V&E Awards Five $25,000 Diversity Fellowships to 2LS
Vinson & Elkins awarded five second-year law students 2018 Diversity Fellowships. Recipients Funmi Anifowoshe, Jennifer Chacon, Sebastian Devora, Natalie Harrison, and Kene Obi were selected from nearly 100 candidates who applied from U.S. law schools.
Each V&E Diversity Fellow receives $25,000 and a clerkship as a summer associate in one of the firm’s offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, New York, Richmond, San Francisco, or Washington, D.C., following the student’s second year of law school.
V&E’s diversity pipeline efforts began in 1990 with scholarships for diverse high school students. In 2007, the firm launched its Diversity Fellowship Program to attract and retain the finest lawyers from all backgrounds and perspectives. Since the program’s inception, V&E has awarded 49 Fellowships to underrepresented students, including racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ individuals.
Funmi Anifowoshe is a second-year student at George Washington University Law School. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the College of the Holy Cross. Anifowoshe worked as a Legal Projects Intern for Simplicity Corporation and as a Judicial Intern to Administrative Judge H. Alexander Manuel before starting her second-year of law school. Anifowoshe will be a summer associate in V&E’s Washington, D.C. office in May 2019. “I appreciate that V&E recognizes the importance and the value of diversity in the workplace, and I am honored to have been selected as a V&E Fellow. I have enjoyed interacting with all the V&E attorneys I have met so far and I am excited to continue building on these professional relationships,” said Anifowoshe. “I look forward to spending my summer in the firm's D.C. office.”
Jennifer Chacon is a second-year student at Cornell University Law School. She received her B.B.A. in Finance and a B.A. in Spanish from Southern Methodist University. Chacon served as an SEO law intern at another “AmLaw 100” firm prior to law school. SEO – Sponsors for Educational Opportunity – is a national pre-career program for top-achieving students. Chacon will be a summer associate in V&E’s Dallas office in May 2019. “I am honored to receive the Vinson & Elkins 2L Diversity Fellowship. As an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University I had the opportunity to spend several summers at Vinson & Elkins’ Dallas office as part of the V&E Scholars Program. It was an incredible opportunity to be able to see what a large firm was like and it further inspired my commitment to pursue law school” said Chacon. “I am excited to return this coming summer to learn more about practice as an attorney and to get to know more wonderful people on the V&E team.”
Sebastian Devora is a second-year student at New York University School of Law. He received his B.A. in Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard University. Devora worked as a senior legal assistant for two years before attending law school. He will be a summer associate in V&E’s Houston office in May 2019. "Being selected as a V&E Fellow has been a tremendous honor and opportunity to join a great community of attorneys. I'm grateful that I will be working at such an innovative and respected firm that is committed to diversity and inclusion,” said Devora.
Natalie Harrison is a second-year student at The University of Texas School of Law. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Washington. Harrison was a Teach For America Corps member from 2010-2014 in Charlotte, N.C. and later worked as the Director of Teacher Leadership Development at TFA before attending law school. Harrison will be a summer associate in V&E’s Dallas office in May 2019.
“It is an honor to have been chosen for the V&E Diversity Fellowship and to have the opportunity to clerk in the Dallas office this summer,” said Harrison. “I am excited to gain experience from and build relationships with attorneys in a firm that values diversity and inclusion.”
Kene Obi is a second-year student at Harvard Law School. He received his B.A. in Physics from Grinnell College and attained his M.S. in Electrical and Systems Engineering from Washington University in 2012. Before attending law school, Obi served as a Quality Control Engineer and a Patent Examiner. Also, Obi served as an SEO law intern at another “AmLaw 100” firm prior to law school. Obi will be a summer associate in V&E’s Houston office in May 2019.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be going back to V&E this summer,” said Obi. “My time there last summer was exciting; everyone was so eager to teach, support, and integrate me into the day-to-day matters at the firm.”
Nine former Diversity Fellowship recipients currently practice full-time at V&E including Tukeni Obasi (Energy Transactions); Arthur Munoz and Danial Abbasi (both Finance); Desi Baca, K.J. Pedersen, and Analiza Rodriguez (all M&A/Capital Markets); and Caroline Stewart, Eric Hernandez, and Michelle Arishita (all Commercial Litigation). Additionally, in September 2019, current third-year law students and V&E Fellows Shelby Hart-Armstrong, Lauren Lundy, Elizabeth Matthews, and Seth Yost will join V&E as full-time attorneys.
“Through V&E’s Fellowship program, we have been able to recruit incredibly talented law students from top schools,” said Mark Kelly, V&E Chairman and head of the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. “These five law students are among the best in the country and I’m really excited they are choosing to join Vinson & Elkins.”
To learn more about scholarships and fellowships available from Vinson & Elkins for diverse students – from high school seniors to rising second-year law students in the U.S. – visit the Diversity & Inclusion section of our website.