Tracy Richelle High
Co-chair Diversity Committee and Women’s Initiative Committee Deputy Managing Partner in the Litigation Group, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
Headquarters: New York, NY
Business: Law Firm
CEO: H. Rodgin Cohen
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION INITIATIVES PROVIDING CLIENTS WITH HIGHER LEVELS OF SERVICE
With a long-standing D&I practice and clients around the world, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a strong history as a diversity leader in the legal community.
“In seeking to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment, we put at the forefront maintaining an environment where each individual is valued for her or his unique perspective and insight,” Sullivan & Cromwell’s Diversity Committee Co-Chair Tracy Richelle High said. “Diversity is vital to the firm’s ability to provide our clients with the highest level of service,” she added.
High is responsible for the firm’s multi-faceted D&I approach for recruiting and retention, diversity education and training, substantive and social internal programming, community outreach through pipeline programs, and support of diversity-related organizations.
“Our goal is to create an atmosphere of inclusion irrespective of perceived differences, and to train and develop our lawyers into trusted, effective and creative counselors who collaborate with each other, and our clients, to find sophisticated and creative solutions to our clients’ complex legal issues,” High said.
D&I GENERATING RESULTS
Under her leadership, the firm is consistently recognized as one of the top for LGBT, women, and ethnically diverse lawyers. Alongside her extensive D&I initiatives in the legal sector, High’s career path evolved from being a summer associate at the firm to becoming its first black female partner. Among her many accolades, last year she received the New York State Bar Association’s Diversity Trailblazer Award.
“My chief goal is to see more diverse people in positions of leadership and authority within their respective organizations,” High said. “We must do more than simply help diverse people get their feet in the door by getting the job. We need to ensure that they actively work to put themselves on paths to be leaders. That work involves strong and active sponsorship of those coming behind us. To do so, we must instill in our junior colleagues that our expectations of them are high – but not impossible to achieve. What I see as one of the greatest challenges to our own empowerment is our ability to truly believe in ourselves,” she added.
The firm’s steadfast D&I commitment is generating results in the increased diversity of the partnership. Sullivan & Cromwell elected 37 partners worldwide in the past six years; of these, eight are women, nine are minorities, and one is openly gay. The 130-year-old firm’s diverse group of lawyers speak over 40 languages and they come from about 40 different countries.
DEVELOPMENT, RETENTION AND ADVANCEMENT IN FIRM LEADERSHIP
As part of Sullivan & Cromwell’s D&I program, all members of its Diversity and Women’s Initiative Committees, as well as members of its active lawyer networks – the Asian Associates Network, the LGBT Network and the Network of Black & Latino Lawyers – are directly involved in the planning and execution of D&I initiatives. “Ultimately, all of our lawyers are considered firm ambassadors and contribute in various ways to our overall D&I efforts,” High said.
The network groups provide forums for lawyers to seek advice, share experiences, and discuss work-related issues. They bring in speakers to discuss career development, organize community service, and engage in professional development, social networking, and recruiting activities.
Women, racially diverse, and LGBT partners hold numerous leadership positions in the firm, including serving on the Management Committee, managing multiple offices, and heading practice groups and practice areas. For example, women and diverse lawyers head or co-head the Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney, and Tokyo offices, as well as the Firm’s Africa, Asia, Australia, California and European Union practices.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SULLIVAN & CROMWELL’S RECENT D&I RECOGNITION INCLUDE:
- Profiles in Diversity Journal – Diversity Leader Award
- Law 360 – 100 Best Law Firms for Minority Attorneys
- The American Lawyer Diversity Scorecard – Top Law Firms for Diversity
- Dave Thomas Foundation – Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces
- ACQ Global Awards – U.S. Leading Diversity Law Firm of the Year – LGBT
- ACQ Law Awards – U.S. Leading Diversity Law Firm of the Year