LCD Members Collaborate to Talk the Diversity Talk and Walk the Diversity Walk
Jessica Grossarth Kennedy is a member of Pullman & Comley, LLC and chair of the firm's Diversity Committee; Rebecca A. Matthews is a partner at Wiggin and Dana. This article appeared in the January 2018 issue of The Collaborative, the monthly newsletter of the Lawyers Collaborative for Diversity (LCD).
Passionate about diversity and inclusion, LCD members, Yale New Haven Health (“YNHH”) Pullman & Comley, LLC (“P&C”) and Wiggin and Dana LLP (“Wiggin”), share a common goal of diversifying. In 2011, YNHH launched a diversity 1L summer associate program with Wiggin’s support. In 2015, YNHH expanded its program with P&C’s support.
The program has resulted in recent success for YNHH, Wiggin, P&C and a few special students.
Diverse candidates are solicited to apply for positions in each program in the winter of their 1L year, and a candidate is selected by each firm shortly thereafter. Each program provides for the selected candidate to spend half of the summer program as a summer associate with the law firm followed by the second half of the summer program at the in-house legal department of YNHH. Selected candidates participate in the same activities and perform the same type of legal work as the participants in firms’ 2L Summer Associate Programs. Work includes researching and writing legal memoranda, motions and briefs, attending administrative and court proceedings, analyzing new legislation, working on articles and participating in closings and document review. During the time with YNHH, the summer associate shadows in-house lawyers at meetings with board members and executives, conducts research on health care-related topics, participates in due diligence and other transaction components, and manages projects such as template development. By the end of the summer, the candidate has been exposed to both private practice and in-house practice all in just a ten week period.
Andres Jimenez-Franck of the UCONN School of Law was offered the joint position for the 2017 summer. Andres impressed his summer employers with his legal acumen, maturity and work ethic earning himself a second summer with P&C in 2018 and full time employment with P&C in 2019 upon his graduation. Andres accepted both positions. Congratulations to Andres!
Jermaine Brookshire, Jr., a New Haven native and student at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, participated in the program with Wiggin for the 2017 summer. Jermaine impressed those with whom he worked by taking on complex assignments and creatively considering how to best present the results of his research. Jermaine earned an offer to return to Wiggin during his 2L summer, which he has accepted. In addition, LaMarte Williams, the YNHHS-Wiggin Diversity Scholar in the summer of 2016, returned to Wiggin for his 2L summer and will be coming back upon his graduation from the University of Notre Dame Law School as a full-time associate. Congratulations to Jermaine and LaMarte!
For YNHH, working with both Wiggin and P&C has created a more supportive and collegial atmosphere at YNHH, as the candidates have one another during their time there.
With desire, planning, deliberate action and follow through, diversifying one candidate at a time is not only possible, but can also be your reality.