In Their Words

Howard S. Suskin

Partner

How and why did you become a member of the LGBT Forum?
I became a member of the D&I Committee several years ago, at the same time I became co-chair of the LGBT affinity group, because I wanted to contribute to the firm’s diversity and inclusion goals and because I wanted to build on the LGBT affinity group’s successes in recruitment, support for our lawyers and staff, and contributions to the community.

What activities/accomplishments are you most proud of?
There are many.  Our firm is very active and successful through our pro bono efforts and support for a wide range of LGBT organizations in making a genuine difference for the better in our community and throughout the nation on diversity and inclusion issues.  Internally, we support our lawyers and staff in a diverse and inclusive environment.  We are widely recognized, in the Vault Survey for example, as the leading firm in the nation for LGBT diversity and inclusion.  We consistently receive a 100% rating on HRC’s Workplace Equality Index.  We have been recognized by many community organizations, including Equality Illinois and Lambda Legal, for our efforts and contributions.  It is gratifying to know that we are making a difference for the better.

What else would you like to see the group accomplish?
Keep doing more of the same, and help other affinity groups achieve the same level of success that the LGBT affinity group has accomplished.   

What have you gotten from participating?
A sense of pride about our accomplishments and a genuine camaraderie among the members of the D&I Committee and the LGBT affinity group.    

What does your experience tell you about Jenner & Block?
Jenner & Block means what it says when it emphasizes that diversity and inclusion are fundamental principles of our firm culture. The proof is reflected in our long list of accomplishments and successes.

Amr O. Aly

Why did you join the Muslim Affinity Group?

When I was asked to co-lead the Muslim Affinity Group at Jenner, I was extremely flattered and looked forward to sharing common experiences with other Muslims at Jenner and beyond.  I made my pilgrimage to Mecca five years ago -- one of the five pillars of Islam, and I have enjoyed discussing and comparing my experience with others.  This and other affinity groups at Jenner provide a common bond and safe space for members to explore topics and issues that may not be fitting for discussion in a larger setting.    

What has been the most meaningful part of participating in the Muslim Affinity Group? 

The periodic check-in with members of the group and hearing what others are doing in their communities.  It’s been great to see that new members of the Jenner & Block family seek out and ask to join the Muslim Affinity Group, which has steadily grown in size.

What would you like to see the Muslim Affinity Group accomplish?

Continue to play a supporting role for Muslim lawyers and staff at Jenner & Block and provide a forum for those members to ask questions and share common thoughts and beliefs.  

Matthew D. Cipolla

What would you like to see the LGBTQ Forum accomplish?

Connecting our LGBTQ lawyers across the firm, a particularly important goal during the pandemic and beyond. Different lawyers at different points in their careers and lives may benefit in different ways. For some, it’s a place to socialize with colleagues and make new friends. For some, it’s a place to learn about, and get involved with, the tremendous LGBTQ pro bono work and advocacy efforts our firm does. And for some, it’s another place for junior lawyers to be mentored and sponsored by more senior lawyers, particularly through the mentoring circles organized by the Forum.

What has been the most meaningful part of participating in the LGBTQ Forum?

Opening doors to make our world better in big and small ways. The Forum connected me to our longstanding pro bono representation of national medical organizations, most recently contributing to the challenge to the Trump Administration’s efforts to permit discrimination against trans individuals in healthcare. The Forum also allowed me to assist the firm in making sure we continue as a leader in LGBTQ equality, for example in our rollout of including pronouns in our bios and email signature blocks to promote trans and non-binary inclusivity.

Michelle M. McAtee

Why did you join the Caregivers Affinity Group? 

When I was losing my father and trying to navigate all of the issues that arise during those times along with trying to practice law and tend to my busy family, I needed some support from others who were going through similar challenges.  Those connections started out informally – friends at the firm who I personally knew were going through similar things.  I love that the caregivers’ group makes this support more formal. 

What has been the most meaningful part of participating in the Caregivers Affinity Group?

Definitely the solidarity.  It’s a unique position that our families do not always understand, so to get this support from those in similar situations, who understand the demands of our jobs, is incredibly fortunate. 

What would you like to see the Caregivers Affinity Group accomplish?  

Perhaps some programming, with speakers from Northwestern’s Family Institute (Jim Feldman had been on the Board there) on issues that caregivers can face, along with practical guidance.  Also, since many of us have faced caring for our aging parents, perhaps a library of resources that are local to each office (for example, agencies that help to locate the right care facility). 

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your involvement with affinity groups at the firm?

Just how appreciative I am that the firm devotes resources to the affinity groups.  It’s a unique commitment, and it adds so much to my professional and personal lives! 

Marc L. Warren

Why did you join the Veteran and Military Families Affinity Group?

I joined to help recognize and support members of the Jenner & Block family who are veterans or members of the Guard or Reserve, or whose loved ones are serving in the military.

What has been the most meaningful part of participating in the Veteran and Military Families Affinity Group?

Helping the firm recognize veterans on Veterans Day and, in the UK, on Armed Forces Day.  Our firm leadership does a great job of commemorating the service of veterans and, through the firm’s pro bono activities, helping veterans.  On Veterans Day, we typically have a speaker or panel present on a topic related to military service.   

What would you like to see the Veteran and Military Families Affinity Group accomplish?

The Affinity Group should increase awareness of the contributions and service of Veterans, members of the Guard and Reserve, and their families.  We should look for opportunities to highlight our veterans and military families, not just to show appreciation for their past service, but to recognize their current value to the firm.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your involvement with affinity groups at the firm?

Affinity Groups are a great part of the firm’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.  They are also a great way to get to know other members of the Jenner & Block family. 

Precious S. Jacobs-Perry

Why did you join the Caregivers Affinity Group?

Being a mom is an important part of who I am and I wanted to connect with others at the firm who were also working caregivers.  

What has been the most meaningful part of participating in the Caregivers Affinity Group?

The most meaningful part, especially in this pandemic, has been connecting with other parents.  It was important to know none of us were alone as we transitioned to working full-time and being full-time caregivers, and to support and encourage each other through this difficult time. 

What would you like to see the Caregivers Affinity Group accomplish?

 A mentor program for working mothers with small children.  We have a challenging and rewarding job, and it can sometimes seem impossible to do it and parent small children.  However, it has been done successfully by so many parents at the firm.  I often joke that they should write a “how to” manual.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your involvement with affinity groups at the firm?  

I believe they are an important resource at the firm.  I have been active in the African American Affinity Group since I joined the firm and later the Caregivers Affinity Group when I became a mom.  They help keep me connected to the firm and others in a unique and special way.  I’m grateful for the opportunity to connect with the members of each. 

Anne Cortina Perry

Why did you join the Women’s Forum?

When I first joined Jenner & Block over a decade ago, I was thrilled to discover the Women’s Forum. Our monthly NY office lunches were often the highlight of my month as an associate; the opportunity to connect with the-then relatively small group of women lawyers provided an unmatched opportunity to seek mentoring, advice, feedback – and to have hilarious and stimulating conversations about matters inside and outside the office.

What has been the most meaningful part of participating in the Women’s Forum?

I have been grateful for the opportunity to use the Women’s Forum as an opportunity to amplify and uplift the voices of women in the firm. For example, in the NY office, we have developed a platform for women to acknowledge each other’s achievements, experiences, and successes.    

I am also so proud of the work we’ve done this year to bring together all women lawyers at the Women’s Forum Summit this past spring.  The collective energy among our female lawyers toward increasing gender equality in the profession was deeply inspirational.

HOWARD S. SUSKIN
Office(s):
Chicago
Law Schools(s):
University of Michigan Law School
Started with firm:
1983
AMR O. ALY
Office(s):
New York
Law Schools(s):
Seton Hall University School of Law
Started with firm:
2019
MATTHEW D. CIPOLLA
Office(s):
New York
Law Schools(s):
Harvard Law School
Started with firm:
2011
MICHELLE M. MCATEE
Office(s):
Chicago
Law Schools(s):
University of Iowa College of Law
Started with firm:
2004
MARC L. WARREN
Office(s):
Washington, DC
Law Schools(s):
University of Florida College of Law and The Judge Advocate General's School of the U.S. Army
Started with firm:
2017
PRECIOUS S. JACOBS-PERRY
Office(s):
Chicago
Law Schools(s):
University of Illinois College of Law
Started with firm:
2009