George B. Vashon Innovator Award

Vashon Innovator Award

The MCCA is pleased to announce it has opened nominations for the 2018 George B. Vashon Innovator Award. The George B. Vashon Innovator Award is presented to companies (not in the Fortune 1000) and law firms (less than 500 attorneys) 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).

The criteria selection and application process have changed this year, so please review the application carefully. MCCA will select 2 national winners (1 law firm and 1 corporate legal department) and they will be announced at the Creating Pathways to Diversity Conference on October 2 in New York. The winners will also have their diversity and inclusion achievements showcased in a 60 second slideshow during the awards ceremony and the George B. Vashon Innovator Award will be presented to the winning company’s General Counsel or firm’s Managing Partner who will each accept on behalf of their organization. The 2018 Vashon winners will also be profiled in Diversity & the Bar magazine, the official magazine of the MCCA.

The finalists will be selected based on a stringent review and scoring of nominee’s efforts in recruitment, retention, promotion and metrics as well as implementation of innovative practices that impact and break the barriers to entry in the legal profession. To see how nominations will be evaluated, download the scorecard templates.

The application for law firms can be found here.
The application for corporate legal departments can be found here.

The application deadline is July 16, 2018.

The scorecard for law firms can be found here.
The scorecard for corporate legal departments can be found here.

About George B. Vashon

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.

2017 George B. Vashon Innovator Winners

Law Firm Winner

Exelon

Corporate Law Department Winner

2017 George B. Vashon Innovator Finalists

Law Firm Finalists

Exelon
Exelon

Corporate Law Department Finalists

Exelon
Exelon

2016 George B. Vashon Innovator Award Honorees

Corporate Law Department Winner
WGL Holdings Inc. and Washington Gas
(Diversity Initiatives)

Law Firm Winner
Winston & Strawn LLP
(Women’s Initiatives)

Past Honorees List

MCCA is proud to honor and distinguish firms that tried something new and succeeded, whether in recruitment and retention, mentoring, pipeline initiatives, LGBT initiatives, or client inclusion feedback. Here is the complete list of our past George B. Vashon Innovator Award honorees.

2015

Exelon Corporation
(Pipeline Initiatives)
Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
(Recruitment and Retention Initiatives)
Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation
(Mentoring Initiative)

2014

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP (WTO)
(Women’s Initiatives)
McDermott Will & Emery LLP
(Retention Initiatives)
New York City Bar Association, Alliance of Securities and Financial Educators (ASAFE), Guggenheim Partners and Morgan Stanley
(Pipeline Initiative)

2013

Prudential Financial, Inc.
(LGBT Initiative)
Pepper Hamilton LLP
(Pipeline Initiative)
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe
(Mentoring Initiative)

2012

Prudential Financial, Inc.
(Diverse Attorney Spotlight Program)
Duane Morris LLP
(Recruitment and Retention)
Target Corporation
(Recruitment and Retention)
Goldberg Segalla LLP
(Pipeline Initiative)
Winston & Strawn LLP
(Mentoring Initiative)

 Strategic Members 2018

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