We thank our current ACC St. Louis Diversity Sponsor - Thompson Coburn, LLP
Promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and the in-house bar has been an important initiative of the St. Louis Chapter for many years. With the support of the members of the St. Louis Chapter, the Diversity Committee has established and organized activities and events to advance this worthy goal. Through its involvement and leadership with the annual Street Law program and Diversity Summer Internship program, along with other initiatives, the Diversity Committee has become one of the Chapter's most active and influential committees.The Diversity Committee's efforts in 2015 were instrumental in the Chapter's recognition by the Association of Corporate Counsel as its Outstanding Chapter of the Year. The Diversity Committee was also named by the St. Louis Chapter as its 2015 Committee of the Year.
Since 2012 the Diversity Committee has directed the Street Law Program for the Chapter.Street Law is a diversity pipeline program, designed to expose students from a local high school (whose students include virtually all racial and ethnic backgrounds underrepresented in the legal profession) to the practice of law in a way that will encourage them to consider legal careers and pursue higher education. Chapter members participating in the program, in teams of two or three members, teach an interactive session on an area of the law at the participating high school class. All necessary teaching materials, curriculum and aides are provided to the team of Chapter members. The in-school sessions are followed by an all day workshop held at our corporate sponsor's location where the students are provided an opportunity to learn more about the practice of law as they attend a career fair and lunch with a host of our area's distinguished judges and legal professionals. Participation in the Street Law program requires a minimal time commitment and little prior knowledge of the area of law being taught, but does provide great satisfaction to our members and provides an overwhelmingly positive impact on the students as our members are provided the opportunity to work with a motivated group of high school students participating in the program. Street Law continues to be a wildly successful program for the Chapter, with members and students expressing great satisfaction in their participation.
The Diversity Committee also leads the Chapter's Diversity Summer Internship Program, one of the St. Louis legal community's strongest annual legal diversity efforts. This initiative is designed to give law students from diverse backgrounds substantive experience and meaningful exposure to in-house practice with our member companies. The goal of the program is to impact the diversity pipeline by providing opportunities to students who are underrepresented in the St. Louis Legal profession.
Members participating in the program help recruit and select interns for placement as paid summer legal interns with host companies. Each intern is supported by at least two program mentors—one from the hosting member company and an additional ACC member. Interns, mentors and host-company representatives come together for a variety of professional development and program activities. The experiences gained during the internship have prepared and aided the Interns in securing positions at large, well respected law firms and in some cases refocus their career goals.
In addition to these successful initiatives, the Diversity Committee looks for other opportunities to advance diversity and inclusion among Chapter members and in the legal community. The committee has sponsored diversity and inclusion training for Chapter members and collaborated with local minority Bar associations. Recently the Diversity Committee established the Chapter's Bridge's Program, a group of racially diverse chapter members who meet regularly with the intention of enriching the quality and depth of relationships among chapter members who might not ordinarily interact with each other.
If you are interested in being involved with the Diversity Committee, or you have additional questions, please contact our Chapter Administrator, Susan Wagner, at 314-416-0404 or [email protected].