ATLANTA (July 18, 2005) – Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is pleased to announce the graduation of its first class of Sutherland Scholars. At a ceremony last week, the firm recognized a group of students from Spelman and Morehouse colleges who completed a unique six-week pre-law school experience. Dr. Michael Lomax, President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, was the keynote speaker at the graduation.
The Sutherland Scholars program was spearheaded by Sutherland partner and Diversity Committee Chair Allegra Lawrence as an initiative to ensure the success of minority students in law school. As a longtime member of the firm's Hiring Committee and a frequent speaker at minority law student events, Lawrence noticed that many minority students who often did well in college did not thrive in the law school environment.
During the past six weeks, the 22 selected scholars learned the basics of succeeding in the first year of law school. These students drafted study outlines, worked in study groups, briefed cases, practiced the Socratic method, completed a mini-Contracts course, and took a final exam. They were coached on how to compete for law review positions and how to apply for summer jobs and judicial clerkships. The class also received personal feedback and valuable advice from many Sutherland attorneys.
Managing Partner Mark Wasserman notes, "Sutherland Scholars is an innovative program and demonstrates our commitment to promoting diversity in our firm and in the legal community."
Lawrence is extremely pleased with the outcome of the program, with how engaged the students were and with the number of Sutherland attorneys that wanted to be involved. She is expecting positive long-term effects from the program and predicts other firms will mimic this initiative.
"I had a vision of teaching students how to succeed right out of the gate, not after a semester or two. I want them all to get straight A's immediately," Lawrence asserts. "We expect this program will supply these students with the necessary tools for a successful first year."
Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a national law firm known for solving challenging business problems and resolving unique legal issues for many of the nation's largest companies. Founded in 1924, the firm has grown to more than 425 lawyers with offices in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, New York, Tallahassee and Washington. For further information about the firm, please visit sutherland.com.