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 Diversity Summer Mentorship Program
We conduct a summer 1L Diversity Mentorship Program annually in seven of our U.S. offices for law students who identify as racially or ethnically diverse, LGBTQ or as having a disability. The program also provides selected rising 2L diverse students, who are employed elsewhere during the summer in Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco or Washington, D.C., with insight on the practice of law.
Law students selected for the mentoring program spend six to seven weeks over the summer meeting regularly with Sidley lawyers at both formal and informal events, such as educational programs, mock interview and resume review workshops, day-in-the-life shadowing opportunities, networking receptions, casual social events and brown bag lunches. 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
Program participants are also invited to attend Sidley’s Diversity Dialogues, an annual national program that highlights significant civil and human rights issues and includes other social events for our lawyers and summer associates.
Find more information about this mentorship opportunity and download the application.
Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship for Summer 2021
Sidley created the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship initiative for 2L law students to help promote diversity within the legal profession and to support Sidley’s diversity policies. Through this initiative, Sidley will award a number of Diversity & Inclusion Scholarships in the amount of $25,000 (less any applicable withholdings and taxes) to selected 2021 Sidley summer associates.
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.
- Submit the following documents:
- Current law school transcript with all first-year grades;
- Completed application form; and
- Personal statement (500 words or less) addressing what you believe demonstrates your qualification for the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship including, potentially, a description of your academic and personal strengths; exceptional contributions, through community service or otherwise, to the cause of diversity; and/or how you have overcome adversity, such as a personal or family history of educational or socioeconomic disadvantage, and have demonstrated the tenacity and talent to excel in the legal profession.
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 diversity initiatives or to diversity and inclusion more generally, such as in the area(s) of racial or ethnic diversity, sexual orientation or gender identity, disability, veteran status and/or other areas underrepresented or otherwise important to diversity in the legal profession; and/or
- Other extraordinary contributions or accomplishments; and/or
- Demonstrated ability to overcome adversity, such as first-in-family college attendance or socioeconomic disadvantage; and/or
- Past participation in and/or interest in assisting with the diversity and inclusion initiatives of the firm, such as the Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program or the Sidley 1L Diversity Summer Mentorship Program.
Expectations of Scholarship Recipients
- Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship recipients must join Sidley’s summer associate program after their second year of law school.
- The Sidley Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship is intended to defray the costs of the recipients’ legal education.
How to Apply
Complete the Sidley Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship application and send it, along with a resume, current official law school transcript and personal statement to:
Sidley Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship
c/o Jennifer Connelly
Sidley Austin LLP
One South Dearborn Street
Chicago, IL 60603
Given the highly selective nature of the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship, and the limited number of Scholarships available, students are encouraged to submit applications at their earliest convenience. We strongly prefer to receive the application by the time of the candidate’s call-back interview.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Women at Sidley
Our Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women (CRPW) advances Sidley’s longtime commitment to providing opportunities for women in law. The goals of the CRPW 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.
Committee on Retention and Promotion of Women
The CRPW 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. The CRPW 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.
The CRPW 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 CRPW page.
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