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City Bar Announces 2012 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award Winners – Event Set for June 5th

The New York City Bar Association will present its 2012 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Awards at a ceremony and luncheon on June 5, 2012. (Get info and purchase tickets here.) The award recognizes the critical role individual attorneys have played in initiating and sustaining change within their organizations and the overall New York legal community. The award recipients embody the New York City Bar’s Statement of Diversity Principles, which defines diversity as an inclusive concept, encompassing race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, nationality, age, disability and marital and parental status.

The 2012 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award winners are:

Steven Banks
Steven Banks is Attorney-in-Chief at The Legal Aid Society, which has a staff of 1,600, including 1,000 lawyers, and provides legal assistance in all five boroughs in 300,000 legal matters annually through its Criminal, Juvenile Rights and Civil Practices. Motivated by a commitment to represent indigent New Yorkers, Mr. Banks began his career there thirty-one years ago as a Staff Attorney. Throughout his career he has developed a reputation as someone who understands the importance of diversity in the public interest legal model. Towards that goal, working with the Legal Aid management team, the Association of Legal Aid  Attorneys, the Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid, and 1199 SEIU, he has led efforts to implement several diversity initiatives, including revamped recruitment initiatives, innovative investigator and law student internship programs, “Awareness Month” events, and a new mentoring program. Among the Society’s diversity achievements are: two of the three leaders of its Practices are persons of color and two are women; 40% of the Criminal Defense and Juvenile Rights borough management consists of persons of color; diverse applicants made up half of the early offers for the 2012 Criminal Defense staff attorney class; and half of those hired for the 2011 Criminal Defense class consisted of diverse law graduates and attorneys.

Eric J. Friedman
Eric Friedman is the Executive Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP. Under his leadership, the firm has reinforced its long-standing commitment to attracting, retaining and developing a diverse group of talented lawyers and staff. Since assuming the role of Executive Partner in April 2009, Mr. Friedman was named as one of three “Most Influential” law firm leaders by The National Law Journal.  In addition, Skadden was named the first-ever “Law Firm of the Year” by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in recognition of the firm’s diversity, inclusion and public service efforts. Mr. Friedman is a member of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, a national organization of corporate chief legal officers and law firm managing partners. He is also the Chair and Trustee of Skadden’s Fellowship Foundation, which provides funding for graduating law students and judicial clerks who are dedicating their careers to providing legal services to underserved members of society.

Don H. Liu
Don Liu is Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of Xerox Corporation, where he is responsible for all of Xerox’s legal and government affairs. Throughout his career, Mr. Liu has been committed to increasing the hiring, retention and promotion of diverse attorneys. This commitment is reflected in his stewardship of Xerox’s legal department and in his leadership and involvement in national and regional diversity organizations. He is an active member and former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and is the Vice Chairman of the Asian American Diversity Advisory Council for Comcast Corporation. He also served as the Chair of the In-House Counsel Committee of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), which honored him with their ICON Award and Trailblazer Award. He most recently is the recipient of the Leadership Award by the Asian American Bar Association of New York (AABANY) and the Legacy Diversity Award by the American Bar Association’s Council on Legal Education Opportunity.

Lorraine S. McGowen
Lorraine McGowen is a partner in the restructuring practice group at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP. She is also a member of Orrick’s Board of Directors, a former practice group leader and has chaired Orrick’s Diversity and Inclusion Initiative since 2005. As a member of Orrick’s senior leadership, Ms. McGowen has supported the advancement of diverse individuals at the firm through mentorship, leadership and collaboration on successful diversity and inclusion initiatives and policies. Ms. McGowen is an active member of Legal Outreach’s Board of Legal Advisors, and through her advocacy Orrick has supported the program for nearly a decade. She is also on the Board of Directors for Legal Momentum and the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest.  In addition, she is the former Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Minorities in the Profession and is currently on the Advisory Committee of the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, through which Orrick hosts an attorney participating in the South African Visiting Lawyer Program.

Tickets to the 2012 Diversity & Inclusion Champion Award Luncheon may be purchased on the City Bar’s online event calendar.

For further information please contact Elizabeth Dorfman at (212) 382-6772 or email her.

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