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University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School establishes the Morgan Lewis Impact Fund for Racial Justice

June 01, 2021

With the support of a multi-year gift from the partners at Morgan Lewis, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School has established the Morgan Lewis Impact Fund for Racial Justice. The $250,000 fund will provide financial support to racial justice and anti-racism efforts at the Law School, expanding initiatives to advance racial justice in the classroom, in the community, and in the profession.

“We embrace the responsibility to focus the strength, dedication, and resources of our firm on meaningful and sustained impact toward a racially just society,” said Morgan Lewis Firm Chair Jami McKeon. “The Morgan Lewis Impact Fund for Racial Justice will support anti-racism programming in teaching, pro bono work, and student enrichment at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Supporting these initiatives for law students provides great impact as they prepare to enter the profession and will support change in our communities now and far into the future. We are very excited to launch this effort with an institution that shares that commitment.”

Penn Law has prioritized institutional changes that foster a more supportive and inclusive educational environment, significantly expanding its curriculum, administrative structure, and student support resources. These ongoing efforts, spearheaded by the Law School’s Office of Equity & Inclusion, aim to direct attention and resources to examining critical issues of race and to better equip students, staff, and faculty with the knowledge and skills to address the far-reaching manifestation and impacts of systemic racism.

“This generous gift comes during a year in which the challenges of the pandemic and a nation-wide reckoning with racial injustice revealed just how far our society and its institutions are from achieving the ideals of equity,” said Ted Ruger, Dean and Bernard G. Segal Professor of Law. “The Morgan Lewis Impact Fund for Racial Justice is an exciting opportunity for the Law School to expand our racial justice programming and continue our ongoing institutional work toward building an anti-racist future.”

Over the past five years, the Law School has added over 15 new courses that address matters of equity and inclusion, including five new courses on racial and social justice and civil rights offered for the Spring 2021 semester. All incoming students examine bias and systemic racism as part of the Law School’s Orientation programming, and several programs address the unique challenges BIPOC students may face. Numerous groups at the Law School have participated in anti-bias training over the past several years, and the diversity of the Law School’s student body, staff, and faculty is consistently increasing.

And in February, the Law School established the Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander Scholarships, three new scholarships for incoming Fall 2021 students whose education, experience, and professional commitments advance racial justice and honor the work and legacy of Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander L’27, the first Black woman to graduate from the Law School.

The establishment of the Morgan Lewis Impact Fund for Racial Justice will further aid in the expansion of programs that increase access to a legal education, support careers advancing racial justice, and enable increased developments for the Law School’s work towards empowering the next generation of advocates.

“As a law school, we take seriously our role in acknowledging and addressing the long-standing impacts of systemic racism,” said Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, the Law School’s inaugural Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer. “We have been steadfast in our efforts – expanding educational programs and increasing resources and support for BIPOC, but there is much more work to be done. As we continue to strive towards becoming an anti-racist institution, the generosity of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius will support new initiatives to advance racial justice in our communities and in the legal profession.”

Founded in Philadelphia in 1873, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is a global law firm and market leader across the full spectrum of legal services with more than 2,200 legal professionals in 31 offices across North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Morgan Lewis supports clients in a broad spectrum of major industries, from the established, global Fortune 100 companies to enterprising startups.

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School was established in 1850. Since that time, the Law School has been at the forefront of legal education. Today the hallmarks of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School experience are a cross-disciplinary, globally-focused legal education, and vibrant, collegial community. The Law School prepares graduates to navigate an increasingly complex world as leaders and influential decision-makers in the law and related fields.