Aug. 23, 2021
Kanani F. Watts, left in photo above, spent this summer as an intern in Nelson Mullins’ Diverse Pipeline Outreach Program, a program in which she spent a month in the firm’s Raleigh office learning about legal careers.
Watts is a student at North Carolina Central University where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science with a concentration in Political Theory (Pre-Law). She has an expected graduation date of December 2021.
“We are hopeful that this unique program had a real impact on Ms. Watts’ desire to make an indelible mark on the legal profession,” said Raleigh partner Ariel Roberson, who co-founded the program along with Charlotte partner Jack Slosson. “Her impact was equally rewarding for us, as it is always wonderful to see the practice of law through fresh eyes. We look forward to what is to come for Ms. Watts and the program.”
Watts said the experience reinforced her desire to attend law school.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience this summer,” Watts said. “It was priceless because of the: (1) mentorship; (2) feedback on my writing assignments; (3) opportunity to draft court documents; (4) research assignments; and (5) depositions and hearings I observed. I’m so thankful for the chance to expand my understanding of the legal profession, and I look forward to going to law school even more because of this experience.”
The goal of Nelson Mullins’ Diverse Pipeline Outreach Program is to increase diversity among law students and legal professionals by helping undergraduates fully understand the importance and opportunities of a career in law.
“According to the ABA National Lawyer Survey, over the last 10 years the percentage of Black attorneys has decreased while the percentages of Asian American and Hispanic Americans have only increased by 1%,” noted Kat Taylor, Nelson Mullins’ director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. “Our Diverse Pipeline Program is not only critical to our firm’s success in diversity, but to the legal profession itself.”
Nelson Mullins is partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the Carolinas to introduce students to the legal profession; spotlight various areas of specialization; provide prospective law students with a road map of the many practical steps necessary to becoming a lawyer; and outline the challenges and rewards of a legal education and career. The program offers a paid internship given to one student per participating school to allow the recipient to explore the profession in a firm office of their choice.
The program was recognized by Profiles in Diversity Journal as a Top 10 Innovation in Diversity 2020.
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