley’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) and SidleyWomen committees to continue to develop and advance the firm’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals and strategy.
Ms. Richards-Yellen arrives at Sidley with more than 30 years of legal experience, both in-house counsel and in private practice, and 15 years as a diversity, equity, and inclusion leader. Prior to joining Sidley, she held the titles of Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Director of Inclusion – Americas, and Partner at multiple nationally ranked law firms. Earlier in her career, Ms. Richards-Yellen practiced finance law.
She is a longtime member of the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession’s Advisory Board and has also served as president of the National Association of Women Lawyers, chair of the Board of Directors of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms, chair of the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism’s Diversity Committee, and co-chair of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum’s Diversity/International Committee. Ms. Richards-Yellen currently serves as the co-chair of Cornell Law School’s DEI Alumni Counsel. She has received many professional honors and is a frequent speaker and writer on DEI topics.
“I am excited to welcome Leslie to the Sidley family. Our clients and talent tell us that creative, intellectually successful teams perform best when they are diverse in every sense of the word,” said Management Committee Chair Yvette Ostolaza. “Leslie was known to many of our Sidley attorneys as having the leadership skills and experience to take us to the next level across our 21 offices in her role as Sidley’s Chief Diversity Officer. We intend to continue to win the talent war by attracting the best talent as a result of our inclusive culture.”
“Leslie’s presence is a big win for Sidley’s global community,” said Mike Schmidtberger, Executive Committee Chair. “We pride ourselves on cultivating an environment where every person can be the most genuine version of themselves. Not only do I look forward to collaborating with Leslie, but I am also excited to learn from her expertise and share that knowledge across the firm.”
Sidley is able to thrive, in no small part, due to our commitment to diversify our ranks, build an inclusive and welcoming culture, and foster inclusion and collegiality within the greater legal profession. We seek opportunities to join forces with clients and local organizations to further our mutual commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion using the power of the law, advocacy, and education. Together, we can harness the strength of our unique voices and backgrounds to combat injustice and advance and protect the fundamental principles of equality, inclusion, justice, and integrity.
Sidley has received several awards for its commitment to diversity, including the 2023 best firm for “Retaining Female Talent” award from Law.com International, the “Best Law Firms for Women & Diversity” by Seramount for 15 of the last 16 years, and U.S. Gold Standard Certification in 2022 from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF).
Sidley is an elite global law firm with nearly US$3 billion in revenue powered by lawyers who practice at the highest level of the profession. Backed by 157 years of experience, we deliver superior service to a high-caliber group of market-leading clients worldwide, while placing a premium on collaboration and diversity.
Our firm boasts a roster of 2,300 lawyers who wield deep experience in litigation, transactional, and regulatory matters spanning over 50 legal disciplines and industries.
With 21 offices, including our new Miami office, situated in major commercial and financial capitals around the world, our lawyers possess the cultural awareness and legal acumen needed to advise clients in today’s global economy. Follow Sidley on Twitter @SidleyLaw.
Matt Messinger, Director, Public Relations, +1 312 456 4009
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