Hamline School of Law alumni Sarah Jewell, JD '11, and Malika Kanodia, JD ’10, co-chairs of the Minnesota State Bar Association New Lawyer Section Diversity Committee, led a team selected as first-place winner in the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyer Division’s 2012-2013 Next Steps Challenge competition.
The goal of the Next Steps Challenge was to come up with a project aimed at increasing diversity in the legal profession. The Minnesota team joined forces with local organizations, including Achieve Minneapolis, to develop methods for educating diverse high school students to become interested in the practice of law. The project also assembled a team of senior and junior lawyers to conduct presentations in high school classrooms and attend career fairs, allowing students to interact with attorneys, learn about law school admissions requirements, and get acquainted with the wide range of legal fields and occupations.
"The legal profession, especially in Minnesota, is not very diverse, so I feel it is so important to reach out to minority students and encourage them to pursue law," said Malika. “Many students do not understand the impact that lawyers can have on helping others in the community, especially through immigration and family law. I am proud to have worked on this project to help inspire them to pursue a profession they would have not otherwise thought about."
The Minnesota State Bar Association Young Lawyers Division received a $2,000 award, sponsored by the legal diversity team for Wal-Mart and the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, for use toward developing the diversity pipeline project in the upcoming years.