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Toby Eveland of Saul Ewing LLP: Cultivating Inclusion for Inspired Innovators



Toby Eveland

Chicago Managing Partner

Saul Ewing LLP


Toby Eveland, Chicago Managing Partner at law firm Saul Ewing LLP, is cultivating inclusion among a team of inspired innovators. Read on to learn about how a law firm with a rich legacy is connecting with Chicagoland workforce partners to build a diverse team of attorneys and business professionals.




Tell us about your current role and company.


I am the Chicago Managing Partner at Saul Ewing LLP. Operating for over 100 years, we are a full-service national law firm. Our attorneys and professional staff collaborate to provide innovative, out-of-the-box solutions that are always tailored to meet our clients’ specific needs.

I am a first generation college graduate. The thought of attending law school was completely foreign, and my parents were not in a financial position to support me. I didn't let that deter me. Instead, I developed the superpowers of perseverance, willpower, and determination.

What was your very first job, and what age were you when you started working?


My very first job was at a small automotive and used tire center that my mother managed in Huntsville, Alabama. At 12 years old, I started working with her, performing odd jobs and helping the men who worked there. This was a very inspiring and meaningful experience for me, because it was evident that although my mother worked in a male-dominated environment, she wasn’t intimidated by it.


What obstacles have you had to overcome in your career?


While people often think of them as obstacles, I’ve come to see the difficult experiences that I’ve had as sources of power that have fueled my progress and success. I am a first generation college graduate. The thought of attending law school was completely foreign, and my parents were not in a financial position to support me. I didn't let that deter me. Instead, I developed the superpowers of perseverance, willpower, and determination.

This is my law home. I can't predict what my future in the legal profession will look like, but I know that I cannot imagine working in a different law firm - and that is truly a testament to the culture that we’ve built here.

Additionally, I'm a part of the LGBTQ+ community. I remember debating 20 years ago whether I would put anything on my resume to reflect it. That dilemma ultimately led to my becoming a social justice warrior and civic advocate, honing valuable skills like grit, empathy, and connection.


Tell me why we'd like to work at Saul Ewing. What makes it special or unique?



I imagine every law firm likes to talk about its unique culture, but I really think we have formed a special place to work. At Saul Ewing, we are intentional about making sure we have a human connection that is felt throughout the organization and across our offices. We actually get to know each other.

In order to provide the best legal advice that we can to our clients, we must have a diverse workforce. That means that we must recruit, retain, and ultimately advance diverse talent.

Last year, we went through a collaborative rebranding process that culminated with the creation of our new tagline, which genuinely captures who we are and what we do: Inspired people, inspiring trust. This is my law home. I can't predict what my future in the legal profession will look like, but I know that I cannot imagine working in a different law firm - and that is truly a testament to the culture that we’ve built here.


Why is it important for you to source diverse talent?


In order to provide the best legal advice that we can to our clients, we must have a diverse workforce. That means that we must recruit, retain, and ultimately advance diverse talent.


Our commitment to our values can be seen throughout the organization. I am the first LGBTQ+ person to be the Chicago Managing Partner. Additionally, last January, two persons of color were elected by the partnership to the firm’s seven-person executive committee. Recently, two additional seats opened up, and they were filled by two women, further diversifying our leadership team.


What strategies do you use to build a diverse workforce?


Our workforce is comprised of approximately 375 attorneys, and we also have approximately 375 additional business professionals on our team. We are seeking diverse candidate pools for all roles, from marketing to cyber security to risk management and beyond. We have found great success with recruiting diverse young talent by offering internships or summer associate opportunities for second-year law students. We’ve also intentionally partnered with several organizations that specifically service underrepresented communities.


What partners do you work with to source talent?


For attorneys, we’ve partnered with the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP), a non-profit that aims to rectify the continued decline of underrepresented women of color in the legal profession.


For our office services, hospitality, and administration roles, we’ve partnered with NextGroup, a women-owned staffing agency that supports women and non-binary job seekers in finding employment. They’ve been outstanding! We have also recently started a new partnership with Cara Collective, which will support us with candidates in these areas as well.


If someone is successful in an entry level role, how can they progress in their career?


We’ve seen people join the firm as an intern or in an entry-level office services role, progress through the organization, and become a Practice Assistant or a Paralegal. We also have attorneys who started with the firm as Practice Assistants or Paralegals.


How, if at all, do you believe Chicagoland employers should contribute to addressing poverty and inequality in Chicago neighborhoods?


We all have these businesses because of our access to shared resources. Whether it's our judicial and civic system, CTA, or the roads that we all share, all of us are operating based on the benefits of citizenship in Illinois and elsewhere. This is true for our firm and for all employers. If we lose sight of that, then entities, agencies, and firms are really doing a disservice to their communities and constituents.


I take the notion of corporate social responsibility very seriously. I'm fortunate to be aligned with a firm that does too. Like many of our peer law firms, following the pandemic, we did not see a drop off in revenue and profit. We actually saw an increase. Because of that, we intentionally increased our support for those who are experiencing hardship, focusing on food scarcity and hunger. For the past three years, our firm has asked our 16 offices to select an agency that they want to partner with to make a meaningful year-end contribution.


Why is this work important to you personally?


I'm a big believer in this: To whom much is given, much is expected. Regardless of how we ended up working for this law firm, we have all been given a great opportunity, and it's incumbent upon us to make sure that the next generation continues to get to experience new opportunities like we did.



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