Diversity and inclusion is a core value at Jenner & Block LLP. When Katya Jestin and Randy Mehrberg took the helm as Co-Managing Partners on January 1, 2020, they emphasized that diversity, equity and inclusion was one of their top priorities and that focus has played out in their leadership and is embedded into the fabric of the firm.
Within the Firm
We recognize that a diverse team of lawyers is essential to our ability to provide our clients with the best possible legal services. We focus on hiring and developing lawyers who reflect the multiplicity of cultures, genders, ethnic background and viewpoints represented in an increasingly global economy. We also work hard to create an environment where everyone feels included, respected and able to contribute fully. The result is broader perspectives, better ideas and more creative solutions for our clients, as well as a supportive and collegial working environment for our people.
We have a variety of policies and support structures in place to promote and maintain the diversity of our legal and non-legal personnel and maintain our inclusive environment. Our efforts are guided by our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee, which has existed at the firm for more than 20 years. The D&I Committee is supported by an Associate Board that consists of associates appointed from throughout the firm. The D&I Committee and the Associate Board work together on projects and initiatives designed to promote diversity and maintain our inclusive environment.
Read more about firm activities that support gender diversity, racial and ethnic diversity and LGBTQ diversity.
Within the Profession and Community
Jenner & Block provides leadership, sponsorship and financial support to various bar associations and organizations focused on promoting diversity within the legal profession. Examples include: the Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia and Illinois, the Asian American Bar Association, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (who named Partner AnnaMarie A. Van Hoesen as a 2021 Fellow), and the Hispanic Bar Association, to name a few. We also support and participate in conferences, such as the Corporate Counsel Women of Color Annual Career Strategies Conference, Charting Your Own Course (CYOC) Career Development Conference, National Lesbian and Gay Law Association’s Lavender Law annual conference, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), OutNEXT Global Summit, American Bar Association’s Spirit of Excellence Awards, the North American South Asian Bar Association conference, and many more.
Jenner & Block also works with schools and other organizations to build a diverse “pipeline” of students interested in the legal profession. We sponsor a variety of scholarships at the law school and college level for minority students. We also sponsor and actively participate in numerous diversity-related programs and events at law schools around the country. Lawyers in all offices also volunteer with a variety of programs that introduce elementary school and high school students to law and the legal profession.
Jenner & Block lawyers also demonstrate their belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion through their work on a variety of legal matters, many with far-reaching impact. We are proud to have played an active role in major cases such as:
- Asylum Granted for LGBTQ Kyrgyz Woman – We partnered with the National Immigrant Justice Center and lawyers from JP Morgan Chase to grant asylum to a young woman from Kyrgyzstan who fled to the United States seeking freedom from persecution because she was targeted, beaten, and raped for being a lesbian.
- Advocating for Medicaid Benefits for Transgender Women - The firm represented amici in an Iowa Supreme Court case that resulted in a victory for two transgender women who argued that the state’s failure to cover gender-affirming surgery constituted impermissible discrimination based on gender identity.
- Team’s Amicus Brief Urges US Supreme Court to Protect LGBTQ Workers Under Title VII - A team wrote an amicus brief in the landmark US Supreme Court case that centered on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to LGBTQ workers. The brief urged the US Supreme Court to extend Title VII’s protections to workers who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bollinger – Relying in part of Jenner & Block’s amicus brief on behalf of 65 corporations, the Court upheld University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action admissions policy.
- Fair Housing Class Actions – We helped obtain significant relief against racial discrimination in housing in Illinois, Baltimore and Miami.
- Lawrence v. Texas – Jenner & Block was co-lead counsel with Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund in a civil rights decision overturning a Texas anti-sodomy law. This decision is widely considered the most important gay rights decision in a generation.
- The firm has advocated against the Defense of Marriage Act in state and federal court.