NALP Directory of Legal Employers

Directory Year: 2022

Sidley Austin LLP - Chicago, Illinois

Diversity & Inclusion

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Diversity Chair

Diversity Chair Prefix Mr.
Diversity Chair First Name Pran
Diversity Chair Last Name Jha

Diversity Contact Information

Diversity Contact Prefix Ms.
Diversity Contact First Name Maria
Diversity Contact Last Name Melendez
Link to your organization's diversity website

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)

Sidley has a long history of taking committed action to diversify its own ranks, to achieve an inclusive and welcoming culture and to increase the diversity of the legal profession as a whole. Our mission is to attract, retain and promote to partnership and leadership outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and communities that we serve. We work to accomplish our mission by:

Creating and supporting pipeline programs, including the Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program ( and the Sidley Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship (

Mentoring minority, female and LGBT law students and recruiting a diverse group of summer associates and diverse practicing lawyers;

Building effective mentoring programs with special focus on diverse and female associates, including our Diversity Mentoring Program which pairs each diverse associate with a dynamic partner and experienced associate in his or her practice group for the purpose of ensuring access to high-quality work, regular constructive feedback, client relationship support and career advice (in 2019, Sidley relaunched this program and introduced a number of enhancements to the program’s structure. These included the development of structured mentoring plans for the mentee’s first four years, the creation of a fifth year career development meeting to help enhance the career transition to mid-level associate and addition of senior associate career development plans.);

Undertaking a substantial internal education program focusing on unconscious bias and cultural competency;

Supporting strategic business development initiatives and mentoring programs for diverse and women partners;

Working with clients to ensure the development of diverse and inclusive client-service teams; and

Establishing work/life balance resources and career development programs to support women associates and partners.

Non-discrimination policy

It has been and remains the policy of the Firm to recruit and employ lawyers and staff without regard to race, color, creed, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, age, religion, disability, citizenship status, national origin, veteran status and any other factor protected by applicable law. This policy applies at all stages and aspects of employment, including recruiting, hiring, promotion and transfer, work assignment, compensation and, where necessary, discipline and termination.

Diversity fellowships or scholarships

Does your organization or office sponsor/offer a Diversity Fellowship or Scholarship? Yes
If yes, is the program open to 2L
Please provide a brief description of the program

Sidley Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship 

To further promote diversity within the legal profession and to support Sidley’s diversity policies, the firm created the Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Initiative for second year law students. Through the scholarship, the firm grants $50,000 (less any applicable withholdings and taxes) to selected second year law students who accept offers to join Sidley’s summer program. 


Sidley 1L Diversity Fellowship Washington, D.C.

Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office is pleased to offer a 1L summer fellowship opportunity for up to two first-year law students. Through this fellowship, student(s) will intern in our Washington, D.C. office for 10 weeks in the summer while also participating in professional development and mentoring programs. Aspects of the fellowship include: working on complex legal issues, researching, drafting legal memoranda and related documents; participating in Sidley’s 1L Diversity Mentorship Program; and the opportunity to work on Sidley’s pro bono cases. Click here to apply for the 1L Diversity Fellowship.

Affinity group information

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

Sidley hosts affinity group events for various diverse groups to provide networking opportunities and to allow for programming tailored to issues specific to each group’s experience. These groups include Latinx, African-American, LGBTQ and first-generation lawyers. The firm also recently launched a Disability Diversity Alliance, a support network for lawyers with disabilities and lawyers interested in workplace disability issues.

The firm also supports Associates’ Diversity Committees in our U.S. offices. Working closely with the Diversity Committee, they organize internal and external networking events, social events, community service and educational activities that allow diverse associates to connect to various parts of the firm.

In some of Sidley’s offices, the firm hosts bi-monthly “Cocktails and Conversations” to help women associates network with senior women partners in small groups. The CRPW also holds regular women’s lunches in various offices that provide educational and networking opportunities. These lunches feature guest speakers and other presentations on topics of interest to women lawyers, including building visibility inside and outside the firm, promoting one’s practice and work-life balance.