Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Action Plan

Plan approved by board of directors on August 18, 2020
Plan updated on September 30, 2021

Cooley is a firm that has the concepts of diversity, inclusion, equality and justice woven tightly into the center of our identity, our culture, our brand and our core business. These times call for unequivocal words and extraordinary actions. We must not just build a substantially more diverse and inclusive enterprise, but also articulate and deliver on our commitment as an institution to oppose racial injustice and address its deleterious effects on our people and our firm. As part of our commitment, we have created the below action plan with the involvement of our board of directors, including our chairman Joe Conroy.


As a firm, Cooley will:

  • Ensure diverse representation among the board of directors and in all key firm leadership positions
  • Consider a diverse slate of candidates for all hiring and promotion decisions
  • Develop mentoring and sponsorship relationships alongside diverse talent
  • Recruit diverse talent at all levels of the organization
  • Identify, support and promote the de-biasing of core business processes, including partner compensation
  • Model inclusive leadership and allyship
  • Embark on continuing education about the experiences of groups who are underrepresented in the organization and legal industry
  • Prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion efforts across Cooley and the wider legal industry


Cooley commits to striving to achieve the following goals by January 1, 2026:

  • Increase the percentage of women in the partnership to at least 35%
  • Increase the percentage of ethnic, racial and LGBTQ+ diversity among all lawyers to at least 32%
  • Increase the percentage of ethnic, racial and LGBTQ+ diversity among all managers and directors to at least 37%


As a firm, Cooley will enact the measures set forth below:

Drive accountability and incentives

  • Assign to a partner on each leadership team the specific responsibility of DEI management within the department and practice groups to include succession planning, group management and inclusive staffing of client teams
  • Establish board liaisons to affinity groups
  • Establish annual hours requirements for attorney participation in DEI initiatives
  • Establish an annual Cooley Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Champion Award to reward and promote inclusive behaviors
  • Institute upward and peer attorney feedback programs, with reports influencing compensation
  • Include DEI metrics into firm citizenship data during the annual partner compensation process and address the use of data in individual compensation conversations
  • Require compensation feedback sessions for partners whose DEI progress falls short
  • Institute a Mansfield Rule-style initiative for business professionals hiring and promotions

Increase investment

  • Direct financial and personnel resources to a robust coaching program for high-potential lawyers throughout all stages of career development and advancement, with a focus on women and historically underrepresented individuals
  • Devote financial resources to implement all-attorney training developed by affinity groups and focused on topics they identify as important to the goals of retention and promotion of their membership
  • Mandate inclusive leadership training for all those in leadership positions and require remedial coaching where appropriate
  • Incorporate DEI components into all leadership training efforts
  • Mandate antiracism training for all partners, with initial sessions devoted to firm leadership
  • Require microaggression training for all chiefs, directors and managers
  • Expand reverse mentoring to match diverse associates with partners serving in leadership positions
  • Devote resources to bring our diverse lawyer populations together
  • Expand the diversity, equity and inclusion billable hour credit program to include all business professional timekeepers

Strengthen recruiting and integration

  • Expand our 1L Diversity Fellowship by number of positions and financial commitment
  • Launch a 2L Diversity Fellowship
  • Expand our Sponsors for Educational Opportunity partnership
  • Direct increased firm resources in an innovative way toward issues and initiatives that impact diverse populations at feeder law schools
  • Engage firm leadership in developing relationships with diverse talent earlier in their careers and more often
  • Develop a formal staffing program to better integrate and support diverse talent and to counter inequitable opportunity
  • Build a pipeline for women and historically underrepresented lateral partner and associate candidates with more proactive search, recruitment and vetting strategies
  • Design and institutionalize more thoughtful integration around diverse talent hires
  • Increase pro bono engagement, including intentional staffing of diverse individuals