Developing and Inspiring the Pipeline
Furthering the firm’s focused efforts to support and develop the legal pipeline, the Debevoise Banking Group recently conducted a two-week Bank Regulatory Summer Diversity Training Program that included soft skills training, individual resume reviews and a variety of practice-related sessions, such as Anti-Money Laundering Sanctions, The Dodd-Frank Act, The Volcker Rule and Bank M&A. The Group also hosted a panel discussion on the topic of diversity as an asset in the workplace for diverse law students interning with our clients for the summer.
Our partner Arian June moderated the conversation among a panel of senior clients who shared their diverse perspectives, personal experiences and insightful advice for junior lawyers. The panelists were Tonia P. Bottoms, Managing Director and Senior Managing Counsel at Pershing, a BNYMellon company; Alphonzo Grant Jr., Managing Director at Morgan Stanley; and Eduardo A. Santiago-Acevedo, Vice President and Senior Regulatory Counsel at Prudential.
The conversations were frank, incisive and instructive, covering important aspects of navigating through the early to mid-years of a law career as a person of color. Advice included:
- How to overcome biases: “Show grace under pressure and let your work speak for itself.”
- Imposter syndrome: “Know that you belong here!”
- Find your team: “Understand your resources and build your support group.”
- When you are the only one: “Forge ahead. You are the trail-blazer; you are what we are working toward!”
- Find your allies: “Look both inside and outside your identity group and your firm.”
Confirming that the program was meaningful and worthwhile, the law students shared that the discussions were “candid” and “really resonated.” They expressed thanks for the “insights gained” and felt the program was “very helpful.”
Arian ended the panel with a question she and each of the panelists answered: What would you say to your younger self?
- Tonia: “Just be ready. Be ready and take the challenges and opportunities.”
- Alphonzo: “Be confident. Understand that judgment is a key attribute to being an excellent lawyer and be strategic about developing your career.”
- Eduardo: “Have patience and dedication. In the long run, it will bring you great satisfaction.”
- Arian: “Remember all you’ve accomplished to get here. And remind yourself every day, ‘I didn’t come this far to fail now.’”