Akin Gump Announces Vernon E. Jordan Fellowship with Howard University School of Law, $1 Million Donation for Jordan Law Library

Howard University School of Law announced the renaming of its law library in honor of the late civil rights icon and longtime Akin Gump partner in March 2021

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump announced today the launch of the Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Fellowship, named in honor of the late longtime Akin Gump partner, Howard University School of Law alumnus and civil rights icon. The firm will partner with Howard to offer a paid internship for two third-year Howard law students—one in the fall semester, and one in the spring—to work with the firm’s public law and policy practice in Washington.

The firm also announced that it had made a commitment to donate $1 million in support of the Howard School of Law’s Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Law Library. The university announced the renaming of its law library in honor of Mr. Jordan in March 2021, following his passing on March 1. Akin Gump’s donation will provide substantial support for preserving the rich collection and innovating the library for future generations of scholars.

Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith commented, “Vernon Jordan left behind a rich and unequaled legacy of service and mentorship. Through his life’s work and boundless generosity, he touched the lives of so many, and I consider myself so fortunate to have called him my mentor and friend. Through this fellowship and donation, we proudly support the Howard University School of Law’s efforts to carry forward Vernon’s tremendous legacy and ensure that his vision, commitment and sense of purpose will live on in the many students and future leaders who will pass through its doors.”

Added Tony Pierce, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Washington, D.C. office, “Throughout his career, Vernon held a unique place at the nexus of the law, business and politics—and he did so while paving the way for me and so many others to follow in his footsteps and achieve success. I cannot think of a better way to honor his remarkable legacy than by the establishment of this fellowship and this donation that will help support and nurture future generations of leaders.”

Following his graduation from Howard School of Law, Mr. Jordan served as executive director of the United Negro College Fund and as president of the National Urban League before joining Akin Gump in 1981, where he remained until his passing. Throughout his career, he served as a trusted advisor to presidents, governments and CEOs and was recognized as a towering figure in both the civil rights arena and corporate America.

Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University, commented, “Despite Vernon Jordan’s singular influence and his vast individual capabilities, he recognized that the pursuit of one’s personal mission requires external support. Throughout his life, he was a humble recipient of help, especially as he so often worked behind the scenes on important projects, and he was always willing to lend a helping hand. No matter how high he climbed, he would always reach back to pull others forward. We could not be more pleased to partner with Akin Gump through the Vernon E. Jordan Fellowship, and we are deeply appreciative of the firm’s generous donation to our law library. Through these actions, Akin Gump is helping preserve Vernon’s legacy of service and commitment to lifting up those around him.”

Vickee Jordan Adams, daughter of Vernon Jordan, agreed, “A fellowship in my father’s honor at Howard University School of Law, sponsored by Akin Gump, brings his love of the law and his work for economic equality together to benefit any number of current and future Howard law students. I speak for my stepmother, Ann, and our entire family when I say that we are proud to see this donation and commitment to aspiring professionals. My father took great pride in mentoring and supporting future generations, and I know he would be very pleased to see Howard University and Akin Gump— two institutions about which he cared deeply—following his lead with the Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Fellowship and donation.”

The Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Law Library’s mission is to excel in service by strengthening the Howard University School of Law community’s legal, research and educational goals through innovative programming, practice-oriented instruction and a collection across traditional and evolving formats. More information about the library may be found here.

The Vernon E. Jordan Fellowship is one of several talent recruitment programs hosted by Akin Gump. These include the Akin Gump/Robert S. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program, which brings promising law students to the firm to gain important substantive experience. This year, the firm welcomed its largest-ever class of Strauss Scholars. (Learn more here.)

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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