Sonya Olds Som


Office Location: Chicago

Phone: 1 312 496 1378

Sonya Olds Som is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles' Chicago office focusing on executive search and consulting services. She focuses on general counsel/chief legal officer and other senior roles within corporate legal departments and law firms across industries and geographies, as well as on executing board searches and providing diversity advisory services. Sonya provides diversity and inclusion consulting to Heidrick & Struggles internally and to its corporate clients, helping to strengthen the organizations’ culture of diversity and inclusion by positioning it as an integral component of the business.

Before joining Heidrick & Struggles, Sonya was a partner at another global executive search firm. For nearly a decade, she was integrally involved with various areas of recruiting within the legal field including advising organizations on their legal recruiting needs with emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Previously, Sonya served for a decade as a labor & employment and immigration attorney at the associate and partner levels at various national, regional, and super regional law firms. During this time, in 2007, Sonya was named one of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin's "40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch."

In 2019, the organization Ms. JD recognized Sonya as a Woman of Inspiration in the Legal Profession and the Metropolitan Black Bar Association of New York honored her with its Presidential Award. In 2018, the National Bar Association’s General Counsel Invitational named Sonya its “Executive of the Year” and the Hispanic National Bar Association presented her with its “Ally of the Year” award. In 2014, Sonya was included on Lawyers of Color's Midwest Hotlist.

Sonya is licensed to practice law in Illinois and Georgia (though she is currently in inactive status in both states). She is a member of the American Bar Association, Chicago Bar Association, Illinois State Bar Association, Black Women Lawyers Association of Greater Chicago, National Bar Association, Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network (Midwest Chapter Co-Chair), Hispanic National Bar Association, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and Metropolitan Black Bar Association of New York. Sonya is a member of the WILEF Global Advisory Board and the Advisory Board of HIGH PERFORMANCE COUNSEL (HPC). She is also an Emeritus member of the President's Council of Cornell Women.


Sonya earned her JD with a specialization in international legal affairs and concentration in business law from Cornell Law School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with honors from Kalamazoo College.