Archive for June 2011

Warner Norcross Awards LSAT Prep Scholarships to Six Students

For the fourth consecutive year, the law firm of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has awarded Law School Admissions Test Preparation scholarships to six minority students.

The Warner Norcross program provides scholarships to enable minority students from Michigan or minority students attending a Michigan college or university to attend a study course to prepare them to take the LSAT. Studies have shown that students who take a formal prep course score higher on the LSAT, which determines entrance into law school.

The scholarship recipients are:

  • Maximo Anguiano, of Lansing, who attends Grand Valley State University
  • Similoluwa Anifowoshe, of Detroit, who attends Marygrove College in Detroit
  • Elle Catlin, of East Grand Rapids, who attends Albion College
  • Marsheda Patrice Ewulomi, of Lansing, who attends the University of Michigan
  • Beatrice Hinton, of New Jersey, who attends the University of Michigan
  • Justin Thomas, Ypsilanti, who attends Hampton University in Virginia

“We are very pleased to award LSAT Prep Scholarships to these deserving students,” said Rodney Martin, diversity partner at Warner Norcross. “Our firm is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, and this scholarship program is one of the ways we assist in broadening access to law schools for students of color.”

The LSAT program is one of two scholarship initiatives offered by the firm to promote diversity in the legal profession. Warner Norcross also sponsors a Minority Scholarship Program that provides tuition assistance to a selected law, paralegal and legal secretarial student.

Since it began its scholarship programs, Warner Norcross has awarded more than $100,000 to support scholarship programs that encourage minority students to pursue a career in the law.

Warner Norcross Signs Bar Association’s Diversity Collaborative Agreement

Reaffirming its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP has signed the Managing Partners Diversity Collaborative Agreement sponsored by the Grand Rapids Bar Association (GRBA).

Managing Partner Douglas E. Wagner was among the signatories during the June 13th ceremony. The collaborative agreement is a formal commitment between the Grand Rapids Bar Association and 12 area law firms to work with others “to achieve diversity and inclusion in the education, hiring, retention and promotion of Michigan’s attorneys and in the elevation of attorneys to leadership positions.”

Specifically, Warner Norcross, the GRBA and other area law firms committed to a five-year action plan that pledges to:

  • Increase the number of attorneys of color within five years
  • Improve the rate of retention and advancement of female attorneys and attorneys of color
  • Expand the pipeline of persons of color who enter law school and the legal profession

“If we want to advance as a legal community, diversity must be a top priority for all of us,” Wagner said. “Warner Norcross is proud to be among the inaugural group of signatories to the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s initiative to promote diversity and inclusion. As a community, we have made solid strides over the years, but we still have work to do. The Bar Association has laid out a framework that will allow area law firms to address the issues of hiring, retaining and expanding leadership opportunities for attorneys of color and women.”

Warner Norcross has a strong and lengthy track record in diversity initiatives, including:

  • Being among the first Michigan law firms to sign the State Bar of Michigan Pledge to Achieve Diversity and Inclusion
  • Providing scholarships to encourage women and minorities to pursue legal careers
  • Providing scholarships to encourage minority students to prepare for the Law School Admissions Test, or LSAT, which is the entrance exam to law school
  • Supporting community initiatives, such as a mock trial program for high school students and an annual writing contest for elementary school students that honors the work and vision of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Expanding attorney recruiting efforts to ensure a diverse candidate pool of new associates
  • Developing policies to increase workplace flexibility, including alternative tracks to partnership
  • Offering numerous internal education programs, including a One Book, One Firm reading and discussion program, as well as lunch-and-learn programs
  • Strengthening mentoring programs to ensure that all attorneys have the opportunity to succeed and grow
  • Publishing a Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report, now entering its sixth year

Last year, the firm’s diversity initiatives received multiple awards, including the Alfred P. Sloane for Workplace Excellence in Flexibility and the Racial Justice Unity Award from the Knights of Peter Claver. Additionally, Warner Norcross was named one of the Top Work Places in the state by The Detroit Free Press and one of the 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For in Grand Rapids and Southeast Michigan. The firm’s diversity program has also been honored by Crain’s Detroit Business, Corp! and the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Grand Race 2011 Results

Grand Race Road Rally 2011 from Warner Norcross & Judd Diversity on Vimeo.

Twelve teams competed in the Grand Race Road Rally on Saturday, June 11. The Grand Race Road Rally challenges four-person teams to follow clues that take them around the Grand Rapids area to locations where they take on challenges that introduce them to the diverse peoples that live in our community. The Grand Race Road Rally is organized for Warner Norcross by the Public Museum.

This year Warner Norcross invited 5 teams from area busineses to join the 7 teams from the firm. Teams from Fifth Third Bank, Irwin Seating, Priority Health and Spectrum Health participated.

Each team followed a clue that lead them from the Museum to one of 7 area sites where they had to complete a challenge to earn their next clue. The challenges were not all that daunting. They included, for example, sampling wonderful desserts at a Bosnian bakery and touring a Hindu temple. After checking in at all 7 sites, the teams raced back to the Museum where they faced another challenge, trying out a move taught by a martial arts team. All of the teams enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about Grand Rapids’ diverse cultural groups.

The winners received prizes including a gift card to some of the merchants who opened their businesses to us. In addition, they received a custom made loving cup that was turned on the lathe at the Musuem.

As usual, we had winner in in two divisions. In the Warner Norcross Division, Warner attorney Andrea Bernard and her family brought home the victory. In the Clients and Friends Division, Irwin Seating, competing for a second year, was the victor.

We are very grateful to the Grand Rapids Public Museum for all they do each year to make this such a great event. The Public Museum is an amazing cultural resource in our community.