Diversity and Inclusion are at the core of Dechert’s culture and business strategy. They shape the firm’s Personal Commitments and Guiding Principles. Our core values underscore our inclusive approach and embody our commitment to our work, clients and talent. With these principles in mind, we strive to:
- Maintain an inclusive environment that cultivates and values different backgrounds and perspectives.
- Harness the power of difference to enrich our relationships with clients through diverse and talented teams.
- Create equal and fair access to all aspects of firm life.
- Uphold our commitment to diversity by being a leader in the legal industry through innovation and sustained diligence.
- Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Dechert has a firmwide, partner-led Diversity and Inclusion Committee, a senior management-level Deputy Chair, Abbi Cohen, and a full-time Diversity and Inclusion Director to oversee policies and procedures that support diversity and inclusion. The Director is part of the firm’s Global Talent Team and is responsible for strategic oversight and implementation of the firm's diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- Affinity Groups
Dechert’s affinity groups support the development and retention of diverse attorneys and educate others about the history and traditions of their cultures. To affect change, affinity groups identify and address diversity and inclusion-related issues, and create new and recurring programming focused on the attainment of professional and business development skills. They offer enhanced mentoring opportunities, retreats and educational workshop for diverse attorneys. Reaching beyond Dechert, affinity groups engage with our communities through advocacy and pro bono. Finally, the groups present a variety of speaker programs in our legal and business community. Our affinity groups include:
- Asian Affinity Group
- Black Lawyers Alliance
- Dechert’s Family Network
- Latino Affinity Group
- LGBTQ Affinity Group
- Veteran Affinity Group
Our affinity groups host events throughout the year. Some recent notable events included:
- The Asian Affinity Group hosted local office events to celebrate the Lunar New Year and Diwali – the festival of lights. In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, the group hosted an evening exploring Asian identity through traditional and urban dance, featuring Ajna Dance Company, DANCE CHINA NY and Ishita Mili Global Exposé.
- The Black Lawyers Alliance celebrated Black History Month by hosting a lively discussion about how and why the U.S. Census uses social science and stereo-type to define black identify with guest speaker Dr. Hosea H. Harvey. The group also hosted an after hours client event at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture.
- Dechert’s Latino Affinity Group celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting author and professor Dan-El Padilla Peralta, who shared his inspiring story as an undocumented immigrant and his journey from a homeless shelter to the Ivy League. In addition, the group partnered with the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) to host a fireside chat, “Shaping the Future of America: A Conversation” with guest speaker Elisa Garcia, Chief Legal Officer of Macy’s. Garcia discussed the role of Latinos in America’s future and talked about her career path, including the challenges and opportunities she faced, and how she became the Chief Legal Officer of Macy’s.
- The LGBTQ Affinity Group recently welcomed Judy and Dennis Shepard, the parents of Matthew Shepard, whose tragic murder in 1998 galvanized a worldwide response against hate crimes and in support of the LGBTQ community, along with Jason Marsden, the Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, for a panel discussion. The group also sponsors a number of other events, including a networking event for the Gaingels, an LGBTQ / Ally investor network that invests in the best private companies with LGBTQ leadership; the Thomson Reuters OutLaws Conference; and, along with FS Investments, a screening (and director Q&A) of The Lavender Scare — a documentary about the U.S. government’s campaign to remove gays and lesbians from the federal workforce.
- The Veteran Affinity Group, Dechert Heroes, hosted a discussion on leadership. Panelists shared experiences from Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as they discussed what makes a good leader and how leadership skills can be applied from the battlefield to corporate America.
- Global Women's Initiative
Dechert’s Global Women’s Initiative (GWI) empowers women to succeed by fostering an environment that provides opportunities for development, advancement and leadership within the firm. Members of the GWI meet regularly with firm leadership to identify and implement initiatives that promote opportunities for women to advance and take on leadership roles throughout the firm.
Among Dechert’s initiatives that focus on women are formal and informal mentoring, development training, internal and external networking, special interest events, and leadership training. The GWI launched the Sponsorship and Sustained Support Program for senior women associates to help navigate the path to partnership. Local GWI Chapters host welcome receptions for new women associates and business and legal community events, including networking events for International Women’s Day.
For more information, visit our Global Women’s Initiative Page.
- LGBTQ Allies Program
Dechert’s LGBTQ Allies Program was developed to support our LGBTQ colleagues. Participation in the Dechert program is voluntary and open to everyone. Allies receive training and a decal identifying them as an ally in the office. The decal is displayed on office doors and serves as a visible show of support for our LGBTQ colleagues.
Dechert operates 26 global offices and our 900+ lawyers speak more than 40 languages. This international and diverse environment enriches all of our lawyers and maximizes our success.
An integral part of Dechert’s culture is to recruit, develop and promote diverse talent. We actively recruit diverse associates, counsel and partners in the lateral market. Senior diverse laterals bring new ideas and leadership. Their presence complements our overall diversity efforts and provides junior associates with additional resources for support.
- Professional Development
Dechert is committed to supporting and developing our talent. Our comprehensive talent management approach is widely recognized as best-in-class and helps our associates realize their full potential.
Our Diversity and Inclusion team works closely with our Professional Development team to ensure that all associates are supported, mentored and have development opportunities. Our Critical Skills Framework guides how we recruit, train, develop and promote our attorneys. It clearly articulates specific standards and benchmarks for our associates, which help them as they progress. Our in house career counselor is another resource that our lawyers can take advantage of in developing their career.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee sponsors the Diverse Junior Associate Summit and Diverse Associate Symposium, two-day programs devoted to exploring aspects of associate life. The programs utilize a 360° framework to explore career and life strategies for success and development, and cultivation of a professional and support network for associates. Associates will better understand the firm, its strategy and commitment to achieving greater diversity and inclusion, as you continue to follow your own personal road map for career development.
- Your firm - discussions with firm leadership
- Your clients - conversations and networking with clients
- Your practice - small sessions with practice group leaders and partners
- Your community - discussions on the importance of pro bono and volunteerism
- You - the importance of self-care
- Mansfield Rule
Dechert has achieved Mansfield Rule 2.0 Plus Certification for 2019. This certification recognizes law firms that have increased the representation of historically underrepresented lawyers in law firm leadership by broadening the pool of women, lawyers of color and LGBTQ+ lawyers who are considered for significant governance roles, senior lateral openings and promotions. In addition, Dechert achieved Mansfield “Plus” status, which means that the firm reached at least 30% diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of current leadership roles and committees.
Dechert has signed on for Mansfield Rule 3.0 Certification, which runs from July 2019 to July 2020.
- Community and Social Responsibility
Community and social responsibility drives impactful change in our communities, inspires our actions as societal leaders, and instills great pride in knowing that we are making a difference. We impact our communities through our signature initiatives: pro bono, board service, Dechert Days of Service, and involvement in Inspiring Girls International.
- Pro Bono
Dechert has a longstanding tradition of providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations who cannot otherwise afford legal counsel. Lawyers in all offices and in all practice groups make a difference every day by providing pro bono legal services aimed at combating discrimination and ensuring access to justice for all.
At Dechert, we strive to find projects that make a difference in our communities and match the interests and skill sets of our lawyers. Some of the major substantive areas in which we advocate on behalf of our pro bono clients include civil rights, criminal, death penalty, family law, human rights, immigration, landlord/tenant, nonprofit and charity advice, prisoners’ rights, public benefits, special education, veterans and voting rights.
Challenging Wrongful Imprisonment
Through our ongoing partnership with the Pennsylvania Innocence Project, a team of Dechert attorneys successfully represented our client in gaining his freedom after serving 24 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. When our client was 16 years old, he was convicted of murder, despite sworn testimony by both him and his mother that they were at The Youth Study Center at the same time as the murder. The sign-in logs at the Center had vanished by the time of the trial. Despite other missing evidence, evidence concealed from the defense, and questionable and unreliable witnesses, our client remained in prison without hope until the Innocence Project with Dechert's help took the case. Our client’s murder conviction was vacated by the courts and steps are in motion to expunge his record of conviction.
Promoting Human Rights Around the World
In partnership with Oxfam GB, Dechert leads a pro bono research project in Africa called “Raising Her Voice.” Our lawyers coordinate with volunteers from other firms and chambers to undertake a legal analysis of the state of implementation of the Maputo Protocol, a bill of rights for women developed by African leaders. Among other rights, the Protocol guarantees women the right to take part in political processes, enjoy social and political equality with men, and control their reproductive health. The ultimate goal is to expand the research to all 36 ratifying countries and to publish the reports on International Women’s Day to help ensure that the rights enshrined in the Protocol are concretely implemented in all jurisdictions.
Providing Educational Stability for Children with Autism
A team in our Philadelphia office successfully represented parents of children with autism challenging a school district’s process of transferring these students to different schools without parental input or adequate notice. A court held that the procedure violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, noting that an unplanned transition for children with autism is likely to have a negative impact on their learning.
Expanding Social Impact Investment Around the World
Social impact investing — the utilization of private investment capital as a resource for creating social change — has emerged in the 21st century as a revolutionary approach to philanthropy. Investments are made in companies, organizations and funds with the intent to generate measurable social or environmental impact (alongside a financial return). Our lawyers have negotiated the terms of many such investments and established several social investment funds around the world. The infusion of money from these deals has backed the creation of innovative projects such as remote medical services for the rural poor in India and an employment initiative for women garment makers in Liberia.
Helping an Alzheimer’s Patient Escape Violence in Iraq
Through our longstanding partnership with The List Project, we represented a 73-year-old Iraqi man, father of another Dechert client (an Iraqi who worked as a translator for a U.S. military contractor in Iraq and received asylum in the United States in 2010 with our assistance). After the father was assaulted in Iraq and his and his son’s lives were threatened, we successfully expedited his resettlement case. Our client was reunited with his son in Virginia, where he is receiving treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Dechert Days of Service
On Dechert’s Days of Service, our offices come together to make an impact in our local communities. We focus on projects that strengthen our communities and make our cities better places for all residents.
Some organizations we recently partnered with include:
- Aids Walk NY
- Operation Backpack
- Sharing Shelf
- American Heart Association's Lawyers Have a Heart 10K Run and Fun Walk
- NY/NJ Baykeeper
- Midnight Missions
- Special Olympics
- Toys for Tots
- NY Cares Winter Wishes
- Inspiring Girls International
Dechert is a gold sponsor for Inspiring Girls International, a charity dedicated to raising the aspirations of young girls around the world by connecting them with female role models. The organization, founded by former Dechert partner Miriam Gonzalez, aims to expose young girls (10-15 years old) to a full variety of jobs, roles and options for their professional lives to inspire them to aim high.
Since its inception in the UK in 2014, the initiative has recruited more than 25,000 female volunteers, reached out to more than 250,000 school girls, and held more than 50 high profile events across the country. Most recently, the charity built upon its popular #RedrawtheBalance campaign by creating a video highlighting gender bias in the animation industry. It was launched on the eve of International Women’s Day in March 2017.
Inspiring Girls has continued to expand its efforts by opening branches in Brazil, Chile, Italy, Spain, Serbia and Zambia. Dechert provides office space for the organization’s headquarters in London, as well as pro bono legal advice.
- Board Service and Support for Nonprofit Organizations
In addition to pro bono matters, we support charitable and nonprofit organizations that celebrate, support or help advance rights for women, people of color, or LGBTQ individuals. Many of our lawyers hold significant roles in bar organizations and other community groups with a focus on diversity and inclusion issues.
A few of the national and local organizations we support include:
- The Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY)
- Lambda Legal Defense Fund
- Latino Justice (PRLDEF)
- The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA)
Dechert is a founding member of the Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) and a member of The Boston Lawyers Group (BLG).
Dechert is a signatory to The Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention and The Call to Action for the Retention and Promotion of Women Attorneys adopted by the New York City Bar Association and Philadelphia Bar Association.
- Named one of the ‘Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality’ and achieved a perfect score for the seventh year in a row on the Corporate Equality Index – Human Rights Campaign, 2019
- Washington, D.C. Litigation partner, Vincent Cohen Recognized As a Diversity Leader, Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2018
- Ranked #1 for International Pro Bono Work – The American Lawyer, 2017
- Diversity Leader Award – Profiles in Diversity Journal, 2016
- Pro Bono Firm of 2016 – Law360, 2016
- Shortlisted for LGBT Equality Lawyer of the Year and Pro Bono Program of the Year – Chambers USA, 2016
- Honored at Euromoney’s Americas Women in Business Law Awards – Euromoney, 2016
Equal Employment Opportunity
Dechert LLP is committed to ensuring equal employment opportunity and non discrimination. The firm prohibits unlawful discrimination in any term or condition of employment against any employee or applicant for employment because of the individual’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information, disability, membership or service in the armed forces, or any other characteristic protected by law.We are proud of our organization and want every employee at the Firm to feel welcome with an equal opportunity to excel. Thank you for your interest in Dechert LLP.