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Our Diversity Initiatives

Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of the Firm is part of our daily life. We are guided by a Diversity Action Plan that outlines concrete steps to achieve our inclusion objectives. 

The Diversity Committee is comprised of 34 global partners, some of whom are also members of our Executive Committee, the highest governing body at the Firm. The Diversity Committee is led by three co-chairs who work closely with the firm’s Director of Diversity & Inclusion to implement the Diversity Action Plan. Our Diversity Advisory Council, comprised of associates and counsel, provides essential input to the Diversity Committee and plays an important role in recruiting top talent.

The Diversity Committee spearheads several initiatives, including:

  • Affinity Groups and Inclusion Networks: The Firm supports six affinity groups in our New York office. Our affinity Groups are supportive communities where lawyers with common affinities, interests, and/or goals collaborate to foster greater inclusion at the Firm with particular focus on associate development and engagement. Affinity Groups and Inclusion Networks are comprised of lawyers from all levels of seniority, and aim to develop and strengthen relationships among lawyers, particularly across practice areas and seniorities.
    • Asian
    • Black Lawyer’s Network
    • Parents
    • STB Proud (LGBTQ attorneys)
    • STB Colegas (Latinx attorneys)
    • South Asian
  • Inclusion Networks: Similar to affinity groups, our inclusion networks are comprised of lawyers in our U.S. offices outside of New York, from all levels of seniority at a specific office. Inclusion Networks meet and host programs to foster greater inclusion, while strengthening relationships among the lawyers in their respective office.
  • Mentoring: We firmly believe in the importance of mentoring throughout each stage of career development, and we know that each mentee has individual objectives from mentoring relationships as well. Our first year associates have the opportunity to opt into our Diversity Mentoring Program (DMP). As part of that initiative, partners serve as mentors to associates of color and LGBTQ associates, focusing on retention and career development. DMP mentors and mentees participate in a series of meetings with the D&I team to discuss mentoring objectives and important factors when building relationships across difference. The goal is to help create and boost the interactions between mentee and mentors and build the foundation for longer and more meaningful relationships at an early stage of their professional career. More than 200 associates have participated in the Program.

  • Inclusion and Heritage Month Programs: The Firm and Diversity Committee host quarterly conversations that highlight influential legal practitioners and professionals who provide insights on career paths, achievements and obstacles, and celebrate inclusion in the legal profession and in our broader communities.  Recent events include:
    • A conversation with Judge Denny Chin, Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
    • A discussion with Olympic medalist, Dr. John Carlos 
    • A conversation with New York Public Library General Counsel Michele Coleman Mayes
    • A conversation with Venture for America founder (and subsequent Democratic Presidential Candidate) Andrew Yang
    • A conversation with James Essex, Director, ACLU LGBT & AIDS Project 
    • A conversation with Richard Rothstein, author of “The Color of Law”
    Citywide Diversity Reception:  Simpson is proud to host an Annual Citywide Diversity Reception. Every summer we gather our lawyers, clients, and law students for a discussion on diversity, current events and inclusion in the legal profession. This year in honor of Black History Month, the Firm hosted its first ever Winter Citywide Diversity Reception featuring Issa Rae, a Black artist whose collective work has shed light on the stories, voices and challenges within the Black community.  Issa recently lead a MasterClass program “Creating Outside the Line,” in which she shared how she navigates Hollywood while Black and provides guidance and inspiration to other artists of color to elevate their craft and the Black culture.  The discussion was moderated by Partner Linton Mann III and Simpson Thacher alum Esi Agbemenu, with an introduction from Partner Katie Sudol. 

    In light of the current racial inequities, in 2020 we held a virtual discussion on race relations, police brutality, corporate responsibility, and the legal profession’s affirmative duty to combat racism in the U.S. with leaders in the legal profession located in the greater Minneapolis area.  Our featured guests were Ivan Fong, General Counsel at 3M, Anna Richo, General Counsel at Cargill, and Garry Jenkins, Dean at University of Minnesota Law School and STB alumnus

    In 2019, we recognized the 50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising featuring a conversation with actress and trans activist, Laverne Cox. Ms. Cox discussed the significance and contributions of members in the trans community to LGBTQ rights) and her own journey and success in the arts and community.

    Previous speakers include former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara; American Ballet Theatre Principal ballerina, Misty Copeland; playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda; and lawyer and activist Bryan Stevenson

    STB United For Justice:  Announced in summer 2020, STB United for Justice is a comprehensive and purposeful long-term initiative to combat racial and social injustice in the U.S. through the collaborative efforts of STB personnel and external stakeholders. Through this initiative the Firm made several donations to organizations that are actively engaged in efforts to promote racial and/or social justice through focused initiatives across the U.S.  Each organization was nominated by a member of the STB community.

    The Firm is very focused on racial equality and social justice reform.  Simpson Thacher, in collaboration with a select group of law firms, officially supported the formation of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA) as a founding member.  The purpose of the LFAA is to leverage the resources of the private bar to amplify the voices of communities and individuals oppressed by systematic racism, to better use the law as a vehicle for change that benefits communities of color and to combat structural racism in the law, legal profession, and legal institutions.  As a founding law firm, the firm is pledging to become an active participant in meaningful and long-term efforts supporting antiracism initiatives.

    We also held our first ever STB Forum: Our Stories, Our Strength. It was a town hall-like forum that was open to all colleagues across our U.S. offices. The goal of the Forum was to hear a sample of one another’s experiences within a safe space and allow attendees the ability to expand their understanding and appreciation for the diversity of stories and experiences in our community. This enabled our lawyers and staff to expand our perspectives and understanding on racial and cross-cultural experiences, as well as being more effective allies. Through our Forum, our stories raised our awareness, promoted empathy, and strengthened our community.

    In succession, the Firm conducted a CLE accredited series of “Allyship 101” trainings for all U.S. personnel. The goal was to create a common foundation among us, on which more nuanced discussions can be built in the future. This was achieved through interactive workshops that covered the fundamentals of antiracism and allyship and how these principles apply in everyday situations at the firm and beyond.  They also introduced practical tips on how to serve as an ally to your black and brown colleagues.

  • Group and Office Development Discussions: Practice Group heads, office leaders, staffing partners and representatives from the Legal Personnel and Diversity Departments meet semi-annually to focus on the career development of female, LGBTQ and associates of color across our offices.
  • Recruiting: Over the past several years, we have supported a wide range of student organizations that include the Black Law Students Association, Latino Law Students Association, Outlaws and Lambda organizations as well as the Asian Pacific Law Students Association at a number of the schools at which we recruit. As a member of the Leadership Council for Legal Diversity (“LCLD”) since its establishment in 2009, we have had a diverse attorney participate in the LCLD’s Fellows Program every year since the program’s launch.  The program has provided Simpson’s diverse attorneys with career, leadership and client development opportunities.  Three of our former LCLD Fellows are now partners, and one is counsel.
  • Community Outreach: Established in 2009, the Firm's Urban Education Initiative (UEI) partners with public schools in New York and Los Angeles. UEI aims to enhance the pipeline of students of color who enter college and to expose them to the legal profession. Since its launch, over 500 Simpson Thacher employees—from junior staff to senior partners—have hosted visits by more than 1,800 public high school and middle school students where they participate in resume writing workshops, panel discussions on college readiness, career development, and mentorship.

Simpson Thacher also participates in the Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) and Legal Outreach programs, and consistently sponsors events of several affinity organizations focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.  Past collaborations include:

  • Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY)
  • Council of Urban Professionals (CUP)
  • Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA)
  • Lambda Legal
  • LatinoJustice PRLDEF
  • Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
  • Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA)
  • Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA)
  • NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)