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 Chief Diversity Officer 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 | July 31, 2019
Helen Tuttle Most Influential Women
The annual list recognizes African American women who have made a significant impact in corporate America.
News | July 26, 2019
Yodi Hailemariam Named a Rising Star by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association
Hailemariam was one of only 13 attorneys from across the country chosen by the MCCA "who are leading the charge for change in their communities and the legal profession."
News | June 24, 2019
Drinker Biddle Achieves Top Ratings in Chambers Associate Rankings
The firm was ranked among the best in the nation in areas important to associates, including satisfaction, career opportunities, retention, benefits and lifestyle, pro bono, and diversity.
News | June 18, 2019
Maria Lewis Featured in The Legal Intelligencer as a Best Mentor
Maria was featured in a Q&A article with her thoughts on mentorship.
News | June 11, 2019
Rachel Ryan Named to Inaugural “Nation’s Best” List by Lawyers of Color
Lawyers of Color chooses attorneys who have noteworthy accomplishments and a commitment to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
News | January 28, 2019
Maria Lewis Recognized for Advancement and Equality in the Legal Profession
Maria recently received two prestigious awards: the Justice Juanita Kidd Stout Woman of Distinction Award from The Barristers’ Association of Philadelphia, and the Martin Luther King Jr. Champions of Social Justice and Equality Award from the Black Law Students Association (BLSA) of Rutgers Law School-Camden.
News | January 18, 2019
Pascal Benyamini Appointed as Vice President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the NTMA
Pascal was appointed by the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Tooling and Machining Association during an installation dinner at the Summit House in Fullerton, California.
News | January 16, 2019
Sandy Grannum Noted among the Network Journal’s Annual 25 Influential Black Women
The award recognizes professional women for their distinguished careers and dedication to serving their communities.
News | December 21, 2018
Drinker Biddle Recognized For Innovation in Fall Diversity in Law Hackathon
Andy Kassner participated in the national event.
News | November 29, 2018
Partner Sandy Grannum to be Honored with New York State Bar Association Award
Sandy will be recognized for her dedication to mentoring other female lawyers and her efforts in ensuring a more diverse legal community.