How To Apply?

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. You may only select one initiative from the following categories:

  • Mentoring
  • Pipeline Initiative
  • Recruitment & Retention
  • LGBT Initiatives
  • Other diversity initiatives are welcome for consideration

Submit a written description (no less than 500 words) summarizing a diversity program aligned with the categories selected by MCCA or a diversity initiative that is pre-approved by MCCA. All submissions must include organization bio and logo in a separate attachment. A statement of metric showing measurable results is recommended.

Who is eligible?

Domestic In-house legal departments, law firms, and associations/organizations whose membership base consists of lawyers, including either outside counsel or in-house counsel are eligible.

Where will the award presentation take place?

Winners will be presented at the Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference on October 3, 2017 and will receive an honorable mention at the MCCA Diversity Gala at the Kennedy Center on October 4, 2017.

Additional Information

All submissions must be submitted electronically to


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 in the legal profession.

How to Apply?

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About George B. Vashon

George Boyer Vashon was a noted African-American legal scholar and abolitionist. He twice sought admission to practice law in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, but was rejected in both cases because of his race. In October 2010, after Vashon’s great-grandson, Duane Morris Chief Diversity Officer Nolan N. Atkinson, Jr., and others petitioned the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Vashon was officially admitted posthumously to the bar of the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

As a teenager, alongside his father who was an abolitionist and well-respected leader in the black community, Vashon co-founded the Pittsburgh anti-slavery society in 1838. He attended Oberlin College, where he was the first African-American to receive a bachelor’s degree. After he was denied the right to practice law in Allegheny County, he moved to New York and became the first licensed African-American attorney in that state. Later returning to Pittsburgh, Vashon became a principal at the African-American public school and served as president of Avery College. Vashon moved to Washington, D.C., where he was admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and, in 1867, became one of the first black professors at Howard University. Vashon died in Mississippi in 1878 during a yellow-fever epidemic.

Pathways Conference

The George B. Vashon Innovator Award is presented at Creating Pathways to Diversity® Conference. Click below for more details about this event.

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