Black History Month Spotlight Series: Monica Lindsay

February 22, 2024

As part of our Black History Month celebration, we’ve asked our colleagues to reflect on the significance of this month.

Cleary Gottlieb associate Monica Lindsay shares some of her thoughts below.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at Cleary.

I am a fourth year M&A associate, born and raised in the Bronx, New York, and recently relocated to Washington, D.C. I have the pleasure of being a dual citizen of two Cleary offices: D.C. where I reside and New York where I visit once a month to connect with my practice group in person. I am a proud member of Cleary’s Black Associate Group (BAG), Diverse Associate Group (DAG), and the Women Lawyer’ Advisory Committee (WLAC).

What does Black History Month mean to you?

Black History Month means a time to remember and celebrate the contributions of people from across the African diaspora to the United States. Black history is American history, and it’s important that we collectively take the time to celebrate the accomplishments, discoveries, and contributions of people from all across the African diaspora to the country we call home.

Who are some Black leaders, activists, writers/artists, or professionals who have inspired you?

I’m in inspired by so many, a list would not do them justice. I’m inspired by every Black person who’s chased after their dreams unafraid, every Black person who’s overcame a mountain of noes and a sea of doubts, and every Black person who reaches back and lifts another Black person up.

What advice would you give to young Black professionals starting their careers who look around and might not see many people like them? Is there any advice you wish someone had given you?

You are the person you’ve been looking for; we’ve been waiting for you. You’re spot in history is predestined, learn from your mistakes, keep moving forward and be kind.

When you’re underrepresented in your chosen field, why is it important to have mentors and sponsors who are invested in you and your career?

Mentors and sponsors who are invested in your career are important as they reflect a community of support in a space where there are few people who share your background or culture. Community is important, particularly for Black people who are raised in and by communities. Cleary’s Sponsorship Program accelerated my integration in the firm by creating a safe space for me to share my doubts and questions with a partner in my practice group who is personally committed to my success.

What are the benefits of joining affinity networks like the Black Affinity Group and the Black Professionals Network?

Benefits include built-in community with people who understand your multihyphenated identity and how the demands of the job challenge you beyond just the work. BAG is a home away from home and while we may not visit home every day, just knowing the community is there provides unspoken comfort and security.