Diversity and Inclusion at Debevoise
We are dedicated to attracting, retaining and promoting lawyers and administrative staff from diverse backgrounds. To ensure our continuing focus on this commitment, we have an active Diversity Committee that identifies and addresses diversity-related challenges and initiatives in four general areas: mentoring, work opportunity and environment, education and communication. In addition to the Diversity Committee, Debevoise has a full-time Diversity Manager who coordinates diversity initiatives with the Diversity Committee, the Management Committee and various other constituencies in the firm. The Diversity Manager acts as a resource for all lawyers and staff with respect to diversity and inclusion. The Diversity Committee comprises partners, counsel, associates and administrative professionals; meets quarterly; and develops and implements specific programs to further its objectives, which include:
- Improving the experience of all lawyers at the firm;
- Increasing the diversity of our community at all levels, including the partnership;
- Fostering an environment of greater inclusion and better communication that benefits all Debevoise lawyers; and
- Working to become not just “one of the best,” but a true leader in law firm diversity.
In furtherance of these objectives, the Diversity Committee promotes awareness, provides education, and encourages open and ongoing discussions about diversity issues throughout the firm. Specific initiatives include:
- Empowering formal affinity groups to strengthen the support systems and sense of community among different groups and increase the substantive training opportunities for associates of diverse backgrounds;
- Actively involving affinity groups in the recruiting process, including reaching out to offerees, strengthening relationships with external pipeline programs to increase the pool of diverse candidates, hosting recruiting events for candidates of diverse backgrounds and acting as contacts throughout the recruiting process and as advisors for summer associates of diverse backgrounds;
- Sponsoring diversity-related presentations and professional development programs for all lawyers;
- Organizing diversity and inclusion training by outside diversity consultants for partners, counsel, associates and administrative staff;
- Measuring our efforts on a regular basis through internal analysis and third-party surveys of our lawyer population;
- Reviewing best practices of other law firms as well as corporations with market-leading diversity programs; and
- Participating actively in outside organizations that promote diversity.
One of the greatest strengths of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is its community. The “Fundamental Values of the Firm” articulate the importance of “cohesiveness and collegiality within the firm, founded in the character of those we select as partners, counsel, associates and staff and in fundamental principles of fairness and cooperation” with “an emphasis on the success of the firm as a whole.”
Debevoise is committed to creating a work environment that values each individual’s contributions to our community. We recognize that we must work together every day to respect the different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences of people at the firm and to support our colleagues so they have the ability to develop to their full potential. These values are the foundation of our firm and strengthen our ability to work together as a team so that we can provide our clients with the best legal services available.
Debevoise is committed to promoting the diversity of our community. This commitment stems naturally from the values that shape our firm. To continue to flourish, our firm strives to recruit and develop the finest talent from all backgrounds and beliefs. Our ability to respond to the needs of our clients in an increasingly open and global environment requires that the members of our community have a broad range of skills and experiences. The firm’s commitment to diversity furthers these goals.
Leadership Inside and Out
Women partners and partner members of minority groups play a critical role in the leadership of the firm and industry organizations outside of it.
Mary Beth Hogan is co-chair of the firm’s Litigation Department and Peggy Davenport is co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Department. Maeve O’Connor is a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Nicole Levin Mesard is co-chair of the Hiring Committee and the Talent Steering Committee. M. Natasha Labovitz is co-head of the Business Restructuring & Workouts Group and Satish Kini is co-chair of the Banking Group. Becky Silberstein and Joe Hamid are co-chairs of the Associate Liaison Committee, Ben Lim is head of the Hedge Funds and Derivatives & Structured Finance Groups, and Ivan Mattei is co-head of the Project Finance and Infrastructure Group. In addition, Sarah Fitts is co-chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Group.
In leadership of the profession outside the firm, Barbara Paul Robinson was the first woman President of the New York City Bar Association (1994–1996). She is currently a member of the Direct Women Institute, a joint venture of the ABA and Catalyst formed to train women lawyers to become directors of public companies. Mary Beth Hogan is a board member of Catalyst, a research and advisory organization that promotes women’s career advancement and leadership, and is President elect of the Board of Directors of Nazareth Housing. Sarah Fitts is a vice chair of the Renewable and Demand Energy Resources Committee of the Section on Environment, Energy and Resources of the American Bar Association, a member of the Leadership Council of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and a board member of the Urban Teaching Corps. She also chaired the New York City Bar Association’s Asian Affairs Committee from 2007–2010.
Debevoise is an active participant in the Diversity Committee of the New York City Bar Association and is a signatory of the City Bar’s three diversity statements.
Debevoise has encouraged the formation of formal affinity groups to strengthen the support systems and sense of community among different groups and increase the substantive training opportunities for associates of diverse backgrounds. Their programs not only provide opportunities for members of each affinity group to learn how to successfully develop and grow at the firm, but also facilitate the creation of informal relationships across groups that last throughout lawyers' careers. Members are also actively involved in the recruiting process, including reaching out to offerees, strengthening relationships with external programs to increase the pipeline of candidates, hosting recruiting events for candidates of diverse backgrounds and acting as contacts throughout the recruiting process and as advisors for summer associates of diverse backgrounds.
Download Diversity Brochure