Diversity Overview

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.

DEI Resource Center

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:

Brussels | Dallas | Denver | Dubai | Frankfurt | Hong Kong | London | Los Angeles | Munich | New York | Orange County | Palo Alto | Paris | San Francisco | Singapore | Washington, DC

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.

  • Gibson Dunn hosted Black History Month celebrations across our offices. Gibson Dunn partner Marcellus McRae and associate Sheldon Evans co-hosted a Los Angeles gathering of professionals from the corporate and non-profit sectors along with local academics, activists, and leaders. LA District Attorney Jackie Lacey provided opening remarks to discussions led by various speakers regarding issues facing the Black Community from a feminist perspective, as well as the challenges to achieving a post-racial society. Gibson Dunn associates Chelsea Glover and Needhi Vasavada organized a screening of I Am Not Your Negro in the Dallas office. Gibson Dunn associates Kathryn Cherry, Mari Diouf and Tarana Riddick organized a screening of the Netflix documentary 13th in the New York office, followed by an engaging discussion.
  • Gibson Dunn hosted Asian Pacific American Heritage Month celebrations across our offices. The San Francisco office hosted a series of events around the city, exploring the cultures and heritages of Asian and Pacific Islander people. Events included a tour of China Live, tofu tasting and discussion with Minh Tsai, founder of Hodo Soy and moderated by Jennifer 8 Lee, producer of The Search for General Tso and the Chinese American Exclusion/Inclusion Exhibit at the Chinese Historical Society of America. The Los Angeles office hosted a breakfast conversation with Robert Ahn, a candidate in the special election to replace retiring Congressman Xavier Becerra in the United States House of Representatives for the 34th  Congressional district.  The New York office hosted a screening of an excerpt from The Chinese Exclusion Act, a PBS documentary exploring the history of this landmark piece of legislation. Following the screening, Gibson Dunn partner Dan Chung moderated a Q&A with the filmmakers, Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu, who discussed the important connections between the Chinese Exclusion Act and the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture. Attendees included attorneys and summer associates, local area law students as well as members from the various local Asian bar associations and organizations.
  • Gibson Dunn’s New York office hosted a panel on “Why Black Lives Matter to Muslims” presented by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA), and Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY). Over 75 guests attended and the event was live-streamed to over 3,000 viewers. Panelists included Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter, NYCLU Director Yusuf Abdul-Qadir, Public Defender Bina Ahmad, and PhD candidate Donna Auston. The panel was moderated by NYCLU Board Member and Bloomberg Senior Counsel Amin Kassam.
  • Members of Gibson Dunn’s New York office’s African-American affinity group journeyed to Washington, D.C. to tour the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The group toured the museum with their family members, received charter memberships and celebrated the museum at a private event later that evening.
  • The firm also hosted LatinoJustice’s PRLDEF LÍderes Board for a panel discussion titled “From Protection to Power,” which explored the impact of the current political climate on the Latino community. Panelists included Angela Fernandez, Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights; Myrna Perez, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law; and Jeronimo Saldaña, Drug Policy Alliance. The panel was moderated by Juan Cartagena, LatinoJustice PRLDEF President and General Counsel. Gibson Dunn associate Manuel Lorenzo serves as a LatinoJustice’s PRLDEF LÍderes board member, as well as the Hispanic/Latino affinity group co-chair in the New York office.
  • Gibson Dunn celebrated Pride Month by reflecting on the firm’s work advancing LGBT rights around the world. The event featured a discussion regarding the firm’s recent efforts and advocacy for LGBT equality, as well as current and future projects. The event featured members of our LGBT community, including partners Doug Champion, Joe Evall and Beth Ising, and senior associate Abbey Hudson, and our allies, including Theodore B. Olson.
  • Gibson Dunn sponsored a forum titled “From Law School to Judicial Chambers: Cultivating a Diverse Clerkship Pipeline” at the New York City Bar Association. The event addressed the obstacles that diverse law students (and diverse lawyers) face in pursuing clerkships and explored best practices aimed at increasing the number of diverse clerks. The event gathered various stakeholders (judges, former law clerks, career services professionals and bar leaders) to share their collective knowledge and propose solutions that will have an impact. The firm’s Chief Diversity Officer, Zakiyyah Salim-Williams, spearheaded this effort.

​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.

  • Gibson Dunn hosted over 100 high school students from Girls Who Code – a national non-profit working to close the gender gap in the technology sector – in Austin, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. The programs featured over 18 substantive panels led by a wide range of presenters from associates, partners, clients, members of the judiciary to representatives from pro bono, and policy-related organizations. The following companies and organizations also participated: Amazon, ARM, ChIPS, CIBC World Markets Crop, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, JPMorgan Chase, Maggie Louise Confections, Minority Corporate Counsel Association, National Instruments, Oculus, Remeditex Ventures, RPX Corporation, Uber, Urban Assembly High School for Computer Science and Wells Fargo. The firm partnered with ChIPs, a non-profit dedicated to advancing women at the confluence of law, technology and regulatory policy that many of our technology clients are involved in for the Austin event. Gibson Dunn partners Tracey Davies, Caroline Krass, Alex Southwell, and Debra Wong Yang and associates Jeana Bisnar Maute, Jessica Culpepper, Christina Demana, Kate Dominguez, Chelsea Glover, Abbey Hudson, Shailey Jain, Lali Madduri, Brooke Myers Wallace, Jennifer Rho, Ashley Rogers, Emily Speak, Needhi Vasavada, Alison Watkins, Nina Xue and Betty Yang were actively involved in these efforts around the firm.
  • Gibson Dunn is the host of an Annual Diversity Networking Reception that brings together our attorneys and summer associates, clients, and leaders within the non-profit and corporate sectors, as well as leaders from the Los Angeles community. In 2017, the event featured keynote speaker Dr. Tommie Smith who discussed his experience as an Olympic Gold Medalist. On October 16, 1968, during the medal ceremony for the men’s 200-meter race, Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised black-gloved fists as a symbolic act of protest. The picture of that silent gesture is one of the most enduring sports images of the twentieth century.  Dr. Smith was joined by Los Angeles-based visual artist Glenn Kaino who in 2013 debuted Bridge, a sprawling installation that was built around a fiberglass cast of Dr. Smith’s arm. The conversation was hosted by Gibson Dunn Senior Of Counsel, Ambassador Ron Kirk.
  • The New York office started a Book Club where lawyers come together to discuss a book, article, video, or other form of media relating to diversity and inclusion. The goal of the Book Club is to provide a forum to discuss diversity-related issues by focusing on contemporary writings and other presentations in the area. The following materials have been used to facilitate the discussions thus far: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates; We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah; Master of None’s “Thanksgiving” episode and My Beloved World by Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
  • The Orange County Diversity Committee hosted “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy: Stories from 4 Pearl Harbor Survivors.”  Four Pearl Harbor survivors spoke about their experiences from that fateful day, and how that day of infamy has shaped their lives. The program was moderated by Judge Frederick P. Aguirre, retired Superior Court Judge, with an introduction by Gibson Dunn of counsel and former California Supreme Court Justice John A. Arguelles.
  • The Women of Color Initiative hosted a firmwide discussion on “Leadership and the Power of Strong Female Role Models,” moderated by associate Emily Speak and featuring partner Debra Wong Yang and Jean Lee, President and CEO of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.
  • Gibson Dunn hosted the South Asian American Bar Association of Colorado’s CLE presentation titled “Lawyers as Intermediaries between Law and the Evolving Sharing Economy.” The event featured Professor Nancy Leong and Professor Eli Wald from the University of Denver School of Law, among others.
  • As part of our Women’s Leadership Series, Los Angeles partner Ted Boutrous hosted a Conversation with Cindi Leive, Editor-in-Chief of Glamour magazine, to discuss her career and the advancement of women in the workplace.
  • Gibson Dunn hosted the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of DC’s and AYUDA’s immigration clinic, which trained attorneys representing victims of human trafficking who seek T nonimmigrant visas (designed for victims of trafficking) or an adjustment to their green cards.
  • In honor of Ramadan and in celebration of the New York Muslim Affinity Group’s inaugural event, the firm and the Muslim Bar Association of New York (MuBANY) co-hosted an Iftar dinner. David McCraw, Deputy General Counsel, The New York Times, provided the keynote address. Of Counsel Rahim Moloo and associates Amer Ahmed and Ali Alsarraf served as hosts for this inaugural event.
  • Gibson Dunn annually prepares the moot court program for the Hispanic National Bar Association’s moot court competition during the organization’s annual mid-year Corporate Counsel Conference. This year, Gibson Dunn associate Sheldon Evans prepared the moot court problem and partner Marcellus McRae served as a judge during the competition.
  • Gibson Dunn sponsored a forum titled “From Law School to Judicial Chambers: Cultivating a Diverse Clerkship Pipeline” at the New York City Bar Association. The event addressed the obstacles that diverse law students (and diverse lawyers) face in pursuing clerkships and explored best practices aimed at increasing the number of diverse clerks. The event gathered various stakeholders (judges, former law clerks, career services professionals and bar leaders) to share their collective knowledge and propose solutions that will have an impact. The firm’s Chief Diversity Officer, Zakiyyah Salim-Williams, spearheaded this effort.