Minority Corporate Counsel Association Announces Winners Of George B. Vashon Innovator Awards
The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has announced the recipients of its 2013 George B. Vashon Innovator Awards.



August 6, 2013


Diane Nowak-Waring
Court Blatchford


Minority Corporate Counsel Association Announces Winners 
Of George B. Vashon Innovator Awards

WASHINGTON – The Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) has announced the recipients of its 2013 George B. Vashon Innovator Awards. They will be honored at MCCA’s Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on Sept. 16 in New York City.

This year’s recipients are Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, New York Life Insurance Company, Pepper Hamilton LLP and Prudential Financial.

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 is named for 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.

“The struggle for equality and inclusion has had many champions over the years,” said Joseph K. West, MCCA’s President and CEO. “This year’s award recipients are following in the proud footsteps of George B. Vashon by extending opportunity to diverse people in the legal community. Their work deserves widespread recognition and MCCA is pleased to honor them.”

The 2013 honorees are being recognized for these initiatives:

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP – Mentoring Initiative: The law firm developed the Talent Model to provide its lawyers with unique options for the progression and development of their careers. The Talent Model is supported by a multi-layered and intensive mentoring system that includes Talent Model Mentors, Partner Sponsors, Minority Attorney Mentoring Program, Alumni Mentor Network, Professional Development Committee Diversity Liaison, Career Coaching, Alternative Work Arrangement, and Custom Track Partners.  

New York Life Insurance Company – Pipeline Initiative: The company developed a pipeline for attorneys from historically underrepresented groups for leadership roles in the legal department.  The pipeline starts with high school students in the Cristo Rey Program and the Office of the General Counsel’s Summer Legal Internship Program, and continues through the Foundations of Executive Leadership Program for executive officers.   

Pepper Hamilton LLP – Pipeline Initiative: The law firm is Villanova Law School’s leading partner in working to support and promote diversity in the legal profession. The firm’s Pepper Hamilton Scholarship provides two incoming students of diverse backgrounds with a three-year full-tuition scholarship to attend Villanova Law School, and the Pepper Hamilton Pathways Program hires two Villanova Law minority students as first-year summer associates and then as part-time law clerks during their second or third year. The firm also sponsors the Pepper Hamilton Martin Luther King Jr. Lecture and the Pepper Hamilton National Summer Program for minority undergraduates.  

Prudential Financial – LGBT Initiative: The company hosted a five-hour Town Hall showcasing the LGBT community, which was attended by over 350 Prudential Law and compliance associates from across the country. The event provided an overview of initiatives Prudential has launched to reach out to the LGBT community, including information on the latest market research study to tap into the LGBT market.  Prudential’s law department also collaborated with the Employee Association of Gay Men, Lesbian, Bisexuals and Transgender (EAGLES) to launch an enterprise-wide “straight ally” logo. The logo allows Prudential straight allies to display their support for the LGBT community in the workplace.

MCCA was founded in 1997 to advance the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys in legal departments and the law firms that serve them. MCCA accomplishes its mission through publishing, research and training, pipeline initiatives and networking. MCCA’s work has been recognized with awards from the National Minority Business Council, Inc., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the National LGBT Bar, and the Association of Corporate Counsel. MCCA is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, go to

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