Cleary Celebrates Women’s History Month With Deborah Archer

March 28, 2024

Cleary Gottlieb hosted its Women’s History Month celebration, Inspired to Resist: Leading the Fight to Overcome Gender Bias, featuring Deborah Archer, president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Managing Partner Michael Gerstenzang delivered welcome remarks and diversity, equity, and inclusion manager Robert Ford hosted a Q&A following the keynote address.

Deborah discussed her life and career as a civil rights advocate. The daughter of Jamaican immigrants and raised in Windsor, Connecticut, she earned a B.A. in government from Smith College in 1993 and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where she was awarded the Charles G. Albom Prize. She was formerly an attorney with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the ACLU, where she litigated in the areas of voting rights, employment discrimination, and school desegregation.

“Doing nothing is just not an option,” Deborah said. “And when you decide that you do want to challenge the harms and if you decide that you are ready to challenge systemic change, there are two questions that you have to ask: What are you prepared to help dismantle, and what are you prepared to help build? We know that if you want to see real durable change toward gender equity, it’s not enough to just invest in women. Instead, you have to also actively work to tear down the barriers to women’s access, leadership, and success.”

As the eighth president of the ACLU, Deborah is the first Black woman and the first person of color to lead the ACLU in this role. In addition, Deborah is the Margaret B. Hoppin Professor of Clinical Law at the New York University School of Law and faculty director of the law school’s Community Equity Lab.

Cleary is committed to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion. The firm regularly hosts important cultural events and guest speakers whose presentations afford opportunities to broaden awareness, heighten the level of discussion, and establish a culture of inclusion at the firm. To learn more about Cleary’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, click here.