Allison Binney Honored with ‘Native American Indigenous Leadership’ Recognition

(Washington, D.C.) – Akin Gump public law and policy partner Allison Binney has been selected as a recipient of Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 2022 Native American Indigenous Leadership Award.

The award recognizes and celebrates the talents, hard work and impressive achievements of Native American/Indigenous leaders.

For the profile published in tandem with her recognition, Ms. Binney contributed a personal reflection titled “It All Began with a Muffin and a Cup of Coffee.” In it, she speaks about growing up poor in her tribal community and how, seeing a man come out of the local bakery every day with a muffin and a cup of coffee, she asked him what he did. He replied that he was a lawyer. She writes, “[T]hat homemade muffin and cup of coffee motivated me to become a lawyer.”

She writes that she did not like high school, but she discovered the joy of sports, noting that “basketball and my basketball coach are what kept me in school.” Ms. Binney writes that sports “provided me a space to vent my frustrations, earn how to productively navigate obstacles, control my emotions, and build confidence.”

Sports also helped her through college, where a Native American guidance counselor helped her find housing and funding for her studies then recruited her for the softball team on which she played for four years, learning to love school and eventually being elected to serve as the commissioner of multicultural affairs for the entire university.

Ms. Binney writes about meeting Don Pongrace, leader of Akin Gump’s American Indian law and policy practice, when she was at law school and accepted an invitation to dinner with lawyers who represented tribal nations.

She closes by noting, “I look back on my life and career, and realize how important it was for me to accept mentorship when it was offered, be willing to take opportunities when they present themselves, not be afraid to fail, not be afraid to ask for help, and find ways to improve my mental health. My goal in my career and life is to leave this world with a good conscience.”

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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