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Law School Affinity Groups

Sidley has formed meaningful relationships with law school affinity groups across the country, including Black Law Student Associations, Latino/Hispanic Law Student Associations, Asian Pacific American Law Student Associations and OutLaw organizations, in an effort to enhance the pipeline of women and diverse students into the legal profession. Throughout the year, our lawyers and staff make frequent trips to campuses where they take part in networking events, panel presentations and skill-building sessions co-hosted with these groups.

Activities co-hosted by Sidley and law school affinity groups may include:

  • Interview skills workshops and resume review sessions
  • Panels and speaker presentations on topics relevant to students
  • Forums and receptions at our offices for affinity group members
  • Off-site receptions for diverse 1L students
  • Networking receptions

Contact our Diversity and Inclusion department to learn more about how your law school affinity group can collaborate with Sidley.  

1L DEI Summer Mentorship Program


We conduct a summer 1L DEI Mentorship Program annually in select U.S. offices for law students who identify as racially or ethnically diverse, LGBTQ+, as having a disability, or are first-generation professionals. The program provides selected rising 2L diverse students and first generation professionals, who are employed elsewhere during the summer in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, or San Francisco, with insight into the practice of law.

Law students selected for the mentoring program spend six to seven weeks over the summer communicating regularly and meeting virtually and/or in person with Sidley lawyers at both formal and informal events. Our lawyers also provide one-on-one mentoring to students on career development strategies and professional opportunities in the local legal market.

Subjects addressed during the program include:

  • Navigating the law firm on-campus interview process
  • Taking full advantage of the summer associate experience
  • Understanding the variety and nature of practices in the local legal market
  • Advancing professional skills through pro bono service
  • Applying for clerkships
  • Cultivating role models, mentors and professional networks as a diverse lawyer

Find more information about this mentorship opportunity

Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship for Summer 2024

In 2022, Sidley launched Built to Lead℠, an executive leadership program uniquely designed to help associates become world-class, business-savvy lawyers. This program features MBA-level executive training at top business schools along with professional development and personal career coaching opportunities.

We are proud to build on the success of this program with the “Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship”. The Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship will be awarded to a limited number of second year law students who show exceptional leadership qualities and have demonstrated contributions to equity and inclusion initiatives. Students are recognized for their capacity to lead and serve, as well as their commitment to making a significant impact on inclusion efforts in their schools and communities. We are excited to launch this scholarship as part of our mission to continually attract, retain, and promote to partnership and leadership, outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and the communities that we serve.

The Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship awards $50,000 (less any applicable withholdings and taxes) to selected Sidley 2L summer associates. Scholarship recipients will receive $25,000 upon joining Sidley as a summer associate and the remaining $25,000 will be paid after joining the firm as a full-time associate. Leadership development opportunities will be available for scholarship recipients during the summer program.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

A Scholarship applicant must:

  • Be a full-time law student in your second year of classes at an accredited law school.
  • Receive and accept an offer for a summer associate position with Sidley Austin LLP.
  • Submit the following documents:
    • Current law school transcript;
    • Resume;
    • Completed application form; and
    • Personal statement (500 words or less) addressing the qualifications for the Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship including, a description of the applicant’s leadership strengths; contributions, through community service or otherwise, to equity and inclusion initiatives in an academic or professional setting; and how they have overcome adversity, such as a personal or family history of educational or socio-economic disadvantage, and have demonstrated the tenacity and talent to excel in the legal profession. Applicants are encouraged to discuss what they believe makes a great leader and which qualities they possess that have helped them to become a better leader.

Scholarship recipients will be selected from among the eligible applicants who have demonstrated academic excellence and leadership qualities, and who have demonstrated exceptional ability, including through:

  • Demonstrated contributions to equity and inclusion initiatives or to equity and inclusion more generally, including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, veteran status and/or other underrepresented groups in the legal profession;
  • Demonstrated ability to overcome adversity, such as first-in-family college attendance or socio-economic disadvantage;
  • Past participation in and/or interest in assisting with the inclusion initiatives of the firm.
  • Other extraordinary contributions or accomplishments;

Expectations of Scholarship Recipients

  • Scholarship recipients must receive and accept an offer to join Sidley’s summer associate program for its entirety after their second year of law school.
  • Sidley’s Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship is intended to defray the costs of the recipients’ legal education.

How to Apply

Complete the Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship application  and send it, along with a resume, current official law school transcript, and personal statement to:

Please contact Tabitha Hill, Legal Recruiting Diversity Coordinator, with any questions regarding the scholarship:

Application Timeline

Given the highly selective nature of the Built to Succeed Leadership & Inclusion Scholarship, and the limited number of Scholarships available, students are encouraged to submit applications prior to their call-back interview. The deadline for submitting a Scholarship application is August 30, 2023. Applications are considered and decisions are reached on a rolling basis.

Please note that the scholarship application is not an application for employment. You must apply separately for a summer associate position.

Sidley Diversity Committee

Sidley has a long history of committed action to diversify its own ranks, to build an inclusive and welcoming culture and to build the diversity of the greater legal profession. Our firm's leadership believes that creating a genuinely diverse and inclusive workplace is integral to the quality of legal services we can provide to our global client base. Diversity and inclusion is more than a department at Sidley or a series of programs – it is woven into every aspect of our mission.

Our Initiatives

The Diversity Committee strives to create an environment where every lawyer can grow, advance and make a meaningful impact. The committee seeks to accomplish this goal by providing essential programming, mentoring support, professional development and client connections. Programming is comprehensive, with each initiative thoughtfully designed to address a specific skillset that will enable diverse lawyers to succeed at Sidley – from first-year associates, all the way up to the partnership level.

  • Diversity Mentoring Program (DMP): One of our signature initiatives is the Diversity Mentoring Program (DMP), which pairs diverse associates with partners in their practice groups for the purposes of creating opportunities for those associates to access challenging and skill-building work, to obtain career guidance and to build meaningful relationships with partners and clients. Some of our recent diverse partners credit their DMP mentors with helping them to achieve partnership.
  • Development: We conduct an array of practice and business development initiatives designed to help diverse associates build strong practices and to support them in becoming leaders, both inside and outside the firm. Examples include “Build Your Bio” seminars, panels on business development strategies, in-house counsel presentations, informational sessions on the associate evaluation process and discussions about paths to partnership.
  • Partner Up!: Beyond professional development support, we understand the importance of networking and connecting with colleagues. Through our Partner Up! program, associates receive a quarterly reimbursement for an informal networking activity with a Sidley partner or senior counsel.
  • LGBTQ+: We also host quarterly socials and educational networking events to support lawyers who identify as LGBTQ+, and incoming first-year LGBTQ+ lawyers are paired with an informal network of LGBTQ+ mentors in their practices.
  • Disability Diversity Alliance: Our Disability Diversity Alliance was recently launched in an effort to strengthen our disability-inclusive culture, provide supportive networking for Sidley’s lawyers with disabilities and connect lawyers interested in workplace disability issues. The Alliance is working with firm leadership to demonstrate the importance of disclosing disabilities and expanding internal educational initiatives to improve the recruitment and integration of lawyers with disabilities at the firm.

For more information on Sidley’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, please visit the Diversity Committee page.

Sidley Affinity Groups

  • Black@Sidley
  • Unidos@Sidley
  • AAPI Affinity Group
  • Sidley PRIDE
  • Disability Diversity Alliance (DDA)

Sidley Women

SidleyWomen advances Sidley’s longtime commitment to providing opportunities for women in law. The goals of SidleyWomen are threefold: to increase the firm’s success in recruiting and retaining women associates, to promote a greater number of women associates to partnership and to promote a greater number of women partners to positions of power within the firm.

These efforts have produced measurable results and wide recognition. Most recently, Working Mother magazine named Sidley as one of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” for the ninth time and, for the sixth time, Sidley earned Gold Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum.

Events and Development

SidleyWomen plays a key role at firmwide events and hosts periodic professional development seminars for women lawyers, including lessons on effective presentation skills and leadership. Our Women in Leadership Series features accomplished women addressing topics such as mentoring, successful negotiating, self-advocacy, strategies for corporate governance and business development. These events provide critical networking opportunities with influential clients for Sidley women lawyers at all levels. SidleyWomen also hosts educational and networking programs on topics of importance to women in the legal profession. Upon arrival at the firm, women associates join firm-supported mentoring groups that include lawyers across all practice areas at all levels of seniority and career development.

SidleyWomen tracks the pipeline of women associates at the firm and works with firm management and practice groups to ensure the promotion of women associates into partnership at an equitable rate. We are proud that our 2018 new partner class was 56 percent women firmwide. An ongoing Executive Committee Task Force on Retention and Promotion of Women focuses on implementing policies aimed at maintaining a strong, satisfying professional experience for Sidley women at all stages of their careers.

For more information on our women’s initiatives, visit the SidleyWomen page.

Work-Life Resources

Sidley is a forerunner in the development and implementation of family-friendly policies and programs that benefit all lawyers. Among other policies, Sidley’s work-life initiatives include:

  • Reduced schedules in which lawyers stay on the partnership track
  • Gender-neutral parental leave, supplemented by concrete support for those entering or returning from leave
  • Up to 20 weeks of reduced schedules upon return from parental leave, automatically
  • Career coaching and guidance to help navigate work-life challenges
  • Subsidized back-up emergency childcare
  • Practical resources, including periodic seminars on topics like hiring childcare and eldercare providers
  • Support for nursing mothers through our Milk Stork program and fully equipped private workrooms for nursing mothers in each office