Developing successful, thriving and engaged attorneys is a key component of our retention efforts — and one that permeates our focus on D&I. The array of professional and career development resources for associates and counsel that most directly align with our D&I goals includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- formal mentoring program for junior associates;
- organized processes for staffing and distributing work assignments for associates;
- Women’s Leadership Forum for high-performing women counsel and senior associates;
- Career Sponsorship Program that provides a framework to help more of our partners (sponsors) and associates and counsel (protégés), including women, attorneys of color and LGBTQ+ attorneys, forge and sustain connections through client work and other developmental interactions;
- affinity networks that implement a robust mix of professional development and cultural and social programs; and
- inclusion training seminars for all attorneys and staff that build on the awareness and competencies.
Law student hiring is a pillar of our D&I strategy. With vigor and focus, we consistently raise the bar on our approach to on-campus outreach and recruitment through several key programs described below.
Our Skadden 1L Scholars Program, established in 2012, is an important element of our on-campus recruitment strategy. The 11-week paid summer internship program is funded by Skadden and provides students with the ultimate 1L summer associate experience comprised of law firm, corporate in-house and public interest exposure. The program, which is available in all of our U.S. offices, provides a meaningful way for Skadden to partner with our clients on increasing diversity in the legal profession’s talent pipeline and to raise the profile of diversity and inclusion as a priority on law school campuses. To date, we have welcomed more than 210 1L scholars and nearly half have returned to the firm as associates. In 2020, we hired 31 1L scholars from 13 top law schools around the country. To our knowledge, we were the first law firm to develop a 1L program that incorporates law firm, in-house and pro bono experiences, and we are pleased that our program has become a model for firms across the country.
During the 2L hiring season each year, we conduct on-campus interviews or résumé collections at approximately 40 U.S. law schools or diversity job fairs. In the normal course of monitoring our applicant, call-back and offer-decision statistics throughout the hiring season, our attorney recruitment team keeps real-time watch on our diversity statistics. In the months preceding on-campus interviews and hiring, we sponsor programming for over 30 diverse law student affinity groups at close to two dozen law schools. Our attorneys forge connections with students prior to interviewing and hiring season and maintain the firm’s visibility on campus. Our interactions range from the formal, such as panel discussions, job fairs, and résumé writing and career workshops in our offices, to the informal, including Skadden-hosted dinners and lunches.
Skadden recognizes the value of providing assistance to our attorneys as they strive to balance work and personal responsibilities. Two programs, FRM (Flexible Return Months) and Sidebar, are examples of the support we offer to our attorneys.
Additional benefits include:
- parental leave
- back-up childcare and eldercare
- domestic partner health benefits
- reduced hours program
- mothers’ rooms, specially designated for the use of nursing mothers
- LifeWorks, a resource and referral program that provides contacts, information and practical solutions for a multitude of personal issues, from finding a pet-sitter to coping with a family problem
- Work/Life Week, an annual recognition of National Work & Family Month that offers seminars on a broad range of topics, including eldercare, parenting and finances