SmithAmundsen embraces the diverse perspectives and experiences that exist within the legal profession. To that end, the firm is dedicated to nurturing a culturally rich, collaborative and inclusive working environment. Our Diversity Committee is made up of partners, associates and administrative professionals who are committed to that mission. The goal is to enhance recruiting and mentoring efforts, and also empower members of the firm to become active and engaged in their communities. The Committee aims to provide the resources necessary to remain competitive and relevant in an evolving global marketplace.
In 2016 SmithAmundsen was ranked #11 on The American Lawyer’s “The Best Places for Women” list. The list includes the top 100 law firms on The National Law Journal’s annual survey, which ranks the tops law firms for women based on the number of total female attorneys and female partners at each firm.
In 2016, Law 360 named SmithAmundsen #32 on its Top 100 Law Firms for Female Attorneys list.
In 2016, Above the Law gave SmithAmundsen an "A" in its Law Firm Gender Diversity Index.
In 2015, Law360 named SmithAmundsen #15 on Top 100 Law Firms for Female Attorneys list. This ranking is based on the firm's female representation at the partner and nonpartner levels and its total number of female attorneys.
- National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago
- National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
- Chinese American Bar Association
- Professional Women’s Club of Chicago
- Women Lawyers' Association of Greater St. Louis
- Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations
The Diversity Committee promotes education and awareness through events designed to highlight the unique perspectives and experiences of different ethnic, religious, racial, gender and socioeconomic groups. Recent events include:
October 2017, Hispanic Heritage Month: SmithAmundsen attorneys, staff, and friends gathered at Moe’s Cantina in Chicago to enjoy an evening of food, drinks, and networking in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event also featured a speech from special guest of honor, Judge Jesse Reyes, Appellate First District Court, 5th Division. Our Hispanic Heritage Month event served not only as a celebration of heritage and culture, but to recognize the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans, and their contributions to our country, our community, and SmithAmundsen.
June 2017, LGBT PRIDE: SmithAmundsen’s attorneys, staff, clients and friends gathered at Brando’s Speakeasy to celebrate LGBT PRIDE week in Chicago. The event was sponsored by Park Hyatt Chicago, Beer on Clark, Booze Next Door, The Playground Theatre, Bobby Love’s, Elixir and Hydrate, and Reverie Salon
April 2017, SmithAmundsen Hosts Urban Prep Academies Students: The firm hosted high school students from Urban Prep Academies for "Discovering Our City" day as part of a continuous effort to encourage students to pursue diverse academic and career interests. The day involves businesses around the Chicago area who host or sponsor groups of students and provide them with a glimpse into different fields.
February 2017, Black History Month: During the firm’s fourth annual Black History Month celebration attorneys and staff came together to enjoy food and drink. The Honorable Edward Washington II was featured as a guest speaker.
September 2016, Hispanic Heritage Month: SmithAmundsen attorneys and staff gathered at Latinicity in Chicago to enjoy food and drink in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
July 2016, SmithAmundsen Hosts National Autonomous University of Mexico Students: Ryan Jacobson hosted UNAM law students at SmithAmundsen during their visit to the United States. The two hour presentation included discussion on civil procedure, practicing at a large law firm, diversity initiatives and First Amendment jurisprudence.
June 2016, LGBT PRIDE: SmithAmundsen’s attorneys, staff, clients and friends gathered at Patron’s Hacienda to celebrate LGBT PRIDE week in Chicago. The event was sponsored by Park Hyatt Chicago, Beer on Clark, Clark Street Beach Bar, The Playground Theater, Ladies & Gentlemen Salon, Reply, Elixir and Hydrate, Patron’s Hacienda, Kick and Bobby Love’s.
February 2016, Black History Month: This third annual celebration was hosted at the Park Hyatt Chicago and drew more than 100 attendees from throughout the Chicago legal and business community. The evening featured a celebratory toast from the Honorable Sharon Johnson Coleman and a musical performance by Rashada Dawan, vocalist with the Black Ensemble Theater.
June 2015, LGBT PRIDE: Clients and friends joined SmithAmundsen’s attorneys and staff at Patron’s Hacienda’s to celebrate LGBT PRIDE week in Chicago. The event was sponsored by local businesses including, Park Hyatt Chicago, Beer on Clark, Bobby Love’s, Clark Street Beach Bar, The Playground Theater, Hamburger Mary’s, Replay, Elixir and Halsted’s, and Ladies & Gentlemen Salon and Spa.
February 2015, Black History Month: The firm's lobby was converted into an art gallery and music hall for our second annual Black History Month celebration. We brought together clients, colleagues and friends to enjoy music by the Mike Wheeler Band, art by the supremely talented kids of After School Matters, food by Reggie Ray’s Catering, and the unforgettable words of Hon. Arlander Keys (Ret.).
September 2014: Our female attorneys were invited to participate in a series of roundtable events featuring senior female partners as speakers. Partners spoke on issues germane to career development, business development, work-life balance and women’s issues.
June 2014, LGBT PRIDE: Employees, clients, contacts, and friends in the LGBT community were invited to Patron’s Hacienda to celebrate LGBT PRIDE week in Chicago. Local LGBT-owned businesses including Beer on Clark, Clark Street Beach Bar, Hamburger Mary’s, LKH Management (Hydrate, Elixir, Replay, Halsted’s), Twisted Vine, Mini Bar and North End provided support for the event.
February 2014, Black History Month: The firm’s conference space was converted into a Pop-Up art gallery featuring works by local artists supplied by Nych Gallery in Pilsen and photographer Will Knight in celebration of Black History month. Food was provided by Flavor180.
Each year, the Diversity Committee provides support to outside organizations that promote diversity in the legal industry. These organizations include:
- Chicago-Kent College of Law Thurgood Marshall trial team
- Hispanic American Construction Industry Association
- Filipino American Lawyers Association
- Puerto Rican Bar Association
- Chinese American Bar Association
- National Association of Asian American Professionals
- Women’s Bar Association of Illinois
- Women’s Bar Association of Greater St. Louis
- Professional Women’s Club of Chicago
- Equality Illinois
SmithAmundsen's Diversity Committee is charged with upholding the firm's diversity mission and advancing firm-wide diversity initiatives. The committee works closely with the Executive Committee and our administrative team to carry out these initiatives and to help foster a culture that celebrates the diverse contributions of all members of the firm.
For additional information, please contact chair Beverly Alfon.
Diversity Committee Members:
- Beverly Alfon
- Carlos S. Arévalo
- Molly Arranz
- Heather Bailey
- Heather Bub
- Carmel Cosgrave
- Peter Henry
- Philip List
- Sulema Medrano
- Mark Middendorff
- Molly O’Gara
- Lauren Rosenbaum
- Diana Salinas
- Moses Suarez
- Paulette Yanow Valentin
- Gary Zhao