Law firms thrive or fail based on the quality of their work. At Schiff Hardin we know that diverse teams think deeper thoughts, generate more creative ideas, and provide broader perspectives. Why? Because teams of lawyers with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives don’t just repeat each other. They challenge and question each other. It is this process that produces great results. 

We know how to create great teams. That process starts with our commitment to recruit, retain, and advance talented people of diverse backgrounds. It continues with our commitment to make the firm an inclusive environment, one that supports communities, groups, individuals, and initiatives that encourage people of diverse backgrounds to enter the legal profession, to be successful in their careers at Schiff Hardin, and to help future generations of talented, diverse people do exactly the same.

Our efforts have been rewarded. We’re grateful for that recognition but still hard at work to improve more. 

  • Recognition

    Leading publications and national rankings organizations applaud our diversity efforts. We are especially proud of the following recent awards: 

    • Human Rights Campaign. For the seventh year running, we received a 100 percent score on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index, as determined by our LGBT workplace policies and benefits.
    • Working Mother Magazine and Flex-Time Lawyers. Schiff Hardin has been named one of the 50 Best Law Firms for Women nationwide every year since 2012.
    • Equality Illinois. For the past six years, we have been honored as a leading law firm for LGBT workplace inclusion and equality.
    • Law360. Schiff Hardin was named a Top 50 Law Firm for Minority Equity Partners in 2016.
  • Recruiting and Professional Development

    Our recruiting and retention practices help us hire and retain a diverse group of lawyers. To us, law student recruits are a lot more than their resumes.

    Several years ago, we added a new part to our interview process, an interview with a diverse panel of Schiff Hardin lawyers. Schiff Hardin lawyers ask structured, pre-planned behavioral questions to gather extensive information about students’ professional, academic, extracurricular, and other individual life experiences. The format is designed to eliminate bias, and panel members have been professionally trained to interview effectively. The atmosphere is welcoming and lets students highlight their individual backgrounds, experiences, and talents.

    We are finding many diverse law students who are excited about the Firm – and we are actively recruiting them.

    Over the past few years, we have redoubled our efforts to increase the pool of diverse candidates that we interview. We interview at the Cook County Minority Job Fair, Lavender Law, and on campus at law schools nationwide, including Howard University School of Law, a historically black law school in Washington, D.C.

    We also recently partnered with Howard University School of Law. In the fall of 2016, Schiff’s legal writing coach, Julie Schrager, began offering writing workshops to Howard law students. She hosted her second workshop in February 2017. We view these workshops as a valuable investment to ensure that talented, diverse future lawyers are fully equipped to enter the profession. 

    Several of our lawyers also participate in formal and informal mentoring programs, including the University of Chicago’s Women’s Mentoring Program, Northwestern University’s OUTlaw organization, the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago, and the LINK Unlimited Scholars program. 

    Our recent recruiting results bear out our efforts. Our 2017 summer program was 47% diverse.  And the 2015 summer associate class had the highest percentage of women summer associates in firm history – 75%. 

    Further, our inclusive and supportive environment helps us retain talent. We work with all of our associates to ensure that they receive the professional opportunities and training they need to navigate the law firm environment and manage their work. The Firm also has a legal writing coach, Julie Schrager, to work closely with our summer associates and associates to improve their writing skills. Julie conducts small- and large-group workshops and works one-on-one with individual lawyers. Through Julie’s work, we provide every lawyer the opportunity to improve in this critically important area.

    We plan on the success of every associate and lateral we hire. But at the same time we know that attorneys have different needs and goals at different stages of their careers and that no two career paths are the same. For these reasons, we mentor all attorneys and monitor our progress toward creating long, successful, and rewarding careers for each of them.  

    We also have a compensation and advancement structure that is adapted to associates’ individual needs. There are three tiers of associates. Each practice group has specifically identified and communicated the competencies that are required for advancement. And to further ensure that our associates gain the experiences and skills they need to advance, we hold annual “practice mastery” conferences for each firm associate.

    Our hiring approach has one additional unique feature:  we allow new associates to spend up to a year working in their choice of practice areas before selecting a primary area. Further, once an associate has chosen a primary practice area, he or she may still work in others. These policies help us recruit, retain, and advance minority and women attorneys.

  • Insights

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Receives National Diversity Rankings by 2019 Vault Associate Survey

    Schiff Hardin LLP is proud to announce the firm received top national rankings on diversity in the 2019 Vault Associate Survey.

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Ranked Among Top 175 Firms in 2018 NLJ 500

    Schiff Hardin LLP ranked 164 of 350 on The National Law Journal’s 2018 NLJ 500 list, which recognizes the 500 largest law firms in the United States based on the average number of full-time equivalent attorneys from January 1 to December 31, 2017.

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Expands Parental Benefits with New Ramp Up/Down Policy for Working Parents

    The policy, which is effective immediately, will help working parents transition into starting their parental leave and returning to work.


    Building a Place for Women and Diverse Lawyers in Real Estate

    2017 National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Annual Conference

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Announces New Diversity Committee Leadership

    Co-Chairs Sailesh K. Patel and Christine A. McGuinness to Focus on Promoting Inclusion, Retention, and Sponsorships

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Ranked in The National Law Journal’s Women’s Scorecard “Where Women Thrive”

    Schiff Hardin secured a #29 ranking, as 36 percent of its attorneys, 27 percent of its partners, and 51 percent of its associates are female.

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Named a Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers 2016 “50 Best Law Firms for Women” for Fifth Consecutive Year

    The list recognizes firms with family-friendly policies and career and business development initiatives that retain women attorneys and advance them into the leadership pipeline.

    News Release

    Schiff Hardin Named a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality for Sixth Consecutive Year

    For the sixth year in a row, the firm earned a perfect score of 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index.

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Clay A. Tillack

Schiff Hardin’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is exemplified by the photograph on my desk. It’s of my husband and me taken on the day we celebrated our marriage. Many of my colleagues joined us at the event. Even more have wished us well. The firm’s support for LGBT equality is personal for me.
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Gabriel M. Rodriguez

The firm has worked exceptionally hard over the past decade to improve diversity throughout the organization. We’re now seeing the benefits of that effort, as we learn to harness the power and leverage the talents of a highly diverse workplace for the benefit of our clients.
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Joanne B. Faycurry

I left my prior law firm of nearly 24 years and joined Schiff Hardin in part because of the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Now I see that commitment firsthand. The firm devotes substantial resources to attracting, developing, and promoting its women attorneys.
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Schiff Hardin Secures LGBT Victory for Civil Unions in Illinois

The ruling represents an important victory for LGBT rights in Illinois, especially in cases involving religious freedom as a justification for discrimination. MORE