“There was an extraordinary amount of interest. These Orrick associates spend a year focusing on racial and social justice

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This week’s Legal Speak features the affairs of legal journalist Patrick Smith in conversation with Orrick partners Andrea Mazingo and Walter Alarkon, two of the firm’s top six racial, social and economic justice scholars. Orrick created the scholarship program in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd and nationwide protests against racism and systemic inequality. Fellows selected for the scholarship spend 2021 working full-time in partner nonprofit organizations focused on civil rights, racial justice, and economic empowerment.

Walter Alarkon, Orrick partner. Courtesy photo

Alarkon discusses his work at Common Future, an Oakland-based group that strives to build a more equitable economy through grants and networking. Mazingo is spending his year at A New Way of Life, a California-based rehabilitation organization that focuses on family reunification after incarceration. Mazingo describes the myriad of challenges parents face in regaining custody of their children once released from prison.

Orrick’s partner Andrea Mazingo. Courtesy photo

Mazingo and Alarkon also discuss why they wanted to take a break from their Big Law work to focus on social and racial justice, the intensive selection process they went through to land their scholarships, and why law students and law students alike. Law firm associates today want opportunities to give back. Orrick’s scholarship program could help the company stand out in the associate recruiting arena, they said.

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