Since its founding, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has committed itself to ensuring meaningful diversity at every level of the firm. Just as we work across borders and practice areas, we also reach across boundaries of race, gender, ethnicity, faith, socioeconomic background, ability, sexual orientation and gender identity to serve our clients with powerful solutions to their legal challenges. To ensure the richest mix of professional and personal experience, Akin Gump fosters lawyer recruitment, retention and promotion through a wide array of offerings, including pipeline programs for diverse law students (including the Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity Scholarship), professional development opportunities for lawyers, flexible work policies and practices, and support networks.
Akin Gump’s commitment to diversity is implemented through active participation of firm leadership. Upon assuming the role of chairperson in 2013, Kim Koopersmith became the first woman at Akin Gump—and one of very few women at a major, global law firm—to hold the position of chairperson of an AmLaw 100 law firm. In her prior role as the firm’s managing partner – U.S., Ms. Koopersmith oversaw the operations of Akin Gump, including financial oversight, client service, recruitment and professional development. She has been a major proponent of the firm’s diversity efforts, overseeing the creation of the Women’s Professional Development Initiative and of the firm’s Reduced Work Schedule Policy. Ms. Koopersmith’s commitment to diversity has been a guiding force for the firm’s diversity efforts throughout her leadership at the firm.
Akin Gump maintains a two-tiered diversity committee system, with both a firmwide committee and local-office committees. The firmwide committee is chaired by Karol Kepchar, a partner in the Washington, D.C., office’s intellectual property practice. Ms. Kepchar also co-chairs the Washington, D.C., office’s diversity committee. The firmwide diversity committee comprises 13 partner members, as well as additional administrative members from the firm’s human resources, lawyer recruiting, lawyer development and marketing departments. Akin Gump’s chairperson and firmwide hiring partner are both members of the firmwide diversity committee.
In October 2017, Akin Gump hired its first chief diversity and inclusion officer, Michele Meyer-Shipp. In this new role, Ms. Meyer-Shipp will develop and lead the implementation of a comprehensive diversity and inclusion strategy for the firm and coordinate all related efforts globally. She will work closely with
Ms. Koopersmith and Ms. Kepchar on all firmwide diversity and inclusion strategic initiatives.