Akin Gump Welcomes Michele Meyer-Shipp, Firm’s First Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

(New York) – Akin Gump is pleased to announce that Michele Meyer-Shipp has joined the firm as its first chief diversity and inclusion officer, resident in its New York office. Ms. Meyer-Shipp joins the firm from Prudential Financial Inc., where she had served since 2012 as vice president and chief diversity officer. During her tenure at Prudential, the organization was consistently recognized by DiversityInc as among the “Top 50 Companies for Diversity,” including multiple appearances in the top 10.

At Akin Gump, Ms. Meyer-Shipp will guide all diversity programs and initiatives across the firm, ensuring that Akin Gump’s foundational principles of inclusiveness and diversity are reflected in the firm’s internal and external policies, work and practices.

Ms. Meyer-Shipp’s arrival follows Akin Gump’s recent recognition by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association as the 2017 Thomas L. Sager Award honoree (learn more here). The Sager Award is presented annually to a large law firm that demonstrates “sustained commitment to improving the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys.” This was the fifth time the firm has received this honor since the award’s launch in 1999.

“Diversity has been a cornerstone of Akin Gump since our founding more than 70 years ago,” stated firm chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “While I am proud of how far we have come as a firm and an industry in fostering a more diverse environment, much work remains. Michele brings a stellar track record of accomplishment in the corporate environment, and I look forward to the leadership and guidance she will provide in helping to make Akin Gump a more inclusive place for all.”

Added Ms. Meyer-Shipp, “Akin Gump has a well-established record as a leader in diversity. I’m thrilled with the opportunity to join the firm and expand on efforts to ensure that Akin Gump remains a destination for a diverse workforce, a firm that recruits and retains talented lawyers and staff of all backgrounds, and a place where all have the opportunity to excel.”

About Michele Meyer-Shipp

As vice president and chief diversity officer at Prudential Financial Inc., Ms. Meyer-Shipp was responsible for leading and supporting all diversity and inclusion efforts for the company and for ensuring ongoing compliance with federal and state equal employment opportunity/affirmative action laws.

Ms. Meyer-Shipp has also served as general counsel of the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, as employment counsel and lead of diversity and inclusion efforts in the Global Wealth Management business at Merrill Lynch and as director of New Jersey’s Division of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action. She has also worked in private practice.

Ms. Meyer-Shipp has served on the boards of GLSEN, Inc. (The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), Women Presidents’ Organization and the American Conference on Diversity and continues to serve on the board of the National Organization on Disability.  She is an active member of several professional associations and recently completed her tenure as co-chair of the Asia Society Global Talent and Diversity Council.

In 2017, Ms. Meyer-Shipp was honored with the Winds of Change Award in the individual category by The Forum on Workplace Inclusion and has been recognized by Seton Hall Law School for her work in advancing diversity in the New Jersey legal community.

Among other recognitions, Ms. Meyer-Shipp was selected by Black Enterprise as one of the Top Executives in Corporate Diversity for three consecutive years; was named among the "Diverse Attorneys of the Year” by the New Jersey Law Journal; received the Oliver Randolph Award from the Garden State Bar Association; and was the recipient of the New Jersey Women Lawyers Association’s Women’s Initiative and Leaders in Law (WILL) Platinum Award for the Corporate Sector. In 2016, Ms. Meyer-Shipp was inducted into the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame.

Founded in 1945, 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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