“Irell & Manella is focused on delivering the highest quality legal services and achieving excellence through diligence and creativity. Our attorneys are hired and evaluated based on the quality of their work. This focus has penetrated our culture and resulted in a population of attorneys from a variety of backgrounds.” ­– Kyle Kawakami, Irell & Manella Diversity Chair

Consisting of partners and associates from both offices, Irell & Manella's Diversity Committee is dedicated to the continued promotion of an institutional culture that fosters the recruitment, advancement and development of a diverse population that is reflective of our larger community. The Committee is responsible for recommending and implementing strategies to further diversity and inclusion, and its goals align closely with those of the Women's Committee, Associates Committee and Executive Committee. 

2016 Diversity Scholarship Award

In keeping with the firm’s commitment to attracting and promoting the highest quality attorneys and creating an environment where attorneys of all races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations can thrive based on merit, Irell & Manella intends to offer Diversity Scholarship Awards of $15,000 to a select number of second year law students who, in addition to meeting certain criteria, receive and accept an offer to participate in the 2016 Summer Program.

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Applicants must at least meet the following criteria:

  • Must be enrolled at an ABA-accredited law school and have completed their first year in a full-time J.D. program by the application deadline. 
  • Must meet the criteria for diversity, which we interpret broadly. We will consider all candidates from under-represented groups in the legal profession, including, but not limited to, racial or ethnic minorities; women; gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender individuals; persons with disabilities; and/or applicants from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background.
  • Must be authorized to work in the United States.
  • Recipients must spend a minimum of ten weeks at Irell during the 2016 Summer Program.

Application Process

Irell is currently accepting applications for the Diversity Scholarship. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and completed applications must be received by Wednesday, September 30, 2015 in order to be considered for the 2016 Diversity Scholarship Award.

Completed applications must include:

  • Application form
  • Resume
  • Official law school transcript
  • Personal statement (no more than 500 words) describing the applicant’s demonstrated academic and leadership achievements and commitment to diversity. (The topic for the personal statement is meant to be broad. But applicants should discuss, at a minimum, the factors that inspired them to pursue a legal education and why they want a career as a lawyer. They may also discuss significant obstacles or challenges that they have overcome.)
  • Contact information for two references

Selection Criteria

The following criteria will be used to select the Diversity Scholarship Award recipients:

  • Academic achievement
  • Excellent writing and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated leadership ability
  • Commitment to diversity
  • Commitment to contributing to the legal profession

Selection Process

An internal selection panel consisting of the Firm’s Hiring Partners (for each office), the Chairs of the Diversity Committee, and members of the Diversity and Hiring Committees will evaluate and select all Diversity Scholarship Award recipients.

Recipients will be notified on or before October 16, 2015. 

Scholarship Award

The Diversity Scholarship Award of $15,000 will be paid in two equal installments on:

  • January 15, 2016; and
  • The start of recipient’s third year of law school.
Youth Programs

Irell & Manella is committed to promoting diversity in the legal profession and to providing equal opportunity to people of all ages interested in pursuing a career in law. Irell attorneys support and participate in a number of youth programs that share in that mission, including:

  • Project SELF:  Each summer, Irell's Newport Beach office hosts interns in connection with ProjectSELF (Summer Employment in Law Firm), a hands-on internship for low-income, minority high school juniors that provides access to professional and career environments and positive mentors to help them with goal setting and college preparation. The program is run by the Orange County Bar Foundation in partnership with the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators.
  • UC Irvine School of Law Pre-Law Outreach Program (POP):  POP helps students from disadvantaged backgrounds understand the demands of law school, prepare for the law school application and admissions process, and be inspired to one day use their legal skills to give back to the community.
  • UCLA Law Fellows Outreach Program:  Irell regularly sponsors the UCLA Law Fellows Outreach Program, designed to encourage and prepare high-potential undergraduate and graduate students for a career in law, increase the diversity of the law school pool and demystify the law school experience.
Speaking, Writing and Events

In addition to our advocacy work, many of the firm's attorneys speak and write on topics of diversity. The firm also hosts and sponsors a number of diversity-focused events. Recent articles and events include:

  • Morgan Chu was the keynote speaker for the University of Pennsylvania Law School's APALSA's annual conference. 
  • Irell is a sponsor of the LGBT Bar Association's Lavender Law Conference.
  • Irell sponsors USC Gould School of Law's Annual OUTLaw Endowment Dinner.
  • Irell sponsored and participated in a Harvard law Women's talk on "Owning Your Career". 
  • Irell regularly sponsors UCLA School of Law's Firm Diversity Reception.
  • Irell sponsored and partnered with USC Law Women to host a panel on "Women in Tech". 
  • Irell sponsors UC Berkeley Law School's Dale Minami Public Fellowship Dinner.
  • Irell sponsored a UCLA/USC OutLaws' Mixer. 
Community Involvement

Irell & Manella is committed to supporting various community organizations throughout Southern California and nationwide, including:

  • Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County
  • Equality California
  • Lambda Legal
  • National Association of Women Lawyers
  • Women's Lawyers Association of Los Angeles
  • For more on our community involvement, please click here.
Women at Irell

Irell's women attorneys play an integral role in the firm's leadership. They are represented on all firm committees including the firm's Executive Committee. For more on Irell's women attorneys, please click here.