When It Comes To Diversity, Planting A Seed Can Make A Difference

By Jackie Crosby
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Philadelphia-based law firm “Ballard Spahr” launched its “Diversity Fellowship Program” in 2015.  The partnership aims to give the summer associates exposure to the differing rhythms and pressures in a corporate practice. Numerous studies have shown that women, minorities and LGBT lawyers remain underrepresented across the nation’s law firms.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Naphtalie Librun-Ukiri grew up in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, and knew from an early age that she wanted to be a lawyer. But at some point, she realized she had unwittingly put herself in a box.

“I was raised in an urban environment,” she said, “so I thought I could be a prosecutor, because that’s all I thought lawyers were.”

Now a first-year law student at the University of Minnesota, Librun-Ukiri is embarking on a new opportunity with a fellowship program through the law firm of Ballard Spahr aimed at giving women and people of diverse races and backgrounds hands-on experience while they are early in their studies.

Philadelphia-based Ballard Spahr, one of the nation’s largest law firms, does work in litigation, corporate law, real estate, intellectual property and finance.

It launched the Diversity Fellowship Program in 2015 and has offered it to first-year law students at its home office as well as in Denver, Los Angeles and Baltimore.

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