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Minority Corporate Counsel Association Announces Winners Of Paula Ettelbrick, George B. Vashon, Awards
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Inc. has announced the recipients of the 2012 Paula L. Ettelbrick Award and the George B. Vashon Innovator Awards.




September 5, 2012


Diane Nowak-Waring
Court Blatchford

Minority Corporate Counsel Association Announces Winners
Of Paula Ettelbrick, George B. Vashon, Awards

WASHINGTON – The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has announced the recipients of the 2012 Paula L. Ettelbrick Award and the George B. Vashon Innovator Awards. The recipients will be honored at MCCA’s Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on Sept. 10 in New York City.

MCCA is bestowing the Paula L. Ettelbrick Award for the first time this year. MCCA created the award to celebrate extraordinary achievements by an individual or organization in advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender attorneys. The award is named for the late Paula L. Ettelbrick whose quarter-century of work for organizations like Lambda Legal, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission assisted thousands of individuals. Her career as an educator and mentor at institutions like New York University, Columbia University, and the University of Michigan helped transform the national discussion regarding equality.  

Receiving the inaugural Paula Ettelbrick Award is D’Arcy Kemnitz, Executive Director of the National LGBT Bar Association. In this position, she manages collaboration between more than 25 affiliated local, state and regional LGBT bar associations and dozens of LGBT law student associations. She also speaks and writes widely on LGBT issues.

The George B. Vashon Innovator Award is given to in-house legal departments, law firms and bar associations that have led the way with innovative best practices to assist diverse attorneys. It was renamed this year in honor of scholar, abolitionist and lawyer George B. Vashon, who was the first licensed African American attorney in New York State (1848) and one of the first admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court (1867). Vashon was twice denied admission to the bar in Pennsylvania, including once after having been admitted by the U.S. Supreme Court. His determination to overcome these obstacles helped propel his distinguished career.

Receiving a George B. Vashon Innovator Award this year are:

  • Prudential Financial, Inc, whose two-year pilot program, Diverse Attorney Spotlight, identifies diverse attorneys at majority-owned law firms to work closely with Prudential on various assignments. These attorneys gain valuable experience in the financial services industry and enhance their professional profiles. 
  • Duane Morris LLP, who greatly expanded their participation in MCCA’s Academy for Leadership & Inclusion training and has taken steps to expand the firm’s inclusion program in three areas: business development, acquisition, and retention and overall inclusion.
  • Goldberg Segalla LLP, who created a diversity-focused internship program in collaboration with the Minority Bar Association of Western New York and the University of Buffalo. During the program’s first summer, 25 law students got an in-depth look at the legal process and the interaction between the bench and the bar, and developed important legal research, writing, case management, and client service skills.
  • Target Corporation, who launched their Outside Counsel Scorecard process, which recognizes and rewards outside partner firms that demonstrate an actionable commitment to enhancing opportunities for women and diverse attorneys in the legal profession. The Scorecard also incentivizes outside firm partners to hire, retain and promote top diverse talent, who can staff Target matters accordingly. 
  • Winston & Strawn LLP, who instituted a new mentoring structure that moves attorneys smoothly through the mentoring process, and produced communications and training tools housed on a new mentoring intranet site. The firm also established a Mentor of the Year Award to recognize mentors who provide access, insight, and practical advice to their mentees.

“These awards remind us that the struggle for equality and inclusion has stretched over many years and has had many champions,” said Joseph K. West, MCCA’s President and CEO. “This year’s Ettelbrick and Vashon award winners are continuing that proud tradition. MCCA is very pleased to celebrate their efforts.”

The mission of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association is to advance the hiring, retention, and promotion of diverse attorneys in legal departments and the law firms that serve them. MCCA furthers its mission by publishing research on achieving diversity and best practices in the legal profession, honoring innovative diversity programs with its Employer of Choice and Thomas L. Sager awards, and assisting diverse law students through the Lloyd M. Johnson, Jr. Scholarship Program. MCCA’s work has been recognized with awards from the National Bar Association, the National Minority Business Council, Inc., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National Gay and Lesbian Law Association, and the Association of Corporate Counsel.

Founded in 1997, MCCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and also has a Southeast regional office in Atlanta, Ga. For more information, go to


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