Many law firms are wary of secondment-style programs, but Latham & Watkins views its 1L Fellowship in a different light.
In 2015, Latham & Watkins developed a 1L summer fellowship program to improve diversity in recruiting. Diverse law students spend the first half of the summer working at one of the firm’s U.S. offices, and the second half working in-house at the legal departments of one of the firm’s corporate clients.
Not only does the program provide an exclusive experience – since it’s rare for a law student or new graduate to work in-house – but Latham & Watkins believes it develops better, smarter lawyers who will benefit the professional overall.
“Whether our 1L Fellows continue working for us or go elsewhere, they will become better lawyers because they will have developed an understanding of excellent client service," said Manu Gayatrinath, Global Chair of Recruiting.
On the corporate side, clients like Comcast expressed satisfaction with the program because it not only strengthened their relationship with outside counsel but gave them access to diverse talent.
The 1L fellows also receive substantial mentoring and training, and have the opportunity to participate in Diversity Leadership Academy, a three-day, Latham-sponsored event. Students who successfully complete the program may be invited to return to the firm the following year and potentially receive a scholarship toward law school tuition.
Several LCLD Member organizations have taken the same approach and joined forces for the LCLD 1L Scholars Program. In Richmond, Altria has partnered with Hunton & Williams for several years, and in 2016, McGuireWoods sent 1Ls to three different corporations.
For more information on the Latham & Watkins Diversity Fellowship, contact Yusuf Zakir.