Akin Gump Partners with Clients to Expand Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program

Washington, D.C –Akin Gump is pleased to announce the expansion of its Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship program, the innovative initiative launched by the firm in 2014 to further its commitment to the recruitment, development and advancement of diverse attorneys at the firm.

The Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship program provides legal experience for outstanding students at U.S. law schools, as well as a $25,000 scholarship to help offset their law school expenses. Scholarships are awarded to students who show a commitment to diversity in the legal profession, demonstrate academic excellence and bring diverse viewpoints and experiences to the firm.

In the expansion announced today, the firm will partner with clients in five of its largest U.S. offices—Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.—to provide scholars with the opportunity to work onsite at a client location for at least four weeks over the summer, in addition to six weeks at the firm working on legal matters. Additionally, the program is now focused on students in their first year of law school. Previously, scholars were second-year law students.

In addition to the first-year legal experience and financial award, scholars also receive offers to join the firm’s second-year summer associate program. Scholars will also participate in a summit with current and former scholars and firm leaders where they will attend programs focused on professional development and advancing diversity and inclusion, as well as have opportunities to network with firm lawyers.

“We recognize that cultivating a diverse workforce requires sustained effort, and the Strauss Scholarship is among the important ways we ensure that we are developing a pipeline of exceptional, diverse talent into the firm,” stated Akin Gump firmwide hiring partner David Botter. “We are thrilled to expand the program to allow scholars the opportunity not only to gain direct experience working at a law firm, but also to be able to work onsite with a client. This provides invaluable experience and a 360-degree perspective of the practice of law.”

Added Miles Taylor, a financial restructuring associate in Akin Gump’s D.C. office who was also a Strauss Scholar at the firm, “The Strauss Scholarship was invaluable to me as a law student, providing me with resources and experiences integral to my development as a young lawyer. The Strauss Scholarship, and the community of past awardees, demonstrated the firm’s commitment to diversity, which was a significant factor for me in deciding to join Akin Gump.”

Participating clients include AT&T, CenterPoint Energy, the Gila River Indian Community, Morgan Stanley, Textron Inc. and Trinity Industries.

The 2019 scholars class (and their office locations and law schools) include:

• Naneka Bakare (Washington, D.C., Harvard Law School)
• Jamila Cambridge (Washington, D.C., Howard University School of Law)
• Marissa Etter (Houston, Tulane Law School)
• Melquiades Fernandez (New York, University of Michigan Law School)
• Jasmine Isokpunwu (New York; Howard University School of Law)
• Kimia Jalalipour (Houston, University of Houston Law Center)
• Min soo Kim (Los Angeles, The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law)
• Tyler Lattimore (Dallas, University of Texas School of Law)
• Dallas Lopez (Washington, D.C., The University of California, Berkeley, School of Law)
• Nick O'Connor (New York, Georgetown University Law Center)