Preeminence requires diversity.
We believe the diversity of our unique backgrounds and perspectives make us a better, more vibrant law firm. That is why we continue to leverage our differences to provide even more innovative service to our clients—by recruiting and developing exceptional attorneys who are as diverse as our clients and have demonstrated the ability to lead, a commitment to excellence, and a desire to help the communities we serve.
Our success ultimately depends on the thoughtful implementation of a distinct hiring strategy. When we are considering adding a new fall associate or lateral candidate, we work to identify traits that reflect those of our most successful attorneys—self-confidence, emotional intelligence, ambition, community-mindedness, and a desire to carve out their own career path. Throughout the process, we seek individuals who enhance our personality, culture, and values.
We invite you to explore our efforts to connect with prospective attorneys and provide hands-on experience throughout their career development, as well as to hire attorneys who bring established practices in virtually every area of law.
Supporting Young, Diverse Talent
From high school leading up to State Bar admission, we are involved at nearly every stage of a prospective attorney’s development. Through mentorship programs, networking events, and law school affinity groups, we connect with students from a variety of backgrounds and help guide them in their pursuit of a legal career.
The University of Houston Law Center Pre-Law Pipeline Program provides first-generation, low-income, and minority students with law school preparatory resources, including LSAT training, introductory classes, internships, and professional development workshops.
Since the program's inception, Jamila Brinson has taken an active role in mentoring student participants. This year, Jamila mentored a Dillard University student and spearheaded our involvement in the PreLaw Undergraduate Student (PLUS) Scholars Program.
Thurgood Marshall School of Law
For over 70 years, Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law (TMSL) has accelerated equality, diversity, and opportunity to reflect the values of Justice Thurgood Marshall. As part of its efforts to enhance diversity by expanding the pool of law schools from which Jackson Walker recruits, Jackson Walker partners with TMSL to provide programming for students and alumni alike. Chevazz Brown, Earl Latchley, and Monica Lopez – all graduates of TMSL – are active in these efforts, and Chevazz has recently been selected to chair the school’s first ever fundraising gala. He also co-chairs its annual corporate counsel reception.
Our Recruitment Statistics
In Bruce Ruzinsky's eyes, nothing is more valuable than integrity. In addition to his multifaceted role at Jackson Walker, Bruce imparts the value of integrity to law school students through his involvement on the Advisory Board of PracticePro, the UNCF South Texas Leadership Council, and Houston Bar Association's Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee.
In sharing advice to new attorneys, Bruce says:
"There are many opportunities to be involved in your community outside of work. Lawyers have a responsibility to help the communities in which they live."
Summer Associate Program
We take a personal approach when recruiting top law school talent. Every summer, we open up our offices to JD students. Our strategy is to recruit a relatively small number of highly qualified summer associates who are interested in private practice over the long term. When we hire a new associate, it is with the expectation that he or she can become a partner.
Summer associates are assigned Responsible Attorneys, who keep in touch throughout the program and who help with integration into the Firm. Responsible Attorneys truly get to know the summer associates they mentor.
Many summer associates arrive with a strong preference for a given area of law. However, it is not uncommon for those preferences to change as students discover new practice areas. Over the course of the program, students work on projects within their preferred practice areas and attend client meetings, closings, negotiations, depositions, trials, and courtroom hearings.
In one of the program's most rewarding experiences, our summer associates participate in a mock trial before a jury of non-lawyers. For this exercise, our attorneys act as presiding judges and trim down actual cases that have been or will be tried. In other cases, summer associates may participate in a mediation seminar, where they receive practical instruction designed to help them become better advocates for their clients in mediation.
Each city has a full social calendar for the summer. We also host a statewide summer associate event that brings all our Summer Associates together in one office for a special presentation by Managing Partner Wade Cooper and our other department heads.
Expanding Our Pipeline
As part of our continued effort to develop a pipeline of diverse legal talent, we partner with several initiatives across the nation to reach students at each level of education and help grow their knowledge of the law. We also work to help women attorneys re-enter the legal profession after a hiatus. By participating in diversity job fairs and clerkships, our Firm proudly contributes to the nationwide effort to educate and impact prospective attorneys.
Austin Bar Association Diversity Fellowship Program
Every summer, we welcome first-year minority law students from the Austin Bar Association’s Diversity Fellowship Program to participate in our Summer Associates Program. Through this 10-week fellowship, University of Texas students gain hands-on experience working with a public sector employer for the first half of the summer and a mid- to large-sized firm during the second half.
HBA 1L Minority Summer Clerkship & Mentoring Program
For over two decades, the Houston Bar Association’s Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession (MOILP) Committee has offered a summer clerkship program to create new employment and mentoring opportunities for first-year minority law students from three area schools—University of Houston Law Center, South Texas College of Law Houston, and Thurgood Marshall School of Law. We are proud that we met two of our partners, Chevazz Brown and Marisela Peña Gonzalez, through this program, and we look forward to meeting future 1L clerks.
Partnering With Leadership Council on Legal Diversity
The Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) comprises over 275 corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners dedicated to creating a truly diverse legal profession. Its action programs, which begin with law school and carry through partnership, are designed to help a new, more diverse generation of attorneys rise to positions of leadership. Our participation spans most aspects of the organization, including the 1L LCLD Scholars Program and Summit.
During this year's summer internship, Jackson Walker welcomed 10 diverse 1L scholars and sent them to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to attend the 1L LCLD Scholars Summit. Held from May 22-24, the scholars participated in breakout sessions, mock interviews, and networking exercises.
PracticePro 1L Diversity Scholar Program
Launched in 2013, PracticePro is a legal education startup committed to improving the legal profession by training attorneys who are better prepared for law practice. Through the PracticePro 1L Diversity Scholar Program, we hosted a minority first-year law student from Texas Southern University, equipping the student with practice skills and a foundation for a valuable network. Also, as part of the program, Chevazz Brown and Monica Lopez participated at the Texas Career Conference & Reception held in March, during which Monica served as a panelist.
In April, Carolyn Mitchell joined Jackson Walker through the OnRamp Fellowship, which matches women attorneys with yearlong paid fellowships. The Firm has partnered with OnRamp since 2016.
“Our partnership with the OnRamp Fellowship enables us to become even more diverse and inclusive while also providing women lawyers returning to the workforce a chance to demonstrate their potential as leaders,” Managing Partner Wade Cooper said.
Determination, Perseverance, and Resilience
As the youngest child of farm labor contractors, Monica Lopez spent her summers working in the fields of Oregon, and her school years in Mission, Texas. Though her parents, who emigrated from Mexico as young children, dropped out of middle school to help their families work in the fields, they always stressed the value of education.
That motivation drove her to graduate at the top of her high school class and receive the Gates Millennium Scholarship to attend the University of Texas at Austin, and ultimately graduate as the valedictorian of her class at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
“It is through my parents’ life, lessons and leadership that I truly learned the meaning of my Hispanic heritage. It is family, sacrifice, humility, respect and appreciation. It encompasses everything about determination, perseverance, and resilience.”
In addition to her litigation practice, Dawn Holiday volunteers her time as a women’s ministry leader, author, and teacher at Crossover Bible Fellowship and currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Northland Christian School in Houston.
“Having worked with Dawn on the Houston Bar Association’s Minority Opportunities in the Legal Profession Committee (MOILP), I have seen first-hand her strong work ethic and dedication to making a difference in the community,” partner Bruce Ruzinsky said.
Houston partner and Diversity Committee member Wasif Qureshi has been involved with the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) since 2014, when he was named an LCLD Fellow. He serves as the Houston City Chair for the LCLD Law School Mentoring Program, which helps ensure that talented law students from diverse backgrounds receive the mentoring they need to be successful, during law school and afterwards.
"Having great mentors has made a huge impact on my career, so I want to help ensure that the next wave of future attorneys gets the kind of advice and guidance that has helped me be successful."