Hunton Andrews Kurth Announces Winning Concepts of Third Annual Shark Tank-Style Competition for Summer Associates Aimed to Elevate Diversity, Inclusion and Sense of Community

Time 3 Minute Read
August 31, 2022

This month, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP concludes its third annual firm-wide “Hackathon” – a Shark Tank-style competition where 46 summer associates are tasked to develop a proposal to address a specific topic. This initiative is part of the firm’s overall effort to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal industry and foster engagement with the next generation of leaders.

“The Hackathon has proven to be an excellent tool for the firm across the board. Not only does it help foster engagement among our summer associates, but it allows us to tap our next generation of legal leaders to help ensure we are continuously evolving as a firm and positively impacting the legal profession,” said Rudene Mercer Haynes, a firmwide hiring partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth.

This year’s Hackathon presented two challenges. The first, to develop a program fostering relationships, connections and community in a remote or hybrid working environment and the second, to create a pipeline program targeted at students prior to law school. Associates were encouraged to develop creative and aspirational ideas that could be reasonably attainable and easy to implement. Eight teams of summer associates from across the country, together with a partner and associate advisor, developed strategies and presented to a panel of firm partners with winners selected by the judges and their fellow summer associates.

The 2022 winning ideas included strategies and processes to:

  • promote genuine connections and robust interoffice culture in a hybrid work environment with ways to more naturally connect virtually as well as an incentive program to connect with others (presented by summer associates from William S. Boyd, Elisabeth Haub, Duke University, University of North Carolina, University of Richmond and University of Virginia Schools of Law);
  • develop a first-of-its-kind pre-law pipeline for Veterans incorporating admission and LSAT preparation, mentorship programs with fellow firm Veterans, and pro bono work (presented by summer associates from Lewis & Clark, Cornell, William & Mary, Georgetown, University of Houston and University of Virginia Schools of Law); and
  • address the minority disparity in the legal field by developing a skills camp targeted towards diverse high school students and underprivileged youth (presented by summer associates from South Texas, Georgetown, University of Richmond, University of Virginia, Southern Methodist University and University of Houston Schools of Law).

Following each of the first two Hackathons, a committee was formed consisting of partners, associates and professional staff, including members of the Executive Committee, managing and hiring partners, and  law school ambassadors, to evaluate all of the proposals. This committee will evaluate the 2022 winning ideas as well as all presentations and proposals to determine new firm programs.

Since inception of the program, the firm has rolled out several initiatives based on one or a combination of several Hackathon proposals, including a program for first-generation law students and expansion of the firm’s coaching and mentoring program. The first-generation law students program inspired the firm’s creation of the Pathfinders Scholarship Program, which launched in June 2022 and provides up to 3 first-generation law student awardees a 10-week summer clerkship opportunity and a $25,000 scholarship payable in three installments after acceptance of the 2L Offer, after acceptance of the entry level offer and upon joining the firm full-time. The winners will be announced in September 2022. 

Media Contact

Lisa Franz
Director of Public Relations


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