Creating A Place In Big Law For Veterans To Thrive
Financial Services attorney Daniel Sylvester spoke with Law360 about unique challenges military veterans often face as attorneys in a law firm setting, from transitioning their skills to a new environment to potentially grappling with disabilities as a result of their service. As an army veteran, Mr. Sylvester knows firsthand how veterans' experiences may depart from those of other law school graduates as they enter the world of Big Law. He leads the firm's veterans affinity group, which has launched a veteran business partner initiative to help veterans succeed in honing their business development skills and, ultimately, improving their chances of making partner. Among other things, the affinity group aims to make connections in the veteran community and act as a resource and a supportive infrastructure for veterans who either have a physical disability or post-traumatic stress disorder. Another major initiative for the group was putting together a task force to create a revised policy inside the firm regarding things like pay and benefits for attorneys who are called to serve in the National Guard while they are employed by the firm.
"From my perspective, we [as veterans] have a lot to offer an organization with our experience and the skills that we bring," said Mr. Sylvester. "But there are certain needs that veterans have, so you want to make sure they are taken care of like any other affinity group out there. A veterans group in a firm or company is able to provide those veterans support not only through internal company policy initiatives, but also can serve as a peer support group due to their common military or wartime experiences. This allows veterans to provide each other support in a way nonveterans cannot as only a veteran can understand what another veteran has experienced in combat."