As more major law firms make public moves to tackle diversity issues, Shearman & Sterling on Friday announced a new executive position and a new “global task force” aimed at increasing diversity at the Wall Street firm.
Shearman’s longtime global director of legal talent, Sandra Bang, will be its first-ever chief diversity and talent strategy officer. The diversity and inclusion task force, chaired by recently-appointed senior partner David Beveridge, includes several partners across the firm and will develop and implement diversity and inclusion strategies.
“There’s been so much more talk [about] the importance of trying to move the needle more effectively when it comes to diversity and inclusion, particularly in the legal industry,” Bang said. “The firm, along with its senior leaders and everyone else—partners, associates, business services—really thought about how can we, as a firm, take this to the next level.”
Bang, based in New York, came to Shearman from Chadborne & Parke in 2008 as director of partner and counsel services. In 2010, she became the firm’s global director of legal talent development, leading talent recruitment, retention and development programs.
In her new officer role, Bang said that she plans on helping guide the firm’s diversity and inclusion efforts using “a very strategic and data-driven approach.”
Shearman previously partnered with the Center for Talent and Innovation to conduct a firmwide inclusion diagnostic survey and generate recommendations about how to improve diversity and inclusion efforts. Bang and the new task force will use those recommendations in pressing initiatives related to career development and advancement.
Bang also said she expects to work closely with clients—who are increasingly demanding greater diversity on outside counsel teams—and to pay close attention to the firm’s talent pipeline.
“We’re very passionate about doing that and willing to take things to the next level in order to really effect more change,” Bang said.
Friday’s announcement is the latest in a string of recent diversity-related moves in the industry.
Longtime Greenberg Traurig partner and former American Bar Association president Hilarie Bass’ announced this week that she will be stepping away from the firm to create her own organization, The Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion, addressing issues around gender parity and workplace inclusion.
National labor and employment law firm Fisher & Phillips named Southern California-based partner Regina Petty as its first chief diversity office in June. Soon after, Locke Lord named its first-ever chief diversity and inclusion officer, Paulette Brown, the first woman of color to serve as ABA president.
Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman also appointed a new head of its diversity and inclusion efforts in June, naming partner Stacie Yee to the role.