By TIM Initiative • November 19, 2014•Ms. JD, Conference
Ms. JD is launching The Incredible Men (TIM) Initiative this month to celebrate men who are active champions for women’s advancement in the legal profession. These men not only value equality and diversity in the profession, but earnestly and enthusiastically support women and women’s initiatives.
Because of his dedication to diversity in the profession, Ms. JD is honored to feature Bob Sims. We asked Bob to share some personal thoughts on the advancement of women in our profession. Here's what he had to say:
The year was 1981. I was the quarterback of my college dorm’s intramural co-ed flag football team. It was the last play of the championship game. My team was down by six points, 60 yards away from the end zone. I took the snap from center and ran to my left. A surprise running play? No. I stopped and looked downfield to my right. There, thirty yards away, running all by herself down the right sideline, was one of the terrific women athletes we had on our team. She was running all alone because our opponents assumed that we would never throw the ball to a woman on the last play of the championship game. That assumption was woefully incorrect. I threw the ball about as far as I could. My teammate ran under it, caught it, and raced into the end zone. One touchdown dance and two-point conversion later, we were league champions.
In addition to reminding me how remarkably old I have gotten, my intramural championship experience accurately reflects my beliefs about major law firms today. Firms that recruit, train, promote and, most importantly, rely on the many talented women who come into this profession every year will win. Firms that cling to stereotypes and outdated notions about the roles of men and women in law firms are ultimately going to lose. They may have a successful quarter or two, but they are not going to win the game in the long run.
To carry my flag football analogy one step farther (note to my daughter: play intramural sports in college; the analogies can last a lifetime), I very much look forward to the day that my talented female teammates are not running by themselves at the end of the game. That will be the day every team recognizes that you have to compete using all of your players. And you can safely assume that your competitors will do the same.
Bob Sims is a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP. He is an experienced trial lawyer who has represented businesses and individuals in numerous criminal and civil proceedings around the country. His practice focuses on white collar criminal defense, complex civil litigation, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance and investigations, export controls and sanctions, and internal corporate investigations. He is a member of Latham's Associates Committee and its Diversity Leadership Committee. Click here to learn more about This Incredible Man.