Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP was created in 1945. Founder Bob Strauss made diversity and inclusion a bedrock of the firm long before anyone was speaking of this imperative. Many firms can say that they are committed to diversity and inclusion. Few can say that they were founded on principals of diversity and inclusion and have been leaders ever since. Akin Gump can.
Nicholas Pascal, London Inclusion Council member and BAME resource group representative
Leadership matters. Bob Strauss started the firm on the path of leadership in diversity and inclusion and we are very proud that Kim Koopersmith, our current Chair, continues to ensure that our firm remains a leader on issues of diversity and inclusion.
Kim, who became the first woman at Akin Gump – and one of very few women at a major, global law firm – to hold the position of Chairperson, sets the tone at the top. That is crucial and drives our firm culture.
We believe that the contributions of lawyers with diverse backgrounds, viewpoints and experiences enhance both the firm’s culture as well as the services we provide to our clients. As such, the retention and promotion of lawyers at Akin Gump is a critical component of our efforts to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace.
We recognise that one of our best tools in this effort is a diverse partnership, which sends an unequivocal signal to associates and counsel that they can advance professionally at Akin Gump. In addition, our comprehensive professional development programmes play a key role in supporting the growth and retention of all of our lawyers by providing formal training, maintaining an objective and measurable set of criteria by which associates and counsel are evaluated and encouraging supervising lawyers to provide meaningful feedback.
Our inclusion councils at both office and firmwide levels provide us with the infrastructure to support all diversity and inclusion efforts. They give lawyers and personnel the opportunity to proactively communicate questions, concerns and ideas to firm management and to recommend additional means by which the diversity of the firm can be enhanced.
To ensure the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives continue to thrive and expand, committee members develop and participate in diversity-related outreach to clients, lateral candidates, students and the not-for-profit community. We continue to look for opportunities to strengthen our outreach most recently becoming sponsors of the SEO City Horizons initiative and participating in the Social Mobility Foundation Recruitment Success Service mentoring scheme.
Our involvement in recruiting and pipeline programmes to expand diversity in the legal profession, our outreach to student affinity groups and diversity organisations, our Akin Gump Robert/Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program, our firmwide resource groups for women, working parents and caregivers, people with disabilities and those who identify as Black, Asian and/or LGBTQ+ and their allies, and our community partnerships all point to the fact that we are consistently working to extend the firm’s message of inclusiveness both internally and externally.
We are proud of the positive results that our efforts have brought to date, and our successes only reinforce our belief that we are on the right track as we continue to build upon this strong foundation.
The awards and accolades that the firm has received are a testament to all that we have accomplished in the area of diversity, and, as you will see through the stories in our lawyer profiles, we could not have achieved all that we have without the contributions and talents of our lawyers. Our commitment to diversity is steadfast.
Awards & accolades
In 2018 and 2019, Akin Gump received the Gold Standard Certification from the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF). Law firms are awarded the Gold Standard Certification if they successfully demonstrate that women represent a meaningful percentage of their equity partners, their highest leadership positions, their governance and compensation committees, their most highly compensated partners, and if there is meaningful diversity among their women partners.
In 2019, the firm received Morgan Stanley’s Leadership and Excellence in Inclusion and Diversity (LEID) award. The LEID award is presented to law firms which have shown progress and innovation in advancing diversity and inclusion in their organisations.
We were named the recipient of the National Asian Pacific Bar Association’s 2019 Law Firm Diversity Award. The award is presented to law firms “that actively, affirmatively, consistently, and enthusiastically recruit, retain, and promote Asian Pacific American lawyers to equity partnership and firm leadership.”
In 2019, Akin Gump was named one of the Top Ten Family Friendly Law Firms, by Yale Law Women. Yale Law Women collected information from the largest U.S. law firms on family accommodations and top-rated firms were those that received the highest overall scores in Yale Law Women’s analysis of the survey results.
For the past twelve years, Akin Gump has received a top rating of 100 per cent on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), an annual survey by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. The firm also received top marks for its policies and practices related to LGBTQ workplace equality.
Akin Gump is a five times recipient of the Thomas L. Sager Award, an annual award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) which recognised the firm’s “demonstrated sustained commitment to improve the hiring, retention and promotion of minority attorneys.”
Kim Koopersmith received the 2018 Flex Leader Award from the Diversity & Flexibility Alliance. The award recognises an executive “who is moving his or her organisation toward a more inclusive workplace through holistic flexibility.” She was also recognised by Law360 as one of America’s Most Innovative Managing Partners for her commitment to diversity.
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