Winston & Strawn’s core mission is to provide excellent legal services to our clients. The firm recognizes that only by encompassing the broadest pools of legal talent can we meet our continuous effort to hire and retain top-quality attorneys, as well remain competitive in the marketplace.
Winston & Strawn’s diversity initiatives focus our efforts in the key areas of: hiring, recruiting, and retaining the most talented and diverse legal staff; promoting diversity on the basis of merit and performance; providing a broad array of professional development opportunities; and maintaining leadership throughout our diversity endeavors.
The firm strives to establish a diverse workforce because it will help to build a stronger firm, enabling us to better serve our clients’ needs and interests.
“Diversity and inclusiveness are core values at Winston & Strawn. Ours is a global practice that, we believe, should reflect the diverse world that we serve.”
Recognizing that mentoring is an important way to pass on institutional knowledge, core values, and stories from our firm’s rich history, Winston & Strawn has created a formal mentoring program designed to support the career and professional development of attorneys at each stage of their career.
The firm’s mentorship program provides opportunities for greater attorney interaction across levels, discussion about firm culture, processes, expectations and values, as well as more rapid assumption of leadership roles and partnership tracks.
Winston & Strawn’s formal associate mentorship program offers a disciplined and systematic approach to mentoring. Based on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Commission on Professionalism’s mentoring program, this initiative is available to associates at every level.
First-year associates based in Winston & Strawn’s Chicago office are enrolled in the Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program. Through this formal program, attorneys conduct at least eight in-person meetings during the course of the year and complete at least one specific action item in five categories of the professional responsibility CLE requirement. Upon successful completion, mentors and mentees receive a total of six hours of professional responsibility CLE credit.
First year associates in domestic offices outside of Chicago are paired with a senior-level associate or partner. Through this partnership, mentors and mentees commit one hour per month to the mentoring program. Fourth-year associates and higher are paired with an advisor and meet once a quarter.
Senior lawyers serving as mentees play a large role in providing access to organizations and people, such as an Inn of Court, judge, or clerk. This often helps open doors for young attorneys, assists them in developing specific skills, and leads to new professional and personal relationships.
The firm's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) affinity group provides networking opportunities and guidance on sponsorships, outreach, and leadership opportunities. The group, which is open to attorneys and staff, meets regularly to discuss initiatives that support professional development, recruitment and retention matters aimed at LGBT-attorneys. Members of Winston & Strawn's LGBT affinity group also provide pro bono legal services through the firm's public service program.
Since January 1, 2011, Winston & Strawn’s domestic partner benefit policy has included a tax gross-up payment for employees in same-sex partnerships. This policy prevents employees with same-sex domestic partner dependents on their medical and/or dental program from being negatively affected by higher income taxes which are required by federal law. At the time this benefit was announced , only 11 for-profit employers offered the tax gross-up payment to employees in same-sex domestic partnerships.
WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE
The Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) is dedicated to the strategic retention and advancement of women attorneys at Winston & Strawn. The WLI membership is comprised of women partners and associates who meet monthly to discuss strategic planning, potential new initiatives, and report on the progress of existing initiatives—all aimed at retaining, developing, and promoting women attorneys to partnership and leadership positions at Winston & Strawn.
Diversity Scholarship Program
The firm takes an active role in diversifying the law school pipeline. Since 2004, Winston & Strawn has offered scholarships to diverse law school students. In selecting the scholarship recipients, the firm considers applicants' academic achievements and extra-curricular activities, demonstrated leadership skills, and interpersonal skills. Award recipients become part of the summer associate program, and are encouraged to consider positions with us upon graduation.
Candidates are evaluated on their law school and undergraduate records, including academic achievements and involvement in extra-curricular activities; their demonstrated leadership abilities and level of interpersonal skills; and their interest in practicing at a law firm following graduation. Additionally, applicants are asked to provide a short personal statement in support of the application.
Winston announced its three 2014 Diversity Scholarship recipients in October 2013. Each recipient is a second-year law student and will be a summer associate in one of Winston & Strawn's domestic offices during our 2014 summer program. The $10,000 scholarship will be awarded during the students' third year of law school. For more information on each of the honorees, visit our Careers@Winston blog post, “2014 Winston & Strawn Diversity Scholarship Honorees.”
Paula Hudson Holderman
Anna Segobia Masters
Amanda Sommerfeld, Chair