We believe that by reflecting the composition and attributes of our clients and communities, we are better equipped to understand their needs and objectives. One of our firm’s core values is to cultivate an inclusive culture.
Our diversity and inclusion initiatives are designed to: 1) foster mutual professional and personal respect; 2) create an environment in which individual contributions are valued and where biases based on race, gender, sexual orientation, or any other category do not exist; 3) attract the best and brightest legal talent from all backgrounds; and 4) develop, retain and advance the careers of our talented diverse lawyers.
Our firm-wide Diversity and Inclusion Committee is charged with ensuring that our firm reflects the rich diversity of the communities and clients we serve. One of the committee's primary objectives is to recruit, retain, and advance the careers of our talented diverse lawyers. The committee is led by counsel Maria Lewis as Chair and partner Rachel Ryan as Vice Chair, and is responsible for implementing various programs and processes in the Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan, including recruiting, retention, assignment management and overall lawyer development.
Our firm's commitment to diversity is demonstrated by our many efforts to recruit diverse law school graduates and experienced lawyers. We regularly help coordinate and participate in a number of diverse attorney recruitment programs. Members of our hiring committee and recruitment staff travel to law schools around the country meeting with first-year diverse students to increase interest in the firm's Summer Associate program and conducting interviews for our associate positions.
In addition, the firm regularly devotes time, money and other resources to help support and encourage diverse students as they pursue their educational and professional goals. We work with student groups at various law schools to provide mentoring and financial assistance.
Resources are also dedicated to ensuring that our diversity commitment is reflected in our hiring practices. A few of our efforts include participating in minority job fairs nationally; committing to hire summer associates through a minority-focused organization; ensuring that our firm's core interviewer group has a diverse constituency; insisting upon diverse representation in interview schedules; financially supporting minority law student organizations nationally; placing job postings on websites targeted to a diverse lawyer audience; and holding outreach activities to meet diverse candidates in the various cities where we maintain offices.
Joining our firm is just the beginning. A stable, supportive environment is critical to encouraging our diverse lawyers to explore their professional interests and develop their legal skills.
The firm has established varied mentoring programs including peer integration, which is assigned for every new associate's first year at the firm; a Diversity and Inclusion Committee Watch Program, which tracks diverse associates to ensure that they are given ample opportunity to work on our most significant matters and clients; and a voluntary "opt-in" mentor program in which associates select their own mentors among partners.
LGBT Affinity Group
In 2014, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee established the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affinity Group. The group’s efforts are focused on recruitment, retention, and development of LGBT attorneys; providing a forum to LGBT attorneys for guidance, mentoring, and social networking; partnering with clients and prospective clients on initiatives and topics of interest to the LGBT community; promoting awareness within the firm about issues of interest to LGBT employees; and serving as a point of contact between the firm and the LGBT community at large, including coordinating pro bono opportunities and speaking events.
Drinker Biddle was recently named a top Illinois law firm for LGBT inclusiveness and equality for the fourth year in a row, based on the results of the Equality Illinois 2016 Law Firm Survey. Equality Illinois recognizes the leading Illinois law firms that promote inclusiveness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender lawyers and staff.
Sponsorship and Organization of Major Events
We sponsor, organize and participate in a variety of major events addressing issues important to women and diverse communities, both in the legal profession and in the wider business communities that we serve. Organizations and events we support include:
- American Conference on Diversity
- Asian Pacific American Lawyers Association of New Jersey
- Bar Association of San Francisco Diversity Pipeline Programs
- Barrister’s Association of Philadelphia Annual Barrister’s Ball
- Black Women Lawyers Association
- California Minority Counsel Program Annual Business Conference
- Corporate Counsel Women of Color
- Empire State Pride Agenda
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Lambda Legal
- Lavender Law Conference
- Legal Council on Legal Diversity
- Minority Corporate Counsel Association
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- National South Asian Bar Association Annual Convention
- New Jersey Law Education Empowerment Project (NJLEEP)
- South Asian Bar Association National Conference
Featured Insights & News
News | May 17, 2018
A Simple but Important Role in Diversity for Big Law
John Yi and Maria Lewis explore the challenges of retaining diverse attorneys, and one way law firms can demonstrate their commitment.
News | April 16, 2018
Tracey Salmon Smith Joins Drinker Biddle
Continues expansion of financial services capabilities in broker-dealer, FINRA areas.
News | April 11, 2018
Drinker Biddle Receives 2018 Promotion of Women in the Law Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association
The award recognizes the firm for providing mentoring and other opportunities that support the advancement of women lawyers.
News | December 11, 2017
Jesse Ruiz named among the Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago by Crain’s Chicago Business Crain’s Chicago Business
The inaugural list highlights the city’s most influential minority lawyers.
News | December 5, 2017
Iman Boundaoui Named Among “Chicagoans of the Year” by Chicago Magazine Chicago Magazine
Iman played an instrumental role in coordinating pro bono assistance for travelers affected by the presidential executive order travel bans earlier this year.
News | November 1, 2017
Alan King Featured in Crain’s Chicago Business’ “50@50+ Illinois” Crain’s Chicago Business
Alan King was featured for his contribution to the house music scene and his body of work with the Chosen Few DJs.
News | October 19, 2017
Pascal Benyamini Appointed to Advisory Council of California Department of Consumer Affairs BEARHFTI California Department of Consumer
Pascal will serve a two-year term for the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation Advisory Council.
News | September 19, 2017
Joshua J. Yang Joins Drinker Biddle's Investment Management Group in Chicago
Significant derivatives and hedge fund experience complements the firm’s existing capabilities and strengthens team in Chicago.
News | August 4, 2017
Drinker Biddle Named a Top Illinois Law Firm for LGBTQ Equality
This is the fifth year in a row that the firm has received this recognition.
News | July 25, 2017
Drinker Biddle Named One of the Best 50 Law Firms for Women
The prestigious list recognizes law firms that successfully retain and promote women lawyers, and that are actively committed to improving the status of women at work.
News | July 5, 2017
Fatema Zanzi on the Cover of Loyola Law's Magazine
Fatema was profiled alongside other prominent alumni of Loyola University Chicago’s Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy who hold prestigious positions at top law firms, health care-related companies, and government and policy organizations across the country.
News | May 9, 2017
Iman Boundaoui Profiled in Chicago Lawyer Magazine
The article discusses her volunteer work assisting travelers and their families in navigating immigration issues at the O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
News | January 5, 2017
Parimah Hassouri Featured in Reactions Amoug Women Leaders in Insurance
Parimah discussed practicing insurance law at a big firm and how to empower women in the legal industry.
News | May 25, 2016
Ken Murphy Receives J. Austin Norris Award at the Annual Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia Scholarship Gala
Philadelphia partner Ken Murphy received the prestigious J. Austin Norris Award at the Annual Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia Scholarship Gala this past weekend. The Gala is held each year to “celebrate up-and-coming law students, practicing attorneys and jurists who embody professionalism, dedication to the profession as well as a commitment to the Black Philadelphia legal community and public communities."