Deepening The Pool Of Candidates To Lead Tomorrow's Legal Profession

Wednesday, March 1, 2006 - 01:00

The Editor interviews Naomi K. McLaurin, Managing Director,
Southeast Region for the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).

Editor: What are some of the factors that challenge corporations as they
look to diversify the pipeline of corporate legal talent?

McLaurin: The diversification of corporate law departments faces some
of its toughest challenges yet. On the one hand, globalization and the general
diversification of business challenges corporations to create diverse legal
teams that can manage legal affairs across the country and the globe in order to
remain competitive. On the other hand, dwindling federal and university
scholarships and programs have made it difficult to attract minorities to the
legal profession.

Editor: How is the Minority Corporate Counsel Association helping to
attract minorities to the legal profession?

McLaurin: MCCA's ever expanding diversity knowledge and information
resources include CLE programs, professional development fora, and scholarship
and internship programs to attract minorities to the legal profession. Also,
through our grants program, MCCA has provided approximately $200,000 over the
past three years to support diversity efforts underway at the state and local
level by other legal associations. One notable example is the $5,000 donated
each of the past several years in support of the National Bar Association's
Crump Law Camp, which exposes high school juniors and seniors to the practice of
law in the hope that they'll consider it as a future career choice. Our
southeast region office (located in Atlanta) just began its volunteer
MCCA-Spelman Internship Program whereby pre-law students work closely with me in
my day-to-day role as Managing Director. Interns may be asked to conduct
research on diversity initiatives, bar association events and other relevant
topics. It's a great way to expose college students to the legal profession and
encourage law school attendance.

Editor: This year, MCCA is awarding $380,000 in scholarship funds to
promote academic excellence and diversity in law schools. Please tell our
readers about the scholarship program's mission.

McLaurin: The Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program will prime the
diversity pipeline by helping law students meet basic needs, such as the payment
of tuition, books and fees. Successful applicants to the scholarship program,
who are reviewed by its Selection Committee, must have a financial need and be
outstanding individuals who have been accepted to an accredited U.S. law school,
and have demonstrated leadership and an interest in and commitment to diversity.

Editor: What are the program's components?

McLaurin: The first component is the Fellowship Program. Under the
Fellowship Program, organizations are invited to make a three-year financial
commitment to be a part of this program. A three-year sponsorship commitment
requires a minimum pledge of $30,000 payable in the amount of $10,000 in each of
the three years. Over the three-year period, the organization's generosity will
result in 10 or more students receiving a yearly $10,000 scholarship. In
recognition of the donor organization, the Fellow will bear the name of the
sponsoring organization, e.g., The "ABC Company Fellow" under the Lloyd
M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program.

A key element of the program is MCCA's support of the students' professional
development and advancement. The professional development support includes:
career counseling, cover letter and resume review and offering interview tips.
Moreover, we assist each fellowship student with securing a paid summer
internship opportunity after completion of his/her first year of law school. We
also encourage and facilitate the establishment of mentoring relationships with
sponsoring organizations and MCCA's vast network of supporters. Thus, there is
the opportunity to touch the lives of outstanding individuals and help to
further their dream of a legal career.

The second component is the Scholarship Program. The Scholarship Program will
provide at least ten or more one time $10,000 scholarships each year to
deserving students who wish to pursue careers in law.

Editor: Where can our readers learn more?

McLaurin: They can visit href="http://www.mcca.com/site/data/scholarship/info06.shtml">www.mcca.com/site/data/scholarship/info06.shtml.

Please email her at naomimclaurin@mcca.com
with questions about this
interview.