After launching the first NALP/Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline Program in 2021 in Alabama, Adams and Reese has partnered with Jefferson RISE Charter School of New Orleans to educate its students about law and offer support and resources to those interested in legal careers.
The New Orleans program is led by education attorney Chas Griffin with assistance from public finance and litigation attorney Cate Creed. Street Law provides Adams and Reese volunteers with training and curriculum ahead of school visits, as well as technical support throughout the planning and implementation. Throughout the semester, attorneys will staff classroom visits and teach civil law topics such as contracts (real estate) and employment discrimination.
The semester will culminate in a Legal Careers Conference hosted at the Adams and Reese New Orleans office on Friday, Dec. 2, where students will engage with attorneys and participate in interactive simulations using the skills and knowledge acquired over the course of the program. Students will also participate in career exploration, where they learn about the variety of legal jobs.
Opening in 2015, Jefferson RISE serves more than 700 students in grades 6-12, preparing students for either four-year colleges or professional careers after high school. The school has a 71% minority enrollment and 84% population of economically disadvantaged students.
“The Street Law Program has been a hit at Jefferson Rise,” said Peter Belair, Jefferson RISE Social Studies Instructional Coordinator. “Through word-of-mouth alone, I have had several dozen students come up to me and ask if we will be doing another session of the program and ask how they can be involved next time. Our students are genuinely intrigued by the program, and we are all so appreciative of the friendly and engaged attorneys and staff from Adams and Reese as our guest teachers.”
In 2021, Adams and Reese partnered with John L. LeFlore Magnet High School in Mobile, engaging students in interactive simulations, delivering civil law lessons, and offering support as role models and advisors to educate young people – from groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession – about available legal career pathways. Adams and Reese Special Counsel Suntrease Williams-Maynard led the Mobile NALP/Street Law LDPP. She has served on the LeFlore Law Academy Signature Advisory Board for several years.
The National Association for Law Placement/Street Law Legal Diversity Pipeline was one of two diversity pipeline programs launched by Adams and Reese in 2021. The other was the firm’s 1L Minority Fellowship Program, offering clerkship positions, normally reserved for second-year law students, to diverse first-year law students. Additionally, Adams and Reese partners with the American Bar Association to offer a Legal Opportunity Scholarship to minority law students, as well as with the Memphis Bar Association on its Summer Law Internship Program.
Adams and Reese’s mentorship programs include an AdvanceLaw Diversity Mentorship Program, AR ARROW (Advancement, Recruitment, and Retention of Women), and DAAP (Diverse Attorney Advancement and Promotion). Attorneys from groups historically underrepresented in the legal profession are invited to an annual DEI retreat. To enhance recruiting of diverse hires, Adams and Reese participates in the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, recruits from HBCUs, and engages in diverse recruiting programs throughout its footprint.
For its commitment to advancing DEI leadership efforts, Adams and Reese has achieved Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification, taking part in a universal commitment among law firms nationwide to enact actionable steps to foster DEI at all levels of the legal profession, increasing leadership advancement and client representation opportunities afforded to minority attorneys.