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Vinson & Elkins Awards 18 Diversity Fellowships to First-Year Law Students

Vinson & Elkins Awards 18 Diversity Fellowships to First-Year Law Students Background Image

Through the Vinson & Elkins Diversity Fellowship program, 18 first-year law students were selected from numerous candidates who applied.

Each diversity fellow receives $25,000 and a clerkship as a summer associate in one of the firm’s U.S.-based offices following their first year of law school.

Vinson & Elkins’ diversity pipeline efforts began in 1990 with its Diversity Scholarship program, awarding college scholarships to high school seniors who are LGBTQ+ and students of color. In 2008, the firm launched its Diversity Fellowship program to attract and retain the finest lawyers from all backgrounds and perspectives. Last fall, 17 second-year law students were selected to receive 2L diversity fellowships and in March 2022, 18 first-year law students were selected to receive 1L diversity fellowships, bringing the total number of fellowships awarded to more than 130 since the program’s inception.

“Our diversity fellowships exemplify our firm’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Manuel Berrelez, Lead Partner – Recruiting and member of the firm’s Diversity Executive Committee. “These investments in DE&I enable us to hire some of the highest caliber law students from across the country while also alleviating their financial burdens. With the addition of our fellows, we strengthen our foundation for success as a firm. I am proud to be part of an institution that remains committed to increasing diversity and inclusion within the legal industry and includes DE&I among its core values.”

The following students, representing 10 law schools, are the 2022 1L diversity fellowship recipients who will be joining as summer associates in one of Vinson & Elkins’ U.S. offices:

  • Poonam Agrawal (The University of Texas School of Law, Houston office)
  • Cosmo Albrecht (Harvard Law School, Houston office)
  • Lauryn Bennett (Stanford Law School, Houston office)
  • Cara Day (New York University School of Law, New York office)
  • Jacqueline Edmonds (University of Michigan School of Law, Houston office)
  • Adrian Hernandez (Columbia Law School, Houston office)
  • Ethan Moore (University of Chicago Law School, Dallas office)
  • Stephen Neilson (Harvard Law School, Dallas office)
  • Stacie Nguyen (The University of Texas School of Law, Houston office)
  • Sergio Tellez Noguez (Columbia Law School, Houston office)
  • Lewis Ntolla (Georgetown Law, Houston office)
  • Isabella Parlette (The University of Texas School of Law, Houston office)
  • Josh Payne (Harvard Law School, Houston office)
  • Nia Prince (Yale Law School, Houston office)
  • Ana Rijal (The University of Texas School of Law, Dallas office)
  • Syed Rizvi (Harvard Law School, Houston office)
  • Kevin Si (Harvard Law School, Houston office)
  • Andy Yang (University of Virginia School of Law, Houston office)

“No firm has played a more vital role in my journey to and through law school than Vinson & Elkins. V&E has provided me with the opportunity to learn about attorney recruitment as an undergraduate intern in Talent Management, to prepare for law school through the Law Preview Scholarship, and now to work with the best attorneys as a 1L summer associate and diversity fellow,” said Agrawal. “I have always known V&E to be deeply committed to the growth and inclusion of diverse perspectives. It is clear to me that the firm not only excels in providing legal services, but also in providing a platform for every individual to be celebrated and heard.”

Eleven former fellows will start their careers with the firm in September 2022 and 17 former diversity fellows are currently attorneys at Vinson & Elkins, including Michelle ArishitaAngie Garcia, Shelby Hart-Armstrong, and Elizabeth Matthews (all Complex Commercial Litigation); Sebastian Devora and Kene Obi (both Energy Transaction/Projects); Jyra BickhamNatalie Harrison, Arthur Muñoz, and Tania Pinon Venegas (all Finance); Emiliano Aguirre, Desi Baca, Jennifer ChaconPhil Greenfield, K.J. Pedersen, and Ryan Polk (all M&A/Capital Markets); and Ida Ayalew (Restructuring & Reorganization).

“From the beginning, Vinson & Elkins has continuously proven to me how much value they place on furthering diverse representation within the legal field. Being brought into the Dallas office as an SEO pre-law fellow last summer, I immediately recognized the infrastructure within the firm that has cultivated a richer environment for students and attorneys from underrepresented backgrounds to flourish into the best versions of themselves. I am immensely honored to be welcomed back as a 1L diversity fellow,” said fellowship recipient Moore.

In addition to the fellowship and scholarship programs, Vinson & Elkins also recently announced it is the founding sponsor of The University of Texas School of Law’s Pipeline Program, an initiative dedicated to supporting aspiring lawyers in high school, college, and law school from underrepresented backgrounds. The $1 million sponsorship commitment will support initiatives to increase diversity in the legal profession.

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, Equity & Inclusion section of our website. V&E is currently accepting applications from high school seniors in Texas for its Diversity Scholars program. Access the application here.

About Vinson & Elkins
For more than a century, Vinson & Elkins has provided outstanding client service across important industries that drive the global economy. Built on a strong culture of collaboration across 11 offices worldwide, V&E lawyers are committed to excellence, offering clients decades of legal experience in handling transactions, investments, projects and disputes across the globe. Learn more by visiting or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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