Some of the Firm's diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives are briefly described below:

Associate Development, Retention and Advancement
The Firm has active networks for people of color (POC) and LGBTQ+ associates: the Asian Associates Network, the LGBT Network and the Network of Black & Latinx Lawyers (NOBLL). These networks offer candid forums for members to seek advice, share experiences and discuss work-related issues. The networks meet regularly and bring in speakers periodically to discuss career development topics. Members also organize community service, professional development, social networking and recruiting activities. Some examples of the networks' activities are described below.
  • To assist its members with achieving their professional milestones, while also raising members' professional profiles within the Firm, the affinity networks maintain bespoke mentoring programs for incoming associate members. The networks also host a partner-led speaker series. The presentations cover substantive practice and professional development topics.
  • Members of the LGBT Network spearhead the Firm's support of LGBTQ+ organizations and other contributions to LGBTQ+ causes. In addition, members of the LGBT Network facilitate S&C's involvement in pro bono legal representations on important civil rights issues, including issues related to gay marriage and gay adoption. For example, the Firm, along with co-counsel from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), won an important victory in a landmark pro bono case, Cole v. Arkansas, which struck down as unconstitutional an Arkansas law that prohibited cohabiting couples from serving as adoptive or foster parents.
Our Women's Initiative Committee (WIC) works to enhance the experience of women in practice at the Firm by focusing on the retention and advancement of our women lawyers and by fostering informal networking and mentoring opportunities. See Women's Initiatives for more information.

The Firm is also very proud of its “S&C Celebrates Diversity” speaker series. In the most recent program in this series, the Firm hosted the Honorable William F. Kuntz, U.S. District Court Judge (E.D.N.Y.). Judge Kuntz's discussion focused on his notable career experiences, his path to the federal bench, and events that shaped New York City and the nation over the past four decades.

Participation in Firm Leadership
POC, LGBTQ+ and women partners hold several leadership positions in the Firm, including serving on the Firm's Management Committee and other committees, managing multiple offices, and heading many practice groups and practice areas. For instance:
  • POC and women lawyers head or co-head the Firm's Beijing, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Sydney and Tokyo offices.
  • LGBTQ+ lawyers head or co-head the Firm's Financial Institutions Group, Antitrust practice, Broker-Dealer Regulation practice and Intellectual Property (Litigation) practice.
  • POC lawyers head or co-head the Firm's Executive Compensation Group, Africa practice, Antitrust practice, Asia practice, Commodities, Futures and Derivatives practice, Corporate Finance – Securities practice, Corporate Governance practice, Europe practice, European Union practice, Hong Kong Law practice, Labor and Employment practice, Latin America practice, Natural Resources practice, Project Finance practice, Sovereign Issuers practice and Technology: Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions practice.
  • Women lawyers head or co-head the Firm's General Practice Group, Litigation Group, Capital Markets Group, Africa practice, Antitrust practice, Asia practice, Blue Sky/FINRA Clearance practice, California practice, Commodities, Futures and Derivatives practice, Corporate Governance practice, Cybersecurity practice, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act practice, Insurance practice, Intellectual Property (Litigation) practice, Investment Management practice, Labor and Employment practice, Natural Resources practice, Private Equity practice, Project Finance practice and Technology: Finance and Mergers & Acquisitions practice.

Continuing Efforts to Foster Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Legal Community

Beyond the Firm, we are committed to improving the diversity of the legal profession.

In 2006, Sullivan & Cromwell, Goldman Sachs and Harvard Law School's Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice launched the Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies Initiative as a public-private partnership to address the achievement gap between young black men and their peers. Seeking to draw upon the resources of the private and philanthropic sectors to improve opportunities for young black men, the group identified five areas in which to urgently direct resources and energy: (1) early childhood development; (2) public school education; (3) employment and economic development; (4) criminal justice, prison reform, and reentry; and (5) opportunities for high-potential youth. The Firm is proud to have been a co-founder of this innovative and important initiative. Since the inaugural forum, thousands of people in the private sector have participated in discussions, plenary sessions and working groups to secure funding and to develop and implement strategies to combat the rising rates of drop-out, incarceration and unemployment among young black men.

The Firm is also deeply committed to growing the pipeline of POC lawyers through internship, mentoring and development programs for high school, college and law school students of color.

  • At the high school level we partner with Legal Outreach, NJ LEEP and the Boys' Club of New York. These organizations prepare youth from underserved communities to compete at high academic levels by providing intensive legal and educational skill-building programs. In addition to our financial support of the programs, each summer the Firm hosts four students from each program for one week, during which time the students meet our lawyers, learn about the Firm's various practice areas and participate in a lawyer-run mock trial.
  • At the college level, we are a longstanding partner with Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), a non-profit organization that provides mentoring programs for minority high school students and continues to support their development throughout college. S&C has financially supported the SEO program for many years and has employed outstanding college students as part of SEO's Corporate Law Program. Each year students intern at the Firm during the summer between graduation from college and commencement of law school. The Firm also routinely hires former SEO fellows as summer and regular associates.
  • At the law school level, S&C has a longstanding tradition of being an active supporter of Practicing Attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc. (PALS), an organization that provides networking opportunities and mentoring and development programs to POC law students and junior lawyers. For more than 20 years, the Firm has hosted the program's Fall Kick-Off Event, which attracts approximately 250 POC law students and attorneys from around New York City. For the past 17 years, the Firm has also hosted a writing workshop each spring for PALS members. S&C lawyers also routinely serve as PALS mentors.
S&C was an original signatory of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York's "Statement of Goals of New York Law Firms and Corporate Legal Departments for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention" and "Restatement and Reaffirmation of Goals for the Hiring, Retention and Promotion of Attorneys of Color and the Retention and Promotion of Women." S&C retired partner and of counsel, Michael Cooper, was president of the association when the original "Statement of Goals" was drafted, and S&C partner Frank Aquila co-authored the document.

Our lawyers also participate in bar committee activities addressing issues of concern to POC, LGBTQ+ and women lawyers in the profession and are encouraged to participate in professional development and diversity-related forums, seminars and conferences.