The Columbus Bar Association's Minority Clerkship Program (MCP) was established in 1987, and is a collaboration of the CBA, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and Capital University Law School.
The program was a major initiative of former Columbus Bar President Ben Zox, and was launched under the leadership of Guy Reece, who chaired the Minorities in the Legal Profession Committee. Norton Webster, an active member of the committee for over twenty years, chaired the subcommittee that designed and nurtured the program.
The program's immediate goal is to provide legal experience and education for African American, Asian, Hispanic and Native American law students through summer placement at local law firms, government and corporate offices. A secondary goal is to increase and integrate attorneys of color into the Columbus legal community. The program focuses on arranging clerkship positions primarily for 1st year students because a student's placement in a law firm after their first year of school increases their competitive advantage in vying for clerkships for the second more critical summer.
Since the inception of the program in 1987, employers have generously contributed more than $6 million in salaries, employing 800+ summer clerks. Carlile Patchen & Murphy, Crabbe Brown & James, Kegler Brown Hill & Ritter, Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, Schottenstein Zox & Dunn, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, and Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease have been part of the MCP since the beginning. Between 2000 and 2008, MCP helped to nearly double the number of minority attorneys in Central Ohio firms that participate in the Columbus Bar's Managing Partners Diversity Initiative.
To participate in the clerkship program, first and second-year minority students (from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law and Capital University Law School only) are scored on the basis of their writing, interview skills and class rank by potential employers. First or second year students are matched with participating law firms, government agencies and corporate legal departments.
Interested in learning more? Qualified students and law firms and corporate and government offices should contact Donna Sweet for more information.
Donna M. Sweet
Director of Membership
Columbus Bar Association