Improving diversity is one of Gibson Dunn management’s top priorities. We understand that visible and active leadership is essential to the success of our diversity initiatives. In addition to the continued stewardship of our managing partner, Gibson Dunn appointed a Management Committee member to oversee the global diversity efforts.
We maintain a two-tiered committee system. The Global Diversity Committee, which oversees our strategic efforts, includes Executive and Management Committee members, partner chairs from each local office, partners representing the various affinity groups, and the heads of the diversity, professional development and recruiting departments. In addition to the Global Diversity Committee, there are local diversity committees in each of our U.S. offices and several of our international locations. Our local office committees are open to all lawyers who are interested in the issue of diversity.
Gibson Dunn’s local diversity committees are essential to our diversity efforts. They serve as an important resource for our lawyers by providing diverse and non-diverse individuals alike a forum for addressing a wide range of issues involving diversity and work-life balance at Gibson Dunn. They also are actively involved in our recruiting efforts for summer and lateral associate candidates. For more information on our diversity committee leadership, please click here. For more information on the efforts of the various diversity committees in our offices worldwide, please click on the locations below:
Although our local diversity committees are open to all lawyers, the firm recognizes that various constituents may have the desire and need to convene in order to connect and build a community. Thus the local diversity committees actively support affinity groups for our African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino and LGBT attorneys as well as parents, Muslim and Religiously Observant attorneys. We could write endlessly about our affinity groups, however, we want to highlight our Global Black Affinity Group and our Black Advancement Initiative. Gibson Dunn launched the firm’s Black Advancement Initiative in 2019 with a renewed focus on the recruitment, retention and advancement of Black talent. Firm leadership, in collaboration with our Black partners, strategized and implemented a number of measures to achieve the Initiative’s goals. Our efforts have ranged from facilitating additional internal resources such as peer-to-peer mentoring; engagement with external stakeholders and increased communication and engagement among our Black lawyers. Among other priorities, we have concentrated on the recruitment of Black talent, with equal focus on new associates and lateral hires.
We are proud of our results thus far – 66% increase in the number of Black lawyers at the firm (this is a 2% increase in overall attorney demographics), which was achieved through both new associate and lateral hiring. We added 4.5x the number of Black lateral hires within 18 months, and 4.5x the number of Black summer associates from previous averages. Last, we used the momentum to connect our Black lawyers globally, and those meetings led to the creation of our Global Black Affinity Group, which has held 35 meetings over the eighteen months. While we are proud of the results yielded thus far, we are committed to building upon these successes and elevating our efforts in the years to come. Please read more about our efforts in our Black History Month Newsletter and Black Attorney Booklet.
Part of each local diversity committee’s annual budget is dedicated to affinity group activities, including but not limited to, networking events, community engagement, affinity group meetings, training and conference attendance. The groups host hundreds of gatherings and programs each year and support numerous diversity-related legal and community organizations. We work extremely hard to enhance participation in our efforts and ensure that there is greater coordination around them globally. Below are a few examples of our affinity group programming.
The firm is proud of our diversity efforts in our international offices. In nearly all of our international offices, we have diversity programming (i.e., women’s gatherings and/or diversity-related pro bono efforts and events) with our London office being the most robust with a full committee and over six subcommittees focused on various affinity groups. The London Diversity Committee is comprised of 22 members, including partners, Of Counsel, associates, trainees, diversity, recruitment, marketing and professional development personnel. In June 2017, Gibson Dunn hosted our inaugural “International Diversity Day” where we brought together our international offices (via videoconference) to deepen each office’s understanding of the firm’s diversity efforts, to celebrate the efforts occurring in the local offices and to learn about the challenges occurring in each of the local markets. In addition, as part of our Women of Gibson Dunn Initiative, the firm launched a Europe-Middle East-Asia (EMEA) Women’s Initiative that brings together women attorneys across our Europe, Middle East and Asia offices to share experiences, explore varying cultural drivers and influences and promote female talent. Gibson Dunn Hong Kong partner Kelly Austin and London partner Penny Madden lead the initiative. Each quarter, a different international office hosts a lunch presentation, and our women lawyers in the other international offices join via videoconference. The host office presents a few talking points on a topic of interest to our female attorneys, followed by an open discussion to engage with the other offices. The topics discussed over the past year include the career advancement of women, client development and work-life balance.
Click here for more information about the 2017 inaugural International Diversity Day.
Each year, the firm organizes over 100 women-related events and gatherings; over 100 affinity gatherings and over 50 substantive programs featuring our lawyers and/or organizations aimed at providing opportunities to connect our lawyers as well as professional development opportunities for our diverse lawyers. For more information, below are a few examples of our events or click here for our Diversity Programming Overview.