Allegheny County Bar Association Announces First Minority Summer Clerkship Program

Local law firms, corporate law departments, and government agencies help ACBA double its goal, resulting in the placement of 15 minority students

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – June 14, 2005. Executives of the Allegheny County Bar Association today announced that the association has started its first minority summer clerkship program, with 15 students from the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University law schools being placed in clerkships with some of the city’s law firms, corporate law departments and government agencies. The program is another step in the association’s on-going goal of increasing diversity in the Pittsburgh legal community, and it was developed with the assistance of the ACBA’s Law Firm, Law Department and Law School Task Forces.

According to Gene Harris, Diversity Coordinator for the Allegheny County Bar Association, “One of the reasons for the low number of minority attorneys in Pittsburgh is that we haven’t aggressively recruited minority law students from the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University early enough. Minority students often leave Pittsburgh after graduation because they develop prospects elsewhere during the summers and by the time they are third-year law students, they have mapped out an alternative to Pittsburgh. Administrators at our local law schools believe they will be able to attract more of the top minority students if they can advertise that they have job opportunities available during the summer.”

“Buy-in to the Allegheny County Bar Association’s diversity initiative by the local law firms, government agencies, and corporate law departments is critical to our on-going efforts,” says Harris, “and if the summer clerkship program is any indication, our diversity efforts are off to a good start. Our goal was to place seven or eight students in this the first year of the program, but due to an exceptional response from the legal community, we were able to double our goal.”

The students will work from 6 to 12 consecutive weeks and will perform duties that the participating legal organizations require, recognizing that the appropriateness, complexity and workload should be consistent with the “Suggested Guidelines for Supervising Attorneys” recommended by the task forces for first-year law students. In addition, the Allegheny County Bar Association will conduct professional development seminars every other Friday throughout the summer for the summer clerks.
The organizations that will employ the 15 minority law students are:

Buchanan Ingersoll, PC
Burns White & Hickton, PC
Dickie McCamey & Chilcote, PC
Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot, PC
Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling PC
Meyer Darragh Buckler Bebenek & Eck
Pepper Hamilton LLP
Pietragallo, Bosick, & Gordon
PPG Industries, Inc.
*The Public Defender’s Office
Reed Smith LLP
Tucker Arensberg, PC
U.S. Steel

*Kirkpatrick & Lockhart, LLP, opted to fund a summer clerkship for a student with the Allegheny County’s Public Defender’s Office.

According to Jim Carroll, President of the Allegheny County Bar Association, “when we began this diversity initiative effort a little more than a year ago, we knew we had a lot of work to do because the number of minority attorneys was far too low. But we knew that in order to have long-term and continued success, we would have to put some major building blocks in place and get the support of the entire legal community. These 15 organizations that have enthusiastically embraced our first summer clerkship program are helping us lay a strong foundation.”

Chartered in 1870 and headquartered in downtown Pittsburgh, The Allegheny County Bar Association is a professional organization with more than 6,500 member attorneys, judges, magisterial district judges, legal administrators and paralegals.