Shipman Partners with National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA) to Advance Diversity in Public Defense and Transformational Leadership

Partnership Begins with Black Public Defender Association 2022 Summer Fellow

Shipman is proud to announce a three-year $225K commitment to the National Legal Aid and Defender Association (NLADA). This exciting collaboration begins with The Black Public Defender Association (BPDA) 2022 Summer Fellowship featuring Corey Evans, who recently completed his first year at UConn Law School. Evans will intern at the Connecticut Public Defender Office this summer with the support of Shipman. The BPDA Summer Fellowship program aims to advance diversity in public defense by giving black law students the opportunity to gain the necessary experience and develop the skills required to compete for post-graduate jobs in the equal justice community. Shipman will provide Corey a summer stipend and he will be paired with an experienced public defender member of BPDA that will serve as his mentor.

“It is critically important to create a diversity pipeline to train future Black public defenders because Black communities are disproportionately impacted by the criminal legal system,” said April Frazier Camara, NLADA President & CEO. “It is important for those who fight alongside people involved in the system to understand the client’s lived experiences. We know that unpaid internships are a barrier for most Black law students who are oftentimes first-generation students who cannot afford to work for free, so we are doing what we can to even the playing field.”

In the second and third years of the Shipman-NLADA partnership, Shipman and NLADA will work to advance NLADA’s Racial Equity Institute through sponsorship of leadership development opportunities for emerging and advanced leaders who are advancing racial equity in their legal organizations, law firms, and in our communities.

“Advancing the careers of women and people who are underrepresented in the legal profession is more than just a diversity, equity, and inclusion core value for Shipman,” said Leander Dolphin, Shipman’s Managing Partner. “It’s a sustained commitment that is central to Shipman’s strategic growth and success.” Leander is a member of Shipman’s School Law practice, advising educational institutions and businesses in a variety of matters, including employment, student matters, crisis management, and litigation.

Shipman’s success in recruiting, retaining, and promoting women has translated to success for Shipman’s clients and the firm overall. Shipman’s commitment to gender inclusion places it among the nation’s top firms. In 2021, Shipman earned Mansfield Plus certification for the second consecutive year. The firm earned the highest designation of Mansfield Rule Certification in recognition of its commitment to enhancing diversity among its leadership. The firm has reached at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation among a notable number of its current leadership roles, in addition to meeting or exceeding the baseline certification requirements. More than 45% of the firm’s lawyers are women, and 12% self-identify as diverse.

Shipman was one of only 92 law firms nationwide to achieve Mansfield 4.0 Certification Plus and is one of 166 participating in Mansfield 5.0 certification for 2022. The firm’s ongoing participation in the Mansfield Rule certification process ensures Shipman consistently and consciously considers diversity when making hiring, promotion, and other critical organizational and business decisions.

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