Downey Brand’s strategy for increasing diversity within our law firm focuses on a far-reaching approach that goes well beyond the confines of our individual business. The firm has made multi-year commitments of finances and time to achieving diversity not only in hiring, but in diversifying the broader pipeline of students that enter careers in law, business and public service. Downey Brand’s diversity initiatives are part of a long-term approach and include the following programs:
King Hall Outreach Program/Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program at UC Davis School of Law
Downey Brand has served as a UC Davis School of Law King Hall Outreach Program (KHOP) partner since 2009 and also hosts the annual summer luncheon. Established in 2001, the KHOP Program is a unique initiative that helps college students from underrepresented communities prepare for the law school admissions process. In addition to providing mentoring and pre-law advising during the school year, the program hosts college juniors and seniors for a series of workshops in which students gain valuable knowledge about the law school admission process, learn writing, analytical, and logical reasoning skills, develop study techniques for taking the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and explore career paths available to law school graduates. Among KHOP program alumni, ninety-nine percent have graduated from a four-year institution, and forty-one percent are enrolled or have graduated from a law program. In 2014, the King Hall Outreach Program received the California State Bar Education Pipeline Awardfor its important role in diversifying the legal profession.
Sacramento County Bar Fellowship Program
Downey Brand was one of the founding members and was instrumental in forming the Sacramento County Bar Association’s Summer Fellowship Program. Going strong after more than 20 years, the Fellowship Program places first year minority and disadvantaged law students in summer internships with Sacramento-area law firms to provide them with professional experience. Every summer since its inception, our firm has hosted one to two first-year minority law students from either Pacific McGeorge or UC Davis School of Law. Through the years, Downey Brand has been an active supporter of the Diversity Career forum and the annual Unity Bar Dinner.
California ChangeLawyer (formerly California Bar Foundation) Diversity Scholarship Program
Downey Brand is a named sponsor of The California ChangeLawyer’s Diversity Scholarship program, which financially supports newly admitted law students from diverse backgrounds as they study to enter California’s legal community. Originally affiliated with the California State Bar, California ChangeLawyer promotes equal access to the justice system and strives to build a better legal community reflective of California’s diverse population. Through contributions from law firms, leading corporations and other donors, the California ChangeLawyer’s Diversity Scholarship Program has been awarding scholarships since 2008. In 2015, more than 225 rising first-year law students applied for the California ChangeLawyer Diversity Scholarship, with 30 worthy recipients receiving scholarships.
Cristo Rey High School
Cristo Rey High School is a Catholic, co-ed, college prep school that provides quality education for youth from diverse, low-income families. A major component is their work study program that offers positions to young people to learn professional skills. The students’ work, in turn, helps to offset the cost of their education. The benefits of the program are outstanding and provide the students with four years of “real-world” work experience as well as rigorous college preparatory coursework. This has proven to be a successful model with 100 percent of the graduates accepted to a two-year or four-year college. Cristo Rey Sacramento opened its doors in August 2006 with an inaugural freshman class of 94 students and has grown to over 300 students. Downey Brand has served as a corporate sponsor since its inception, providing internships for more than 30 students.