Street Law, a nonprofit organization that provides education programs about law, democracy, and human rights and a partner with ACC on the corporate legal diversity pipeline initiative held their annual dinner last week in Washington, D.C. What an evening it turned out to be! The ballroom was packed and charged with energy. The award winners inspired us with their stories and commitment to the practice of law.
Our former board member, colleague, and friend Tom Sager and his legal team at DuPont were honored with the 2010 Legal Diversity Pipeline Award. With Tom’s support and leadership, DuPont created a banner program that brings their legal team into a Wilmington, DE, high school. At the dinner, it was great to see that DuPont had two tables of employees enjoying the special evening and the kudos for their efforts. Legal counsel Ernest Tuckett was recognized several times for his work. And Pat Quann, the executive director of the Delaware Law Related Education Center, was honored for her role and her partnership with DuPont.
I’ll give you an aside about Tom and why we are especially proud. Tom arranged to fund development and distribution of a pipeline kit and partnered with ACC to develop a program that introduces high school students to corporate legal departments. Many students have never met an attorney and certainly never considered going to law school. Class by class, that is now changing, as our colleagues teach, lead and mentor their local students. Take a minute and watch the Street Law video about this partnership and see why we are excited by this initiative and the results we see.
Also receiving kudos during the evening was a Kentucky teacher who received the 2010 Educator of the Year Award. Joseph Gutmann teaches at the Law and Government Magnet at Central High School in Louisville, KY. He usesthe Street Law curriculum in the second year of the magnet’s three-year program. Mr. Gutmann brings in local law students to teach about practical aspects of the law. A former prosecutor who became a teacher after 9/11, he is an inspiring teacher. With his leadership, the magnet now receives twice as many applications than they can accept.
Finally, the 2010 Advocate of the Year was awarded to Tetiana Remekh, a program coordinator at Teachers for Democracy and Partnership, a Ukrainian civic education NGO, which trains thousands of Ukrainian teachers in civics and law. Working with Street Law, she developed a Ukrainian version of the Street Law textbook, which was approved by the Ukrainian Ministry of Education and Science and is a mandatory part of the nationwide curricula.
We were all honored by the presence of our nation’s top lawyer, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. After a standing ovation, the attorney general received the Chesterfield Smith Award. An icon of the bar, Chesterfield Smith was one of the earliest crusaders for diversity in the profession. Attorney General Holder is committed to the concept of diversity and believes strongly that the profession depends on those who follow us.
And, a special thank you to our own SVP and General Counsel Susan Hackett, who served on the host committee for this wonderful event and who has worked tirelessly on the Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline.
Approximately 40 major corporations around the country have Corporate Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs with Street Law, some of the most notable including Coca-Cola, Turner Broadcasting and McDonald’s.
[Attorney General Holder’s remarks from the evening are posted here as well.]