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Vinson & Elkins Awards Diversity Fellowships to 5 Students

Published: 11-29-2017

Vinson & Elkins has awarded five second-year law students 2017 Diversity Fellowships. Recipients Debbie Farmer, Shelby Hart-Armstrong, Lauren Lundy, Elizabeth Matthews and Seth Yost were selected from nearly 100 candidates who applied from U.S. law schools.

Each diversity fellow receives $12,000 and a clerkship as a V&E summer associate in the firm’s Austin, Dallas, Houston, New York, Richmond, San Francisco or Washington, D.C. offices following his or her 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 44 Fellowships to underrepresented students, including racial/ethnic minorities and LGBTQ individuals.

Debbie Farmer is a second-year student at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. She received her B.A. in General Studies, summa cum laude, from Southeastern Louisiana State University. Farmer is the founder of A Affordable Bail Bonds, which has four U.S. offices with $1 million in sales per year. Farmer will be a summer associate in V&E’s Dallas office in May 2018.

Shelby Hart-Armstrong is a second-year student at Stanford Law School. She received her B.A. in Public Policy Analysis and Arabic Language, higher distinction, from Duke University. Hart-Armstrong 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. Hart-Armstrong will be a summer associate in V&E’s Houston office in May 2018.

Lauren Lundy is a second-year student at New York University School of Law. She received her B.A. in Finance, summa cum laude, from Auburn University. Lundy worked as a Campus Fellow for two years with Impact Alabama SaveFirst before attending law school. She will be a summer associate in V&E’s New York office in May 2018.

Elizabeth Matthews is a second-year student at UCLA School of Law. She received her B.A. in Religious Studies, Departmental Honors, from Brown University. Matthews was a collegiate swimmer at Brown and competed on the Ivy Championship Team four years in a row. She was a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Jinmen, Taiwan and worked at an immigration law firm before starting law school. Matthews will be a summer associate in V&E’s San Francisco office in May 2018.

“I am excited to be a V&E Fellow and spend the summer at a firm that is committed to diversity efforts,” said Matthews. “I look forward to learning about life at V&E and working with the wonderful people I have met so far.”

Seth Yost is a second-year student at University of Virginia School of Law. He received his B.M. in Music Education and French Horn Performance with a 4.0 GPA from University of Arkansas and attained his Master of Music from Southern Methodist University in 2009. Before attending law school, Yost served as a Unit Leader in the Navy Band Northwest. He will be a summer associate in V&E’s Dallas office in May 2018.

"I am humbled and honored to be chosen for a V&E Diversity Fellowship in the Dallas office,” said Yost. “This opportunity to clerk for such an outstanding firm will help me to gain the vital experience I need to be a successful attorney after law school. The people at V&E have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and valuable and I am so excited for next summer.”

Six former Diversity Fellowship recipients currently practice full-time at V&E including Olivia Wang (Energy Transactions), Bo Shi, Desi Baca and K.J. Pedersen (all M&A/Capital Markets) and Caroline Stewart and Michelle Arishita (both Commercial Litigation). Additionally, in September 2018, current third-year law students and V&E Fellows Danial Abbasi, Eric Hernandez, Arthur Munoz, Tukeni Obasi and Analiza Rodriguez will join V&E as full-time attorneys.

“Each year through our Fellowship program, we meet and hire some of the most talented and sought-after law students from across the country,” said Mark Kelly, V&E Chairman and head of the firm’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. “It’s an opportunity for us to strengthen the firm with top legal talent.”

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