Our clients come to us for the finest legal advice and service. We provide that service by bringing to our firm the best and most diverse talent and working to build and sustain an inclusive community ‒ one in which our diverse group of lawyers can grow, thrive and work as a single team, weaving together the power of the many different perspectives and experiences they bring.
For more information about diversity at Debevoise, please read the Debevoise Statement on Diversity and Inclusion or download our Diversity and Inclusion brochure.
Debevoise Diversity Speaker Series: Alumna Natalia Cortez Burdette, Featured Speaker for National Hispanic Heritage Month
In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the Debevoise Latin@ Affinity Group invited firm alumna Natalia Cortez Burdette to be the featured speaker at our recent Diversity Speaker Series luncheon. Natalia was an associate at Debevoise from 2006 to 2010, and left the firm to join Teach For America (TFA) where she is currently a Senior Associate General Counsel based in Atlanta, Georgia. Natalia shared a few of the experiences and insights she gained at the firm and TFA.
Read more about the event here.
Diversity and Inclusion are Core Values and Critical Business Priorities
Debevoise’s top priority has always been to provide the best legal service to our clients, and we recognize that the inclusion, sponsorship and advancement of lawyers of color, women lawyers and LGBTQ+ lawyers within the firm are cornerstones of our continued success.
Our performance on diversity is an important business metric. Some of the ways we invest in attracting diverse talent are sponsoring diverse student groups at law schools across the country; attracting diverse candidates at the Northeast BLSA Job Fair, the Hispanic National Bar Association Job Fair and the Lavender Law Career Fair (LGBTQ+), and recruiting from historically black universities; connecting diverse candidates with diverse Debevoise lawyers to provide guidance during the recruiting process; hosting a diversity reception and social events for diverse offerees, enriching the summer associate experience through the involvement of affinity groups; and providing diversity and inclusion training for summer associates.
Investing in the Development and Retention of Diverse Lawyers
We have embedded diversity and inclusion within all elements of the firm’s broader talent development work.
- Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Team
Our Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Team is chaired by two senior leaders of the firm who are former Management Committee members, Maeve O’Connor and Mike Gillespie, who work with Marc Grainger, our Global Director of Talent. Mike formerly headed hiring at the firm, and Maeve is currently co-chair of our global Talent Initiative, thereby increasing the integration between talent and diversity and inclusion.
- Management Committee Sponsorship Program
In 2016, we launched our Management Committee Sponsorship Program to foster the advancement and promotion of diverse talent. Members of the firm’s Management Committee and departmental leaders are paired with top-performing mid- and senior-level diverse associates to promote and support their careers through opportunity generation, profile raising and internal leadership.
- Addressing Implicit Bias
We have instituted implicit bias training in all aspects of our talent cycle – recruiting, advising, staffing, evaluation – and for all levels of lawyers.
- Practice Group Leadership
We have put structures in place to ensure that all practice group leaders are responsible to firm management for successful implementation of D&I goals.
- Informal Feedback
To enhance career development for our lawyers, we launched our Informal Feedback Program. Lawyers are taught a number of simple yet effective feedback techniques, and meet regularly to discuss their experiences in giving more frequent feedback. All U.S. lawyers have now been through the program, which is being rolled out globally.
- Centralized Staffing
We apply a centralized approach to staffing our junior lawyers, with the objective of ensuring an equitable distribution of responsibilities and opportunities for our junior lawyers.
Building an Inclusive Community of Diverse Lawyers
Our lawyers hold leadership positions in a range of organizations dedicated to improving the diversity of the legal profession.
- Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). We take a leading role in LCLD, which provides mentoring and training of next-gen leaders with more than 300 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners. In 2018, Debevoise was named to receive both “TOP” and Compass Award badges, recognizing the firm for going above and beyond to participate and support LCLD’s mission. Presiding Partner Michael W. Blair serves on the Executive Committee of the Board and as Treasurer.
- Catalyst. In 2017, Debevoise joined more than 40 leading global businesses to launch Catalyst CEO Champions for Change, which recognizes CEOs and industry leaders who support and drive diversity and inclusion. Partner and Co-Chair of Debevoise’s litigation department, Mary Beth Hogan, is a long-standing member of Catalyst’s Board.
- National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) Challenge Club. Debevoise is a member of the NAWL Challenge Club, and in partnership with the Club, we designate high-potential women associates on the path to equity partner to network with in-house counsel, gain pitch experience and participate in mentorship sessions. Partner Elizabeth (Beth) Pagel Serebransky is a member of NAWL’s Board.
Debevoise Women’s Review
The Debevoise Women’s Review, a first-of-its-kind platform among law firms, was developed to inspire the legal and business communities to engage in discussion and collective action around gender diversity. Unlike a traditional marketing platform, the content is developed and the editorial process managed almost entirely by lawyers at the firm, most of whom are associates, allowing for an authentic, first-person perspective. We invite you to join the conversation at women.debevoise.com.
The recognition and awards we receive for diversity demonstrate the considerable success we have had in hiring diverse lawyers and law students. We are deeply proud that the quality of our practice, and the culture and people who form our firm, attract such great talent.
We also know that the work of building a truly diverse and inclusive firm cannot be measured just by accolades, and that numbers alone do not fully tell the tale. It is our job at Debevoise to create a professional environment in which all our lawyers can thrive and succeed.
We are deeply committed to driving change in our partnership and in the legal profession. That requires not only good intentions but effective initiatives and practices.
AmLaw Diversity Scorecard
In 2019, we ranked 11th of 225 in the AmLaw Diversity Scorecard.
In 2018, and for the second consecutive year, Debevoise ranked #1 in the Chambers Associate “Best Law Firms for Diversity” list.
Corporate Equality Index (CEI)
In 2018, and for the ninth consecutive year, Debevoise was awarded a perfect score once again by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) in its annual ranking of LGBT employment policies, designating the firm one of the “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality.”
In 2019, Debevoise was recognized as one of the “60 Best Law Firms for Women” and was named a Hall of Fame honoree by Working Mother. Hall of Famers have made the list at least 10 times.
In 2019, we ranked 11th in the “Best 25 Law Firms for Diversity” Vault Survey.
By the Numbers
- 41% of Debevoise lawyers promoted to partner since 2008 were women.
- 54% of our U.S. associates were women in 2018.
- From 2013 to 2018, the representation of lawyers of color at the firm increased by over 60% for the U.S. associates and 75% for U.S. partners.
- The firm’s five most recent U.S. summer classes are 43% diverse, including LGBTQ+
Workforce diversity data relating to our London office is available from our London HR Manager.