Increasing Diversity in the Legal Profession
Patterson Belknap also believes that it has a role to play in increasing the diversity of the legal profession as a whole. Hence, the Firm has engaged in a number of “pipeline” endeavors to increase the number of minorities pursuing careers in the law by mentoring and encouraging minority students with an interest in law beginning at an early age.
- For a number of years, the Firm has partnered with Legal Outreach, an organization which prepares urban youth from underserved communities in New York City to compete at high academic levels by using intensive legal and educational programs. The firm is a key supporter of Legal Outreach’s “College to Law School Pipeline Diversity Program”, “Summer Law Institutes” and “Summer Internship Program” which are designed to mentor minority junior high and high school students who have an interest in pursuing a legal education. Through these programs, numerous Patterson Belknap attorneys have coached Legal Outreach students in mock trials and oral argument programs, delivered workshops to introduce students to different aspects of the law and served as individual mentors to students.
- For a number of years, Patterson Belknap has mentored students from Flushing High School in the annual Metropolitan Mentor Moot Court and NYSBA Statewide Mock Trial competitions. Patterson Belknap attorneys meet weekly with the students in the Fall (for moot court) and Spring (for mock trial) to coach them on all aspects of preparing for the competition – from brainstorming the issues presented in the fact pattern, to drafting examination questions and oral arguments. The students gain confidence in their public speaking skills, and meaningful, fun exposure to litigation.
- In 2021, Patterson Belknap began partnering with TEAK to launch the TEAK Fellowship-Patterson Belknap Internship program. TEAK is a free program that helps talented students from low-income families achieve their potential. TEAK’s robust support system ensures that students thrive in high school and graduate from college, ready to pursue their professional goals and positively impact the world. Through a three-week intensive, paid internship in January of each year, college-aged TEAK Fellows are introduced to the inner-workings of a law firm. The program curriculum centers around the “life of a case,” using a real trial as a framework for an introduction to the law. Guest speakers and networking events are scheduled throughout the course of the internship to provide a broad perspective on the Firm and legal profession as a whole. All participants are paired with multiple legal and non-legal mentors. Members from the Patterson Belknap community, both current and alumni, collaborate to bring this program to life. The Firm is very excited about its partnership with the TEAK Fellowship.