Squire Patton Boggs makes twin hire as part of Diversity Lab’s OnRamp fellowship programme

Initiative is designed to help 200 women lawyers return to the profession by 2025

Squire Patton Boggs has hired two female associates as part of the Diversity Lab’s OnRamp 200 Fellowship initiative to restart the careers of women lawyers who have taken extended breaks from the profession.

The duo are Ayana Partee and Chrystie Swiney, who join the firm’s public and infrastructure finance practice in New York and Washington DC respectively. 

The Diversity Lab programme aims to help 200 female lawyers return to the industry by 2025 who are finding it challenging to get hired due to gaps in their career history. Squire Patton Boggs was one of roughly 35 firms and legal departments who signed up to the OnRamp initiative last year, which provides one-year paid fellowships for returning lawyers. 

It comes as more than a third of women (37%) said they were thinking about quitting the legal profession during the pandemic, according to an American Bar Association study published last year. Another 35% said they were considering going part-time, in most cases to look after young children.

Returner of the Year is one of the categories in the inaugural Women and Diversity in Law Awards, which are hosted by The Global Legal Post. Click here for more details about the awards and information on how to make a nomination

Michele Connell, Squire’s global managing partner and who spearheaded the firm’s involvement with the OnRamp programme, said: “Re-engaging talented women practitioners who have taken time away from the profession is an important way to increase representation across the legal industry and aligns with our firm’s long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

Partee brings with her experience in public offerings, public/private partnerships and infrastructure projects including transportation, airports and water, sewer and electrical systems. Before starting her own independent firm in 2010, she was an associate at Denver-based law firm Bookhardt & O’Toole.

Swiney has spent much of her legal career in the NGO sector. She started out as a legal adviser for the Department of State, working at the US Embassy in Baghdad where she helped develop Iraqi legislation on a range of issues including non-profit law. She was also a legal adviser at the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, the Constitution Project and most recently, the Global Health Advocacy Incubator. 

Bob Labes, group leader of the public and infrastructure finance practice group, said: “[Partee and Swiney] are experienced attorneys with tremendous capability. Their expertise and life experiences crosses multiple sectors and adds depth to the level of expertise provided to our diverse client base.”

This week, Eight US law firms including Reed Smith and Morgan Lewis and thirteen individual practice groups were named ‘inclusion champions’ by Diversity Lab for their commitment to improving diversity, equity and inclusion within their ranks in 2022. 

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