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Diversity at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld:
Akin Gump’s women’s professional development initiative has been in existence at the firm for over a decade and is now part of the Women’s Firmwide Resource Group (FRG). This group promotes the development and advancement of women lawyers at all stages of their careers. The Women’s FRG has chapters that are active at the local office level, many of which organise events to bring together the firm’s women lawyers and provide opportunities for networking and professional development.
The firm hosts Women’s Leadership Conferences, which bring together female lawyers firmwide, for two days of professional development and networking in Washington, D.C. The conference includes seminars and workshops on a variety of topics, including partnership and promotion, authenticity and presentation skills.
Under the leadership of Kim Koopersmith, who is the first woman at Akin Gump – and one of very few women at a major, global law firm – to hold the position of Chairperson, the firm has placed diversity and inclusion at the forefront. We are incredibly proud that from 2015 to 2020, firmwide, women have represented 40% of our partner promotions and people of colour have represented 19% of our partner promotions.
We recognise the importance of social mobility in the legal industry and our London Diversity & Inclusion Council representatives work alongside the recruitment team to foster partnerships with external organisations to promote access to law. We are a primary sponsor of AS Foundation, a charity offering financial relief for students pursuing a career in law, which provides successful applicants with study resources, laptops, textbooks and online research subscriptions and/or scholarships.
We participate in the Social Mobility Foundation Recruitment Success Service mentoring scheme and residential internship programme. As part of our involvement our trainees can volunteer for SMF’s Recruitment Success Service, which assists selected undergraduate students with applications for internships and graduate roles in the legal sector, and we host a CV/interview skills workshop for sixth-form students. We also sponsor the SEO City Horizons initiative.
We are long term sponsors of City Year UK, a leading youth service organisation that provides mentors to students in low-income communities. City Year UK honoured financial restructuring partner James Terry with its 2017 Bridge Builder Award for his exceptional mentorship, and in 2019 associate Joe Hewton was City Year UK’s London Bridge Builder award winner.
Akin Gump’s support for members of the LGBTQ+ community begins at undergraduate level and extends through internal, firmwide initiatives to ensure equality for all employees.
LGBTQ+ lawyers at Akin Gump maintain office and firmwide resource groups to encourage discussion to consider legal issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community and to participate in pro bono matters and recruitment initiatives. LGBTQ+ partners meet annually at the firm’s partner retreat to discuss mentoring, leadership and networking issues, and in the London office LGBTQ+ lawyers meet on an ad hoc basis to discuss LGBTQ+ initiatives. The firm hosts a Diverse Lawyers Summit to bring together all lawyers who self-identify as racially/ethnically diverse and/or LGBTQ+.
Akin Gump sponsors and supports organisations focused on members of the LGBTQ+ community, including, the Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair, Lambda Legal, Out of America, Interlaw, the Law Society’s LGBT+ Lawyers Division and a number of pro bono clients. Most recently, we have joined Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme.
Firm Quote On Diversity:
At Akin Gump, we believe that the various perspectives and experiences of our lawyers and staff help us achieve exceptional results for our clients and bring important insights into all aspects of the firm. Our diversity and inclusion strategy includes the following goal areas: leadership commitment, recruiting and diversity pipeline, professional development and inclusive workplaces, and strategic partnerships.
Our London office is committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment where all members of the Akin Gump community can thrive. We have local chapters of our firmwide resource groups and a London diversity and inclusion council to support culture that sees differences as strength.