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 2019, the National Law Journal ranked SmithAmundsen #15 on its Women's Scorecard. The Women’s Scorecard is produced as part of the annual National Law Journals 500 firm headcount report and only the largest 350 firms are eligible for the Women’s Scorecard.
In 2019, Law360 named SmithAmundsen #4 on its Best Law Firms for Female Attorneys list among firms with 150-299 attorneys. SmithAmundsen was previously ranked #10 on Law360's 2018 list.
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, Law360 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.
In celebration of Black History Month, SA's Diversity Committee helped fund scholarships to African American law students throughout the Midwest Region, including Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. In 2019, we awarded three scholarships in conjunction with the scholarship awards ceremony held by the Cook County Bar Association Foundation (CCBA) in Chicago, in addition to two scholarships at the IU McKinney Law School’s Diversity Dinner in Indianapolis and at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
In 2018, we're proud to have been among those who contributed to scholarships awarded to law students. We helped fund scholarships for students from DePaul, John Marshall and Loyola law schools by the Cook County Bar Association. We awarded a scholarship to a law student from Marquette University Law School and helped fund scholarships through the Mound City Bar Association in St. Louis.
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
- 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:
August 2019, Gary Zhao was featured in the Legal Executive Institute of Thomson Reuter's Next Gen Leadership white paper and Legal Current podcast highlighting how SmithAmundsen has helped him grow as an attorney of color and provides tips on what legal employers can do to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
October 2018, Hispanic Heritage Month: SmithAmundsen’s attorneys and staff gathered at Latinicity in Chicago to enjoy food and drinks and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
June 2018, LGBTQ PRIDE: SmithAmundsen's attorneys, clients and friends gathered at Navy Pier's Beer Garden to celebrate LGBTQ PRIDE week in Chicago. The event was sponsored by Bobby Love's, Derno's, My Buddy's, Reverie Salon, and The Playground Theatre.
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.
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 co-chairs Molly Arranz or Joe Trevino.
Diversity Committee Members:
- Beverly Alfon
- Carlos Arévalo
- Heather Bailey
- Laura Bonadies
- Heather Bub
- Carmel Cosgrave
- Mark Middendorff
- Selena Obi
- Molly O’Gara
- Diana Salinas
- Jennifer Stuart
- Moses Suarez
- Paulette Yanow Valentin
- Gary Zhao