Our affinity groups facilitate relationship-building among attorneys with shared interests and backgrounds, and provide a forum in which traditional and peer-mentoring opportunities may develop and flourish. In addition, our affinity groups play a key role in the firm's ongoing endeavors regarding law student recruitment, associate mentoring and peer networking, career development, workplace inclusion, retention and community involvement. The firm sponsors affinity groups that are open to all attorneys who are interested in participating.
Our affinity groups vary depending on office location and currently include Asian attorneys; black/African-American attorneys; Latino/Hispanic attorneys; LGBT attorneys; parents and mothers; and women attorneys. The groups meet regularly and discuss topics relevant to their communities, practice areas, professional experiences and personal interests. Meetings vary from casual conversations to structured sessions with agendas and guest speakers.
Throughout the year, members of our Diversity Committees, Women's Initiatives Committee and affinity groups spearhead the planning of events and programs for the Skadden community to enjoy. The following are examples of recent events hosted by our affinity groups:
- Asian Affinity Group: For each of the past several years, the Asian Affinity Group has presented a special tea tasting event facilitated by specialists from a local tea house. In celebration of Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, the group hosted a documentary screening of "Ahead of the Majority," a film about U.S. Rep. Patsy T. Mink, the first woman of color and the first Asian-American woman elected to Congress, followed by a Q&A session with Patsy Mink's daughter, Gwendolyn Mink.
- Black/African-American Affinity Group: In celebration of Black History Month, our Black/African-American Affinity Group hosted discussions with Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to President Obama; Clinton administration adviser and civil rights activist Vernon Jordan; Isabel Wilkerson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of The Warmth of Other Suns; and author and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson. The group also hosted screenings of "Fruitvale Station."
- Latin/Hispanic Affinity Group: This year, in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Latin/Hispanic Affinity Group hosted a conversation with Ana Duarte McCarthy, chief diversity officer at Citi, to discuss the state of diversity and inclusion in today's global marketplace.
LGBT Affinity Group: Each year, Skadden’s LGBT Affinity Group sponsors an event in honor of Pride Month. Last year the group held a panel discussion, "Marriage Equality, DOMA and the Supreme Court," with leading legal strategists Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director of the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, and James Esseks, director of the ACLU's LGBT & AIDS Project. The group also hosted the Stonewall Quartershare's film screening of the award-winning documentary "God Loves Uganda," followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers.
- This year, our New York office launched its Straight-LGBT Alliance, an initiative aimed at offering additional opportunities for straight colleagues to be open allies of our LGBT attorneys and staff.
- Parents Affinity Group: In coordination with our Parents Affinity Group, Skadden offers information sessions, facilitated by a consultant, on topics that have included "How to Talk to Kids About Diversity & Inclusion," featuring remarks by Georgetown University's Senior Associate Dean for Human Resources and Diversity Studies Christopher J. Metzler Ph.D., and "How to Talk to Kids About Food, Weight and Healthy Eating," with Lisa Belkin, The Huffington Post's senior columnist reporting on life, work and family; Joy Bauer, New York Times best-selling author and the health and nutrition expert for "The Today Show"; and Dara-Lynn Weiss, author of The Heavy: A Mother, A Daughter, A Diet.
- Women Affinity Group: The Women Affinity Group regularly host lectures and networking events. Recent events have included a discussion with Stanford Professor Emerita and author of Woman Lawyer: The Trials of Clara Foltz Barbara Babcock and a book talk with Barnard College President Debora Spar, author of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection.