Sonya Olds Som


Sonya Olds Som is a partner in Heidrick & Struggles' Chicago office focusing on executive search and consulting services. She focuses on executing searches for general counsel, chief legal officer, and other senior leadership roles within corporate legal departments and law firms across industries and geographies, as well as on executing board searches, chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer searches, and providing diversity, equity, and inclusion advisory services.


Sonya provides diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting to Heidrick & Struggles internally and to its corporate clients, helping to strengthen the organizations’ culture of DE&I by positioning it as an important 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, equity, and inclusion.

Previously, Sonya served for a decade as a labor & employment and immigration attorney at the associate and partner levels at various local, regional, and national law firms.

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. 


Cornell Law School, JD with Specialization in International Legal Affairs and Concentration in Business Law

Kalamazoo College, Bachelor's Degree in English (with Honors)


Gateway To Success Award Honoree, National Bar Association Corporate Law Section, 2022

Woman of Inspiration in the Legal Profession, Ms. JD, 2019

Presidential Award, Metropolitan Black Bar Association of New York, 2019

Presidential Award, National Bar Association, 2019

Executive of the Year, National Bar Association’s General Counsel Invitational, 2018

Ally of the Year, Hispanic National Bar Association, 2018

Lawyers of Color's Midwest Hotlist, 2014

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, 40 Illinois Attorneys Under Forty to Watch, 2007

Philanthropy and Service

An active alumna of Cornell Law School, Sonya is a member of the executive board of Cornell Law School, serves as Midwest Chapter co-chair of the Cornell Black Lawyers Alumni Network, and is an emeritus member of the President's Council of Cornell Women. Sonya is also a member of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum global advisory board.