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Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program

Building on the legacy of founding partner Robert Strauss, we have long prioritized a diverse workforce as vital to outstanding client service. To further our diversity and inclusion efforts, we offer this opportunity to spend six weeks with the firm working on legal matters, followed by four weeks at a firm client—all while being involved in the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Opportunities are available in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.


We’ll partner you with one of our major clients, where you’ll gain in-house experience while receiving training and mentoring. We’ll guide you in advance of your secondment-style assignment and organize a meet-and-greet with your client supervisor. This program is a great way to build relationships and get insight into the client’s perspective.

At the Firm

You’ll receive a broad range of commercial assignments and participate in skills-based training while also engaging in our diversity and inclusion initiatives. These include office inclusion council meetings, firm resource (affinity) groups and recruitment efforts. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars also participate in a Summit where former and current Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars come together for a day of networking and learning.

Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars make a two-year commitment and return as 2L summer associates, eliminating the need to participate in on-campus interviews. During your second summer, you’ll continue to work on varied assignments and continue to participate in diversity and inclusion efforts. You may be considered for an offer of employment in one of our commercial practices following law school graduation.


Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars are paid the summer associate salary during their ten weeks and are eligible to receive a scholarship of $25,000. The first half of the scholarship ($12,500) is paid upon honoring your commitment to return to the firm as a 2L summer associate. The second half of the scholarship ($12,500) is paid upon your commitment to return to the firm as a first year associate following law school graduation. Applicants may not be the recipient of a similar diversity award from another law firm.

“The Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program was invaluable to me as a law student, providing me with resources and experiences integral to my development as a young lawyer. The program, and the community of past awardees, demonstrated the firm’s commitment to diversity.” — Miles Taylor, Financial Restructuring associate, Washington, D.C.

Apply here.

Pro Bono and Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars Program Applications

Apply to the Scholars Programs here. You may apply to both programs, but only to one office. If you are unsure about which office to choose, please contact our recruiting team for additional guidance. Please submit your application according to the timing guidelines set by your school.

Offers will not be extended to candidates before the firm has received an applicant’s transcript.

Your complete application will include a resume, law school transcript (an uncertified copy is acceptable) and legal writing sample. You may supplement your application with your transcript once it is provided by your school. In addition, each candidate must submit a short statement of no more than 500 words using the prompts below.

To be considered for the Pro Bono Scholars Program, please describe how a commitment to pro bono practice at Akin Gump, and the experience of being a Pro Bono Scholar, will help you meet your career goals.

To be considered for the Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program, please describe your commitment to diversity and inclusion, your academic and leadership achievements, why you believe that diversity and inclusion are important in the legal profession, and how being a Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholar will help you meet your career goals.

To be considered for both Scholar Programs, you must submit an individual statement for each program with your application.


Applicants must be enrolled and in good standing at an ABA accredited law school, and have an anticipated graduation date of 2022.


If you have questions about our 1L Summer Opportunities, please review our FAQs, or contact our recruiting teams.

Heeding the Call: Our Commitment to Racial Justice

A message from Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr.

"An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future." Ta-Nehisi Coates

From the voices of two generations of moral leadership, Akin Gump heeds the call. We cannot remain silent, and we cannot look away. And we cannot accept the sad reality that too little has changed for too long.

We start by acknowledging and recognizing the most basic reality that systemic racism is a blight on our country and around the world. It has caused too much death, indignity and injustice to be allowed to fester as it has without sufficient challenge. We must commit to addressing racism and the deep wounds it has inflicted on our nation. And in making that commitment, we must combine immediate steps with a sustained, intense relentlessness of purpose.

Our commitment to justice, antiracism, humanity and diversity has been a core principle since the founding of our firm 75 years ago. It continues to guide us to this day. But it is also time to reimagine what we can do to effect change in our communities and what we can do with the special responsibilities and privileges we hold as part of the legal profession.

As a part of this commitment, we are making a $200,000 financial contribution, split between the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Equal Justice Initiative. LDF has been at the forefront of some of the most important legal battles for justice and equality in our nation's history, and we are proud of our long-standing partnership. EJI has also been transformative in challenging racial and economic injustice in our country and in effecting meaningful, beneficial change for the citizens of our country. These financial contributions are a continuation, not the conclusion, of our efforts.

We will engage in dialogue, seek to educate and raise a call to action in our own firm. Leadership requires that we look inward as well as outward. We will listen, we will become smarter and we will act. We will take our long history of pro bono representation and ensure that we are using the talent and passion of our firm to directly address racial injustice. And we will seek to join forces with those who share our commitment—other members of the legal community; advocacy, professional and other allied organizations; and our clients—to maximize our impact.

In everything we do, we are inspired and guided by the life and deeds of our partner Vernon Jordan, a fighter against injustice for his entire life. Many of us have had the honor of discussing firsthand with Vernon his experiences battling to integrate public colleges and universities in the 1960s and his later tenure as the Georgia field director of the NAACP. In these times of profound reflection, we recognize that progress is not enough, and there is much work to be done. As Vernon has said, "We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give." It is time for everyone to find a way to give.

This moment is one for profound sadness and necessary action. It is worth reflecting on the words of Dr. King: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But that doesn't happen by itself, and we cannot rely on destiny alone to determine which way the arc bends. We recognize Dr. King's "fierce urgency of now," and, as a firm, we will be doing everything we can to be part of bending that arc toward justice.


Kim Koopersmith

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