Guest Blog: Diversity Fellowship Program Celebrates 25 Years
Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Sep 28, 2015
The School of Law is a longtime supporter of the SCBA Diversity Fellowship Program. The program celebrated its 25th anniversary with a gala dinner on Friday evening. King Hall's Director of Marketing and Public Relations Pamela Wu served as the event emcee. She wrote this guest entry for the Dean's Blog.
The SCBA Diversity Fellowship Program marked its 25th anniversary on Friday, and the Sacramento area legal community came out in strong numbers to celebrate the milestone. The Program aims to promote, increase, and retain diversity in law firms in the region by providing fellowship opportunities to law students from diverse or disadvantaged backgrounds.
UC Davis School of Law was a proud sponsor of the event.
I was the emcee for the dinner at the Library Galleria. I had the privilege of introducing keynote speaker Judge Troy Nunley of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Judge Nunley has received many awards and commendations for his contributions in the areas of juvenile justice and diversity. The San Francisco Chronicle ran this profile on what they called his "rags to robes" ascent when he was first nominated to the federal bench.
Judge Nunley said, before the event, he perused some law firms' websites for evidence of their commitment to diversity. Citing a recent NALP study that revealed only 17.1% of equity partners were women and only 5.6% were racial/ethnic minorities, he said, "We have work to do. There are obstacles to creating more diversity in the legal profession, but those obstacles can be overcome."
I was lucky enough to sit next to Judge Nunley at dinner. (His daughter Cimone is a first-year student at King Hall.) I also sat with our Assistant Dean of Career Services Craig Compton, SCBA Diversity Hiring and Retention Committee co-chair Linda Partmann, Edward "E.J." Brown '12 (who has a great new job at Gallo Winery!), and King Hall students Alex Johnson '17 and Joel Guerra '17. Alex and Joel were among the numerous former fellows from King Hall who were in attendance.
A group photo of the fellows, many of whom are from King Hall!
It was an inspiring evening that, I think, stoked optimism about the future of diversity in the legal profession. I'm grateful that SCBA invited me to be a part of it. Congratulations, Diversity Fellowship Program, on your 25th anniversary.