LEADERS Women Leaders
Nikki Lewis Simon, Greenberg Traurig

Nikki Lewis Simon

Women Attorney Leaders at Greenberg Traurig Discuss Their Formula for Moving the Needle

Editors’ Note

Nikki Lewis Simon, a commercial litigator with more than 21 years of experience, primarily serves as the firm’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. In this capacity, she designs and guides strategic initiatives and programs to deepen firm-wide diversity and inclusion efforts that further enrich client engagements and community investments. Her role is indicative of, and integral to, Greenberg Traurig’s core values of collaboration and inclusion – principles that inform the firm’s operations and legal business in meaningful, positive ways.

Firm Brief

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has approximately 2,300 attorneys in 40 locations in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT (gtlaw.com) has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the U.S. on the Law360 400 and among the top 25 firms on the Am Law Global 100. The firm is net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage and is Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certified Plus.

Allies and sponsors are the key to making a real-life impact on the careers of women and diverse individuals and a true impact on the ability of a law firm to move the needle forward on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

My route was an unexpected one. Becoming a shareholder was important to me, and I was the first lawyer in my family. Therefore, many of the situations in which I found myself were very new and unique to me. Without mentors and sponsors, my path would have been that much more complicated and difficult.

The lines between a mentor and a sponsor are often blurred. A sponsor takes a highly active role in your career from a holistic point of view. The sponsor usually has a position that can truly be the difference regarding your access to have that “seat at the table.” Mentors are amazing, and they are role models and have a major place for minorities in the workplace. Sponsors are direct and intentional.

An institutional program of sponsorship or allyship requires a team approach and must permeate every element of the organization, from recruitment, to hiring, to integration, to training and advancement.

Implementing this type of program on a large scale can be a challenge. Sponsorships are normally very personal relationships. However, when a firm establishes actionable and measurable initiatives to create a sanctioned system for sponsorship, these grow as does overall support for the professional development of diverse attorneys and women.

Sponsorships not only help individuals; they also create a stronger firm and corporate environment. The professionals who have access to this have influence and will soon in turn serve as mentors, sponsors, and allies to new employees, galvanizing the fabric of the organization. Sponsorships are good for people, firms and, ultimately, clients who benefit from an increasingly diverse team with diverse experiences and points of view.