Akin Gump Welcomes Largest-Ever Classes of Strauss Diversity & Inclusion and Pro Bono Scholars

23 law students join firm this summer through firm’s signature pipeline programs

Akin Gump is pleased to announce that a total of 23 top law students have joined the firm this summer via its two marquee pipeline scholarship programs: the Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars program and the Pro Bono Scholars program. Both programs will comprise a full 10 weeks.

Commenting on the Scholars programs, Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith stated, “These talented law students represent the future of our firm and the legal industry. They each bring different backgrounds, passions and experiences to our firm, and all have demonstrated a strong track record of success and a desire to cultivate the skills that will allow them to be successful in their future legal careers. I am excited to welcome all of our scholars to Akin Gump and look forward to providing them with an exciting, meaningful summer experience.”

Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars

The 2021 class of Akin Gump/Robert Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship recipients consists of 12 scholars, the most in the program’s seven-year history, and includes the firm’s inaugural Financial Restructuring Diversity & Inclusion Scholar. The scholars will join the firm in its five largest U.S. offices—New York, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles.

In addition to working directly with Akin Gump lawyers on client matters, scholars will have the opportunity to be involved in firm diversity and inclusion initiatives during the summer and to build relationships with members of firm resource affinity groups. Scholars will also receive mentoring and participate in the firm’s Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholar Summit, which will include networking and professional development opportunities.

The most innovative aspect of the program is the partnership with valued firm clients. Scholars will have the opportunity to work directly with a client for four weeks over the summer, in addition to six weeks at the firm working on legal matters. 2021 client partners include: Angelo Gordon, Apollo, Atalaya, Carrier, CenterPoint Energy, Citigroup, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, Facebook, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Raytheon/RTX, SpaceX, Volkswagen and Yum! Brands. At the end of the summer, the scholars will receive an offer to join the firm’s second-year summer associate program in 2022, and upon completion of the program, scholars will receive a $25,000 scholarship to help offset law school expenses.

The 12 Diversity & Inclusion Scholars, their resident Akin Gump offices and their law schools are as follows:

Scholar Name

Akin Gump Office

Law School

Arielle Amegashie

Washington

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law

Brandon Brown

Washington

Georgetown University Law Center

Brea A. Childs

New York

Boston University School of Law

Melissa Anna Dzenis-Garcia*

New York

Fordham University School of Law

Cameron Ervin

Dallas

Duke University School of Law

Jingyi (Katherine) Hu

New York

Harvard Law School

Olive Lee

Washington

The George Washington University Law School

Erin Magoffie

Houston

University of Virginia School of Law

Harutyun Margaryan

Los Angeles

USC Gould School of Law

Kady Matsuzaki

New York

University of Michigan Law School

Melissa McCafferty

Washington

Georgetown University Law Center

Cyrus Oveissi

New York

University of Virginia School of Law


* Financial Restructuring Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholar

Commenting on this year’s Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars class, Akin Gump firmwide hiring partner David Botter said, “We are thrilled to welcome these 12 exceptional scholars to the firm and look forward to giving them the opportunity to gain unique, firsthand experience in the practice of law— both from Akin Gump’s perspective as well as from that of some of our most-valued clients. Akin Gump is fully committed to recruiting diverse talent into the firm through innovative efforts such as our Scholars program, and we are proud to be able to offer this year’s class what will surely be a fulfilling and rewarding experience.”

Founded in 2014 and named for Akin Gump co-founder Robert Strauss, the scholarship program continues his vision for, and pursuit of, racial, ethnic, gender, economic and cultural diversity by bringing top law students to the firm to gain important substantive experience and have a voice in the firm’s diversity and inclusion strategy and initiatives.

Pro Bono Scholars

The firm is also pleased to welcome 11 scholars to its 2021 class of Pro Bono Scholars. This is the 14th year of the program, which provides top first-year law students the opportunity to develop early and significant experience in pro bono work and public interest law. The scholars acquire skills during this standout two-year program enabling them to build a foundation for a holistic legal practice that will serve them throughout their careers.

This year’s scholar class will join in the same five U.S. offices as the Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholars, as well as London. The U.S. Pro Bono Scholars will spend the first four weeks of the program at Akin Gump working on pro bono matters, receiving substantive assignments, and training in areas in which the firm focuses its pro bono practice, including asylum, civil rights and prisoner rights. The scholars will then spend at least six weeks at a public interest organization of their choosing. London-based Pro Bono Scholars are current and future trainee solicitors who are selected based on their commitment to the London office’s pro bono practice.

Akin Gump pro bono partner Steven Schulman said, “This past year has been extraordinary and has highlighted the critical need of so many individuals and institutions for effective pro bono counsel. Despite joining us at a challenging time, our 2021 Pro Bono Scholars class will get unparalleled opportunities to provide meaningful help to those who need it, while developing their legal skills in a real-world environment. I am very excited to welcome this year’s class of scholars to Akin Gump.”

Since its launch, the program has sponsored 112 U.S. Pro Bono Scholars at 105 organizations across the globe. More than 40 former Pro Bono Scholars are now associates or counsel at Akin Gump, with dozens more still in law school.

The 11 Pro Bono Scholars, their resident Akin Gump office, their law schools and the public interest organization where they will be placed are as follows:

Scholar Name

Akin Gump Office

Law School

Public Interest Org.

Jasmine Alexander

London

Univ. of Law, London (LPC)

N/A

Abdiel Caballero

New York

New York University School of Law

Catholic Charities NY

Sharim Estevez

New York

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

LatinoJustice

Kiera Galloway

Houston

Tulane University Law School

Houston Volunteer Lawyers

McKenna Gilliland

Dallas

University of Chicago

KIPP Foundation

Flora Morgan

Los Angeles

University of California, Berkeley School of Law

Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights

Keegan Pace

Washington

University of North Carolina School of Law

DC & SC Appleseed Centers

Olivia Satterfield

Washington

Howard University School of Law

Oceana

Sharanya Sriram

Washington

University of Texas School of Law

USAID

Lulu Ward

New York

Georgetown University Law Center

HerJustice

Julie Zhu

New York

New York University School of Law

Legal Services NYC

 

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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