Q&A: Tom Sabatino, Thomas A. Mars Award

The executive vice president and general counsel of Walgreens puts his belief in diversity into action

Read profiles of all the winners here.

Age: 53

Q: What have you done to promote women lawyers and diversity in the legal profession?

A: One thing is making sure that you put people in the right places to be successful. I’ve known a lot of very strong, capable lawyers in my career. My job is to open doors and put them in the place to succeed. I strive to give women lawyers and lawyers of color visibility and assignments that allow them to demonstrate their talents to the organization as leaders and lawyers. At Schering-Plough, when I joined there were virtually no women and no lawyers of color in the senior leadership of the law department. By the time we finished the merger with Merck, more than half of the leaders were women and people of color. We both recruited new people and developed key talent from within—people who had not been noticed because they looked different. We made a conscious effort, and it was successful. We went from 25 percent women to more than half in our law department. We recruited from a diverse slate of candidates. I also insist that outside counsel have a diverse group of lawyers working on our matters. I don’t care about the statistics of the firm; I care about who is working on my matters.

Adele Nicholas

Bio and more articles

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.