Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Law (SEO), an organization that connects talented from underserved and underrepresented communities with professional and educational opportunities, co-hosted a networking event for SEO Law Fellows and alumni on June 14 in New York. Preet Bharara, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and currently Distinguished Scholar in Residence at NYU School of Law, was the guest speaker at the event, which was attended by nearly 100 SEO Law participants and Milbank lawyers at the Yale Club.
Julian Johnson, Executive Vice President of SEO, welcomed the attendees, observing that SEO is proud to have its largest and most competitive law program class ever this year, with 100 fellows. Mr. Johnson thanked Milbank, one of 34 firms participating in the SEO Law program, for working with SEO Law for over two decades, and hosting 47 fellows.
Jerome McCluskey, Chair of Milbank’s Diversity Committee, acknowledged Milbank’s valuable relationship with SEO, noting that the firm looks forward to continuing this important work with up-and-coming SEO law students. Introducing the guest speaker, he said: “Commitment to diversity in the legal profession is as important today as ever. Mr. Bharara is an inspiring example of just how important that work is.”
With humor and wisdom, Mr. Bharara spoke about his career path to the US Attorney’s Office, noting that this role “will always be the greatest honor of my life.” Encouraging the lawyers and law students in attendance to devote at least some of their careers to public service, he said, “There is no greater calling than to be master and servant of the law.”
An immigrant and the first Indian-American to serve as U.S. Attorney, Mr. Bharara praised the efforts of SEO and emphasized the importance of diversity. As a U.S. Attorney, Mr. Bharara strove to build a diverse workforce, as diversity in law enforcement can promote fairness, build relationships with communities, and even help solve and prevent crime. Having diverse individuals in leadership roles can also expand horizons for young people, he said, leading to a “cycle of inspiration” that transcends differences.
Lawyers, sworn to uphold the truth and the Constitution, practice in a “special, storied and still noble profession,” Mr. Bharara said. He shared his advice for law students: “Study hard, learn the law, hone your craft, refute nonsense, keep the faith, and give back.” He also encouraged them to find opportunities to serve as leaders.
About Sponsors for Educational Opportunity
SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities. Today, SEO runs three programs: SEO Scholars is a free, eight-year academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college—with a 90% college graduation rate; SEO Career is a summer internship and professional development program targeting talented Black, Hispanic, and Native American undergrads and pre-law school candidates—with 80% of 2015 and 2016 interns receiving full-time job offers at SEO partner companies; SEO Alternative Investments provides education, exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented professionals traditionally underrepresented in the alternative investments sector. Nearly 90% of AI Fellows have secured jobs in the alternative investments sector. For more information, visit www.seo-usa.org.