Sidley Austin, the firm that briefly employed both Barack and Michelle Obama, has launched a new diversity mentorship program for rising 2Ls. What's different is the goal: “To help diverse lawyers succeed in the legal profession, even if they do not work at Sidley.”
Sidley associates in Washington have been paired with 11 law students. Only those from schools where Sidley recruits are eligible to apply. Of the students selected, none currently work for Sidley (admittedly, the firm rarely seeks summer associates from among law students who have just completed their first year).
Still, the firm wanted to “show its dedication to diversity issues within the profession,” said Joseph Manicki, a seventh-year associate who is co-chair of the firm’s D.C. Diversity Committee.
Mentors offer help on applying for jobs at law firms, interviewing techniques, and overall understanding of the variety and nature of private practice in Washington.
Sidley has also launched a “Diversity Dialogues” series of panel discussion and lectures. The first, on July 29, will focus on judicial diversity.
Sidley has 234 lawyers and 13 summer associates in Washington.