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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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

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