What Makes Us Different?
Click the icon to view our 2012 Diversity Report.
Sutherland's emphasis on diversity is reflected in numerous ways throughout the firm, such as the manner in which we recruit lawyers and other employees, our work-life policies and our professional service efforts. We have been recognized for our achievements in diversity. More importantly, we understand the significant role a diverse community plays in the firm's growth and development.
Our Awards and Recognitions
Sutherland continues to be recognized for its efforts to promote diversity in the workplace and in the legal profession. In 2010 we were named a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality,”
having earned a perfect 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, and we also were ranked a Top 25 Firm for Diversity for Minorities by Vault
. In addition, MultiCultural Law
magazine named us a Top 25 Firm for African Americans, a Top 100 Firm for Women and a Top 100 Firm for Diversity.Our Commitment
Sutherland is committed to promoting diversity within the firm and in the legal profession. We believe that diverse skills, knowledge and viewpoints make us a stronger, more productive law firm. We hire and promote qualified lawyers and other professionals regardless of age, sex, race, color, religion, gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, veteran status or any other prohibited factor. We at Sutherland understand that diversity enhances our value to clients by allowing us to staff our client teams with professionals who possess broad experiences and a spectrum of perspectives.
Sutherland has a 34-member cross-office Diversity Committee with responsibility for supporting and enhancing our firm culture. Our committee has helped coordinate and lead a number of efforts to advance diversity within our firm and the community. Affinity groups at Sutherland serve as support networks for attorneys of color; women lawyers; and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender attorneys.
We are committed to working with our clients as they pursue the common goal of a professional workplace where opportunity is available to all.
Our emphasis on diversity is reflected in the Sutherland workforce, in our recruiting efforts, and in our work-life solutions designed to retain employees and help them succeed. Women have been Sutherland partners since 1976 and have served as part of the firm's management since 1980. Lawyers of color have been Sutherland partners since 1985 and serve in key management positions.
We recruit new lawyers by participating in, among other events, several job fairs focused on students of color, the Lavender Law Conference and on-campus interviews at Howard University School of Law. We focus on retention and advancement by providing mentoring and training programs to help all our attorneys excel.
Sutherland has a long-standing part-time policy for our lawyers. As a firm, we have recognized the importance of flexibility and working with our lawyers to enable them to continue their careers during periods when there is a need for a reduced work schedule. Sutherland employees have access to backup child care to help balance the demands of professional and family life.
Our Pipeline Efforts
Sutherland recognizes the importance of diversity efforts along the pipeline. In 2005, the firm launched the Sutherland Scholars program, an initiative aimed at increasing diversity within the legal community. This summer program is offered to students from historically underrepresented backgrounds at no cost. Sutherland attorneys and other legal professionals lead intensive introductory legal classes. Students draft study outlines, brief cases and take a final exam. The program includes follow-up with graduates to help track their progress and recruit them to return as Summer Associates. Since the inaugural class of 2005, almost 170 students have graduated from the program. Launched in Atlanta, the program has since been expanded to Washington DC with plans to expand to New York.
The firm's pipeline efforts are not limited to college students. To target high school students, we are involved in the Junior Achievement program. This national program is designed to educate students about career possibilities by directly exposing them to adults in different fields. Sutherland hosted 20 students from the pre-law program of a local high school.
For elementary and middle school students, Sutherland's Atlanta, Washington DC and New York offices participate in Everybody Wins, a national reading program designed to help improve third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students' reading skills. As part of the program, volunteer mentors from Sutherland use their lunchtimes once a week to read with students who have been selected by the school, based on inadequate reading skills. The student and mentor select a book appropriate for the age and ability of the student and take turns reading aloud.
Sutherland Junior College
is a new firm program introduced in the Washington DC office in 2006. The program provides up to ten high school juniors the encouragement and tools to consider college as an option. The students meet weekly at Sutherland’s offices, where they have access to tutoring, help with SAT preparation, and college counseling. Dozens of attorneys and staff members serve as mentors to these students and contribute in other ways to this effort.
"A Firm Commitment"
Reprinted with permission Diversity Executive magazine (This piece was originally published by Diversity Executive magazine in November 2009)
© 2013 Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP