December 1, 2011
In early November, Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery partners Karl R. Fink and Joseph E. Shipley led a discussion with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, focusing on the practice of law, the role of lawyers in society, and our system of justice. Two weeks later, Fitch Even attorneys Edward W. Gray, Jr., and Kenneth W. Hairston spoke at the Boston Regional Meeting of the National Society of Black Engineers, providing a high-level overview of the building blocks of intellectual property law and encouraging attendees to consider the law as a career option. These presentations were part of an ongoing effort by Fitch Even to support the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession (IILP) in its work to increase the number of diverse individuals entering the legal profession.
In October, attorneys from Fitch Even and Kraft Foods led a discussion at Chicago Bulls College Prep, working with the Just The Beginning Foundation. Mr. Shipley, Mr. Hairston, and other lawyers from Fitch Even, including Jonathan C. Hughley, John M. Naber, and Jon A. Birmingham, have also led discussions with diverse groups of students at the Better Boys Foundation in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago; Cristo Rey High School in Pilsen; the Apostolic Whole Truth Church in Englewood; Berkeley College in New York City; Allegheny College in Meadville, PA; and the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. "The students' enthusiasm and their high level of interest in the legal profession make our discussions with them very rewarding," Mr. Shipley commented.
On November 22, the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin published an article, “Lawyers Volunteer Time with Program to Improve Diversity,” that featured Fitch Even’s outreach efforts. In the article, Sandra S. Yamate, CEO of IILP, was quoted as saying of Fitch Even, "They are making a concerted and conscious effort to make sure their lawyers are interacting with young people. They're trying to provide positive role models for these young people to encourage them to think of different career opportunities."
The IILP seeks to drive progress in diversity and inclusion in the legal profession through comprehensive outreach, with a goal of replacing barriers with bridges between legal, judicial, professional, educational, and governmental institutions. A key part of their mission is to help diverse students become law students, enter the legal profession and eventually become successful lawyers and judges, while working to ensure that the profession that awaits them genuinely offers a career path for long-term professional satisfaction.