Diversity Scholars initiative expands with new corporate partners

Taylor Nichols ’20 graduated in May with the first cohort of Diversity Scholars

Maryland Carey Law’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, established in 2017, seeks to chip away at the lack of diversity in the legal profession by providing financial and career support to cohorts of high-achieving students from diverse backgrounds. “Our profession has talked about the importance of increasing diversity for years, says Dean Donald Tobin. “This collaboration is a significant step toward achieving that goal here in Maryland.” In May, the first cohort of nine students graduated, moving on to bright legal careers, which participants credit, in part, to the initiative.

“The Diversity Scholars program was instrumental in building my networking skills and providing me the opportunity to be mentored by incredible attorneys committed to fostering my personal and professional development,” says Taylor Nichols ’20, now a judicial law clerk to the Hon. Michael W. Reed, Court of Special Appeals of Maryland. “The support, resources, and encouragement from the mentoring attorneys has been invaluable and is something I will carry with me throughout my legal career.”

In addition to crucial scholarship support, Diversity Scholars receive individual mentoring from partner firm attorneys, opportunities to attend firm-hosted and other legal community events, and training in interviewing and other professional skills.

When Nichols, who was a journal editor and vice president of the Black Law Students Association, began law school, she and the other members of that first cohort had unique opportunities to network with the original firm partners of DLA Piper, Miles & Stockbridge, Pessin Katz, and Gallagher Evelius and Jones.

So positive was the program, that a fifth law firm, Gordon Feinblatt, signed on in 2019 as a Diversity Scholars partner, expanding opportunities for students like Nichols.

“We are thrilled to enter the second year of our partnership with the University of Maryland’s Diversity Scholars,” says Todd R. Chason, chair of Gordon Feinblatt’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. “Although we are virtual, we are excited to continue making meaningful connections and mentoring students through the challenges of 2020 and beyond.”

This year, the Diversity and Inclusion Initiative welcomes its fourth cohort of 14 students:

  • Randall Ainsworth, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Junior Dufort, Temple University
  • Caitlin Gugliotta, Dickinson College
  • Samuel Kebede, Hood College
  • Samay Kindra, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Benjamin Link, American University
  • Alexis Lovings, University of North Florida
  • Tamia Morris, St. John's University-Queens
  • Quentel Penn, Excelsior College
  • Joshua Perez, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Alexander Ramos, Washington College
  • Stephanie Rigizadeh, Princeton University
  • Victoria Roman, George Washington University
  • Priyanka Shah, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis

It is no surprise that this year’s cohort is the largest yet because, in 2020, T. Rowe Price and Deloitte joined the Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Initiative, bringing the number of partners up to seven.

 “As a firm that is absolutely committed to the power of diversity, inclusion and equity, Deloitte is excited to support the Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Initiative,” said Tamika Tremaglio, managing principal for Deloitte in Greater Washington. “This is a program that provides direct and measurable impact on the importance of diversity in the legal community, and we are privileged to be able to support it as business and community leaders.”

David Oestreicher, chief legal officer at T. Rowe Price is similarly enthusiastic. “We are really excited about partnering with the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and the opportunity to mentor students participating in the Diversity Scholars Program. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion extends far beyond the walls of our offices; we are equally committed to helping to develop the next generation of legal professionals from diverse backgrounds.”

Back in 2017, Tobin said, “This is just the beginning. We believe the need and support for this program will only grow—and that firms across the state will make sure that happens.” As the program has grown from four firms to seven in just three years, the dean’s words were indeed prophetic.

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