Company: Dechert LLP
Diversity Team Name: Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity Team Leader: Satra Sampson-Arokium
As a global law firm with 26 offices in 13 countries, Dechert has a multinational identity that is fundamentally diverse. As such, the firm’s commitments to diversity and inclusion are not simply words written on a website—they are guiding principles that all those at Dechert live by every day.
Amid a busy, multifaceted D&I program, standout innovations and initiatives include the following:
Affinity Groups: Signature events in 2019 included a Veterans Leadership Panel that explored how skills learned on the battlefield apply in corporate America; Cephas Williams’s “56 Black Men” campaigning photography exhibit, which took aim at stereotypes in the professional services industry; and a client event held at Washington, DC’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Diversity Champions: An award program, open to all those at Dechert whatever their seniority, role, or location, set up to recognize those who have given most to support a diverse and inclusive culture. The firm’s leaders chose four Diversity Champions from 100 peer-nominations; each was awarded a bonus.
Diversity Dashboards: A user-friendly program, covering hours, work quality, and distribution of assignments, that helps firm leaders see where D&I efforts are working effectively and where more attention is needed.
Diversity Symposium: A two-day event for diverse associates, designed to help cultivate a wider professional and support network, and to connect directly with firm leaders.
Inclusive Leadership: Regular interactive sessions for all personnel aimed at building inclusive leadership skills.
Sponsorship and Sustained Support (SASS) program: Designed to help women associates navigate the path to partnership. In the five years prior to implementation, 18 percent of lawyers promoted to partner were women; in the five years since, 31 percent have been women. We aim for parity, but celebrate the upward trajectory.
In 2019, Dechert achieved Mansfield Rule 2.0 Plus Certification, which recognizes steps taken to broaden the pool of women lawyers, lawyers of color, and LGBTQ+ lawyers who are considered for significant governance roles, senior lateral openings, and promotions.
Our progress can also be measured in numbers:
- 43% of the firm’s governing Policy Committee are women, LGBTQ, or diverse
- 42% of partner promotions over past two years have been women, LGBTQ, or diverse
- 63% of lateral partner hires in 2019 were women
- 36% of offices are managed by women, LGBTQ, or diverse partners
- 55% of lawyers promoted to partner in January 2020 were women
- Outstanding Firm for Furthering Diversity and Inclusion – Chambers’ inaugural European Diversity & Inclusion Awards 2019
- Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality – Human Rights Campaign, 2020 (eighth year running)
- Diversity Leader Award – Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2020
- Innovation in Diversity Award – Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2019
- Top Companies for Executive Women – National Association for Female Executives, 2020
- 100 Best Companies and Best Law Firms for Women – Working Mother, 2019
- Top 10 Firms for Family Friendliness – Yale Law Women, 2019
- Highly Commended, Most Pioneering Firm for Female Lawyers – Chambers USA, 2019
- Great Place to Work® – Certified in the United States, 2019 (second year running)