(June 7, 2019, Washington, DC) — Steptoe & Johnson LLP has received the 2019 Chambers Diversity & Inclusion award for Corporate Social Responsibility. The award celebrates a company's dedication to reaching out to their local community and affecting change to increase the representation of diverse candidates in the legal profession. Steptoe was recognized for its partnership with the Ron Brown Scholar Program at an awards gala held June 6 in San Francisco.
In 2016, Steptoe formed an innovative partnership with the Ron Brown Scholar Program, a 501(c)(3) public charity managed by an independent board of trustees. The program, which was named for the late US Secretary of Commerce and inspired by his dedication to public service, focuses on encouraging civic engagement among scholars while promoting academic excellence, community and lifelong interactions. Recipients are young African Americans of outstanding promise who are offered academic scholarships, service opportunities and leadership experiences.
Steptoe established the Ron Brown Scholar Program's first-ever legal intern program. Each summer, Steptoe hosts a college graduate who plans to begin law school in the fall. The student selected joins the firm's summer associate class and participates in the group's programmatic, educational, and social activities.
During the 10-week long summer program, the scholar also works directly alongside Steptoe's diverse lawyers, where the intern is exposed to high-level legal matters in various practice areas, and attends closings, depositions, hearings, oral arguments, trials, negotiations and board meetings. Alumni of Steptoe's program have gone on to top-tier law schools, and have returned to Steptoe each summer as members of the firm's summer associate class.
"We created this internship program to engage diverse students at an early stage in their academic careers," said Markham Erickson, co-chair of Steptoe's Diversity & Inclusion Committee. "Our goal is to give diverse students better opportunities for success, not only in law school, but in their practice, and wherever their careers ultimately lead them."
The Chambers Diversity & Inclusion awards were created by the publisher of the Chambers legal directories "to celebrate in-house and private practice trailblazers who are actively furthering the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the legal profession."
Steptoe's recognition by Chambers is the latest in a growing list of awards the firm has received for its diversity efforts. Steptoe was recently named to Yale Law Women's lists of "Top Ten Firms for Gender Equity" and "Top Ten Firms for Family Friendliness." The firm received a 100% rating and earned the designation as a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality" in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index. Additionally, Steptoe was one of three firms recognized by MetLife's Legal Affairs Diversity Committee for diversity and inclusion efforts at their annual diversity roundtable. In January, Steptoe co-founded the Legal Diversity & Inclusion Alliance, which counts 44 law firms in Brussels as members, and in February, the firm announced the launch of its Talent Sponsorship Program.
In more than 100 years of practice, Steptoe has earned an international reputation for vigorous representation of clients before governmental agencies, successful advocacy in litigation and arbitration, and creative and practical advice in structuring business transactions. Steptoe has more than 500 lawyers and other professional staff across offices in Beijing, Brussels, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Washington. For more information, visit www.steptoe.com.
Steptoe's Jamie Lucia, David Mesa and Seth Sias