As part of the firm’s pipeline program for engaging prospective lawyers and guiding them along the path to legal careers, Pepper places a heavy emphasis on supporting diversity programs for area law schools. Pepper’s commitment to the cultivation of future lawyers extends even to area high school students.
Diversity Programs with Villanova
Pepper’s pioneering partnership with the Villanova University School of Law is multifaceted and has earned the George B. Vashon Innovator Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association – a high honor that 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.”
Each year continuing in perpetuity, Villanova Law School awards two, three-year, full tuition scholarships in Pepper’s name. The primary scholarship recipients are racial or ethnic minorities, and the scholarships are awarded based on merit and financial need.
As part of the Pepper Hamilton Pathways Program, the firm hires two Villanova School of Law minority students as first-year summer associates with an option for these students to serve as part-time law clerks during the academic year.
Pepper also is perpetual sponsor of Villanova’s Martin Luther King, Jr. keynote address held during the school’s annual week-long commemoration of the life of Dr. King. The lecture provides an opportunity for Pepper to work directly with Villanova’s minority student organizations in identifying speakers.
Finally, in 2007-2008, Pepper collaborated with Villanova on a Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program. A four-week, legal preparatory program at Villanova Law that introduces sophomores and juniors from groups underrepresented in the legal profession to the possibilities of law school and legal careers, the PLUS Program is sponsored by the Law School Admission Council and operated by Villanova in collaboration with Pepper Hamilton. In 2013, Pepper sponsored a similar program with Rutgers-Camden School of Law, where students were mentored by Pepper attorneys, clients and lawyers from the community.
High School Diversity Pipeline Essay Contest
Pepper sponsors the annual High School Diversity Pipeline Essay Contest, which introduces Philadelphia high school students to laws and legal decisions that have a broad impact on our society, and recognizes them for their work. The intent of the contest is to spark an interest in participants to think about a career in law, leading to a more diverse legal profession down the road.