NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2023

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP - New York, New York

http://www.akingump.com

Diversity & Inclusion

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Diversity Chair

Diversity Chair Prefix Ms.
Diversity Chair First Name Kim
Diversity Chair Last Name Koopersmith

Diversity Contact Information

Diversity Contact Prefix Mr.
Diversity Contact First Name Nimesh
Diversity Contact Last Name Patel
Link to your organization's diversity website http://www.akingump.com/en/our-firm/diversity/index.html

Recruitment methods

Which of the following methods do you use to increase the presence and retention of under-represented groups? (Check all that apply) Diversity job fairs
Outreach to law student groups
Formal mentoring efforts
Recruit at schools with large minority populations
Bar-sponsored programs
Firm diversity committee
Recruit at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)
Comments

At Akin, our long-standing commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion reflects our belief that our lawyers' differing perspectives and experiences are catalysts for creative solutions. The exceptional, diverse talent we recruit thrives in an environment where collaboration generates ideas and innovation. A sense of community fosters understanding, respect and a sense of belonging, while professional development opportunities build exciting, dynamic careers.

Akin’s comprehensive diversity, equity and inclusion strategy has the following goal areas: leadership commitment, recruiting and the diversity pipeline, professional development and inclusive workplaces, and strategic partnerships.

Leadership Commitment

  • Akin’s firmwide DEI council is led by chairperson, Kim Koopersmith, with our Chief Diversity Equity and Inclusion Officer (CDEIO) and includes a range of key firm leaders. This composition ensures that some of the firm’s most senior leaders are engaged in leading our DEI efforts. In addition, our chair and CDEIO work closely with our management committee, practice group leaders and office partners-in-charge to ensure that DEI informs our approach to recruiting, retention, professional development, promotion and compensation. Some examples of the impact of our leadership commitment:
  • Partners firmwide, 27 percent women, 17 percent racially/ethnically diverse, 2.4 percent LGBTQ+
  • New partner promotions firmwide since 2020: 51 percent women, 17 percent racially/ethnically diverse, 5.7 percent LGBTQ+
  • Management Committee: 23 percent women, 15 percent racially/ethnically diverse
  • Compensation Committee: 30 percent women, 20 percent racially/ethnically diverse
  • Leadership: 55 percent of the partners in charge of our U.S. offices are racially/ethnically diverse partners, including in our two largest offices, New York and Washington, D.C.
  • Akin is Mansfield 3.0, 4.0 and 5.0 Certified Plus, which requires at least 30% representation of women, lawyers of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and lawyers with disabilities in candidate pools and firm leadership roles and committees. The firm is participating in the Mansfield 6.0 Rule Initiative.  
  • In 2019, the firm began implementing bias interrupters in key firm processes such as recruiting and performance evaluations. In 2020, we rolled out an implicit bias initiative, including training sessions for all U.S. attorneys and business services (staff) members, as well as follow-up sessions with key groups of firm leaders such as the management committee, practice group leaders, all of the firm’s hiring committees, the partner admissions committee and the partner compensation committee to identify and minimize the impact of bias in key firm processes. In 2021, we launched an Inclusive Leadership Initiative to provide tools for partners and other firm leaders on how to build a diverse team and manage it in an intentionally inclusive manner. We are continuing the work in 2023 by hosting Inclusive Workplace trainings for all attorneys in the United States.

Recruiting and the Diversity Pipeline

  • Akin recruits exceptional and diverse talent at all levels. Our summer and year-round programs provide law students and aspiring lawyers immersive work experiences, mentorship and networking to build a foundation for the future. We also engage with law school student affinity groups, participate in diversity career fairs and collaborate with strategic external partners for lateral opportunities. Supporting pipeline programs does more than enhance our talent pool—it helps enhance diversity across the legal profession.
  • The Akin Gump/Robert S. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship is a two-year program offered in our five largest U.S. offices, with scholars spending six weeks of their first summer with the firm and four weeks in-house with a client. For their second summer, the scholars participate in the firm’s general 2L summer associate program. In addition to the salary they earn at the firm during their two summers, the scholars receive $50,000 to help offset law school expenses upon completion of the full program.
  • The Pro Bono Scholars Program, which is another two-year program with scholars spending four weeks at the firm and six weeks at a public interest/legal services organization working entirely on pro bono matters in their first summer and then joining the firm’s general 2L summer associate program their second summer.
  • The SEO Law Fellows program, which provides internship opportunities for rising diverse first-year students from many of the nation’s most prestigious law schools. We host SEO Law Fellows in our Dallas, Houston, LA, NYC, and DC offices.

Professional Development and Inclusive Workplaces

  • Our focus on diversity in recruiting law students, lawyers and professionals extends to our commitment to their development. We’ve created a set of programs and processes to provide the skills, visibility and responsibility they need to serve our clients at the highest levels.
  • Work Assignments: Overseen by assignment partners and non-lawyer practice managers, a thoughtful work assignment process gives associates wide exposure to partners in key client work. 
  • Mentoring: To augment our firmwide one-on-one mentoring programs, we have introduced mentoring circles for our diverse lawyers. Each circle includes at least three partners and a mix of associates, with the goal of building broader and deeper relationships within the firm.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Councils: Office and firmwide DEI councils bring together diverse perspectives to address our recruitment, retention and advancement strategy needs. Over the past 10 years, participants have built a strong sense of community while identifying areas and avenues for improvement. The councils also promote diversity within the legal community through partnerships with clients and targeted outreach to lateral candidates, law school students and the not-for-profit community.
  • Firmwide Resource Groups (FRGs): We currently have 11 FRGs for our professionals to discuss their shared interests and goals.
  • Implicit Bias and Inclusive Leadership Initiative: Our firmwide implicit and systemic bias training sessions helped us understand how racism and implicit bias impact our everyday interactions. Additional sessions for firm leaders included a focus on partner promotions, work assignments, partner compensation and recruiting. We have also implemented bias interrupters in key firm processes. Our inclusive leadership sessions provided guidance on the actions partners and other leaders can take to build diverse teams and manage them in an inclusive manner. In 2022, we hosted our inaugural Diverse Lawyers Summit in Washington, D.C. We brought together all of our racially/ethnically diverse and LGBTQ+ lawyers from all over the world, for one and a half days of networking and substantive programming. In addition to our diverse lawyers, our attendees included members of firm leadership, including the management committee, the partner admissions committee, practice group leaders and the chair of the firm.
  • Pro Bono Representation: In a firm where pro bono efforts are supported and encouraged, our lawyers are tackling issues of racial justice and equality and providing critical resources to underserved communities. Akin is a founding firm of the Law Firm Antiracism Alliance (LFAA), a network of 300 law firms committed to using their pro bono efforts to partner with legal services agencies and community organizations to address systemic racism.
  • Inclusive and Family Friendly Policies: We recognize that supporting our lawyers' careers includes helping them effectively manage and integrate work, family and other responsibilities. Agile and part-time work arrangements, generous family leave, on-site wellness programs, and daycare and elder care support are available throughout the firm.

Strategic Partnerships

  • We regularly partner with clients who share our commitment to advancing DEI in the legal profession, as well as other organizations such as the national diverse bar associations, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. We are also proud to support other national diversity and social-justice related organizations such as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Latino Justice, Council of Urban Professionals, Lambda Legal and Asian Americans Advancing Justice. In 2021, Kim Koopersmith was named one of the co-chairs of the Board of Directors of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Non-discrimination policy

It is the long-standing policy of the firm to hire well-qualified people to perform the many tasks necessary in providing high quality legal service.  An integral part of this policy is to provide equal employment opportunity for all persons.

In this regard, the firm: (1) adheres to federal and local laws, regulations and guidelines with regard to non-discrimination against job applicants and firm employees; and (2) provides equal employment opportunity for all persons, including in its recruiting practices and its administration of all hiring, working conditions, benefits and privileges of employment, compensation, training, opportunities for advancement such as promotion, transfers, and terminations of employment, without regard to the person’s age, race, color, national origin (including language restrictions), ancestry, religious creed (including dress and grooming practices), sex (which includes pregnancy, childbirth, breast feeding and medical conditions related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding), gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability (including HIV and AIDS) unrelated to the job to be performed, denial of Family and Medical Leave; marital status, medical condition (cancer and genetic characteristics), genetic information, military and veteran status, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law.  The firm also fully complies with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and provides reasonable accommodation in accordance with it.

Diversity fellowships or scholarships

Does your organization or office sponsor/offer a Diversity Fellowship or Scholarship? Yes
If yes, is the program open to 1L
Please provide a brief description of the program

The Akin/Robert S. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship provides a $50,000 scholarship to outstanding first year law students to offset expenses for their second year of law school. In addition to the financial award, the scholarships also offer mentoring from firm attorneys and a paid second year summer associate position in the firm’s Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. offices. To further our diversity and inclusion efforts, we offer diverse law students the opportunity to gain early practice experience through our Corporate, IP, and Financial Restructuring SDIS programs. For more information please visit our website:   https://www.akingump.com/en/careers/us-students

Affinity group information

Does your organization or office have affinity groups? Yes
If yes, please describe your affinity groups below

Akin has formal FRGs which are intended to provide a forum for targeted professional development programs, mentorship and relationship building. We currently have FRGs for women, working parents and caregivers, people with disabilities, first generation lawyers, veterans and those who identify as Black, LatinX, Asian, MENA, Native American/American Indian and/or LGBTQ+ and their allies. With subcommittees often led by counsel and associates, FRGs are an opportunity to forge strong bonds with colleagues while sharing ideas to address recruiting and retention. For the past 10 years, Akin’s Women’s Professional Development Initiative, which is now part of our Women’s FRG, has provided a forum for women to build internal and external relationships. We’re providing access to the professional development training our women lawyers request most often—from partnership and promotion to authenticity and presentation skills.