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April 17, 2008


NEW YORK, NY, April 17, 2008 – The City College of New York (CCNY) announced today that the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has committed $9.6 million over 10 years for the creation of a new rigorous and expansive program to increase diversity in law schools and the legal profession. 

The Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom Honors Program in Legal Studies at CCNY (Skadden, Arps Honors Program) will provide talented students from diverse backgrounds with the education, groundwork and experience necessary to gain admission to, and succeed in, competitive law schools. Announcement of the program coincides with the firm’s 60th anniversary.

“For 160 years, CCNY has provided a world-class education to, in the words of our former President Alexander Webb, ‘the children of the whole people’ – not only giving them access to the American dream, but also bringing their talents to every area of American society,” said CCNY President Gregory H. Williams. “Thanks to this commitment from Skadden, Arps, we will create a nationally recognized undergraduate program in legal studies at one of the most diverse colleges in the nation that will help attract promising students across all ethnic and economic backgrounds to careers in the law.”

“Since our founding in 1948, Skadden has recognized that excellence and diversity are intertwined, and we have sought to address the persistent lack of diversity in the legal profession,” said Joseph H. Flom, Skadden Senior Partner.

“Based on its long history of diversity and academic excellence, combined with the deep commitment of its administration, CCNY is our ideal partner as we work to identify the most motivated students across the country at an important crossroad in their academic lives. As we move ahead, we are delighted to have the counsel of the most experienced legal educators and administrators on this program’s Board of Advisors.”

Recent reports indicate that approximately 11 percent of the nation’s lawyers are minorities, compared to approximately 25 percent of physicians/surgeons, 21 percent of accountants/auditors, and 18 percent of college/university teachers.

The Skadden, Arps Honors Program is expected to welcome its first participants for the 2008-09 school year. CCNY freshmen and sophomores will be eligible to enroll in a pre-honors sequence to help cultivate their interest in legal studies and careers in law, and to help recruit and assess interested and qualified students as junior and senior-level program scholars. 

When the program is fully implemented, up to 100 juniors and seniors, selected through a highly competitive process, will participate in a two-year scholars program. The Skadden, Arps Scholars will benefit from:

  • An honors curriculum of special courses and seminars to complement a wide range of majors and further prepare the students to enter and thrive in the nation’s top law schools;
  • Need- and merit-based financial assistance;
  • LSAT preparation;
  • Paid summer internships at law firms, corporations and public interest organizations nationwide;
  • Assistance in transitioning to law school; and
  • Mentoring by attorneys at Skadden and other leading legal employers.

Other program elements include an endowed professorship and creation of the Skadden, Arps Legal Honors Center on the CCNY campus, where students can gather as well as meet with tutors and advisors. In addition, dormitory space will be offered for students from outside New York State, in order to attract the most promising individuals from across the country.

A Board of Advisors consisting of prominent attorneys and legal educators is providing counsel for the development of the Skadden, Arps Honors Program. In addition to Mr. Flom and President Williams, members include:

  • Dennis W. Archer, Chairman, Dickinson Wright PLLC and past president of the American Bar Association
  • Michael A. Fitts, Dean of University of Pennsylvania Law School;
  • Elena Kagan, Dean of Harvard Law School;
  • Harold H. Koh, Dean of Yale Law School;
  • Larry D. Kramer, Dean of Stanford Law School;
  • Saul Levemore, Dean of University of Chicago Law School;
  • Michele Coleman Mayes, General Counsel of The Allstate Corp.;
  • Richard L. Revesz, Dean of New York University School of Law;
  • Gloria Santona, General Counsel of McDonald’s Corp.;
  • David M. Schizer, Dean of Columbia Law School; 
  • Kurt L. Schmoke, Dean of Howard University School of Law, and
  • Robert C. Sheehan, Executive Partner of Skadden, Arps.

“I am delighted to be a member of the Honors Program’s Board of Advisors,” said Dean Kagan. “We hope the Skadden, Arps Honors Program will serve as a model to ensure our next generation better reflects the diversity of our society.”

 “The pipeline of talented, motivated young men and women exists in every segment of our society and must be cultivated in a variety of ways,” added Dean Schmoke.  “With the right resources and support, such as those provided through the Skadden, Arps Honors Program, many of those students will go on to make great contributions to the legal profession and society.”

About Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Serving clients in every major international financial center, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms, with approximately 2,000 lawyers in 24 offices on five continents. Skadden represents a broad spectrum of clients including approximately 50 percent of the Fortune 250 industrial and service corporations, as well as financial and governmental entities, small high-technology start-up companies, and cultural, educational and charitable institutions. In addition to handling many of the most significant corporate and litigation matters worldwide, Skadden is well-known for its longtime commitment to diversity and its history of public sector work, a description of which can be found on the Diversity and Community Involvement pages, respectively, at

About The City College of New York

Founded in 1847 as The Free Academy, The City College of New York provides low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; The School of Architecture, Urban Design and Landscape Architecture (SAUDLA); The School of Education; The Grove School of Engineering, and The Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit

Skadden, Arps Contact:

Robert C. Sheehan, Executive Partner, 212-735-3000