Haynes and Boone, LLP is partnering with PracticePro, a San Francisco-based legal education startup, to recruit diverse law students for a training and coaching program designed to help them succeed in school and legal practice.
The Diversity Scholar Program accepts first-year law students and aims to help them become practice-ready lawyers by graduation, with the goal of enhancing diversity in the legal profession. Students in the program attend conferences and training seminars to learn both soft skills and practical competencies required of lawyers in their early years of practice. The scholars also receive coaching on navigating law school, interviews, networking and long-term career planning.
Students enrolled at American Bar Association-accredited law schools can apply until Jan. 20, 2018.
Haynes and Boone Partner Brian Kwok says lack of diverse representation in the legal profession puts everyone at a disadvantage.
“Businesses want innovative and creative teams, and the best team made of the best people is a diverse group of attorneys,” he said. “People recognize that nobody benefits from a cookie-cutter version of the same attorney, so we also need to acknowledge that there are different ways to think about and approach the law. That takes people of different genders, backgrounds and cultures.”
Haynes and Boone is PracticePro’s first Diversity Founder, underscoring the firm’s commitment to the scholars program since it started in 2014. The firm funds scholarships, hosts conferences and provides support to the Diversity Scholars through its offices across the United States. Haynes and Boone also collaborates with PracticePro on new diversity initiatives, including an associate mentoring program with corporate legal departments and a pre-law conference for incoming 1Ls in 2018.
Diverse law students often face hurdles by being the first in their families to attend college and not having networks and support groups that can help them strategically develop their resumes, understand the complex hiring process or thrive in a competitive professional setting.
Kwok says law students need a bridge between school and practice, which can be especially challenging for diverse students forging their own paths.
“Law school gives you the theory and conceptual frameworks, but it doesn't teach you how to be a lawyer,” Kwok said. "If you're going to have a successful career, you need professional relationships to draw on and learn from. PracticePro’s Diversity Scholar Program equips diverse students with practical skills. But more than that, it helps create a foundation for a valuable network that each of them can rely on."
PracticePro presented its 2017 Diversity Leadership Award to Haynes and Boone for the firm’s accomplishments and forward-thinking promotion of diversity and inclusion. Through its Attorney Diversity and Inclusion Committee, which includes partners, associates, counsel and key members of management, the firm has enacted diversity and equality-related policies and developed a variety of initiatives designed to drive minority and female hiring and retention.
For information about the Diversity Scholar Program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 415-237-3703.