In honor of powerhouse lawyer and Howard University alumnus Vernon E. Jordan Jr., a well-known law firm will not only be renaming a library on campus, but adding several fellowships too! Get the full story from the Howard release below.
Akin Gump announced the launch of the Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Fellowship, which will offer a paid internship for two third-year Howard University law students – one in the Fall semester, and one in the Spring – to work with the firm’s public law and policy practice in Washington. The fellowship is named in honor of the late Howard University School of Law alumnus, civil rights icon and longtime Akin Gump partner. The firm also announced it had made a commitment to donate $1 million in support of the Howard School of Law’s Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Law Library.
“Despite Vernon Jordan’s singular influence and his vast individual capabilities, he recognized that the pursuit of one’s personal mission requires external support. Throughout his life, he was a humble recipient of help, especially as he so often worked behind the scenes on important projects, and he was always willing to lend a helping hand. No matter how high he climbed, he would always reach back to pull others forward,” said Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, president of Howard University. “We could not be more pleased to partner with Akin Gump through the Vernon E. Jordan Fellowship, and we are deeply appreciative of the firm’s generous donation to our law library. Through these actions, Akin Gump is helping preserve Vernon’s legacy of service and commitment to lifting up those around him.”
The University announced the renaming of its law library in honor of Jordan in March 2021, following his passing on March 1. Akin Gump’s donation will provide substantial support for preserving the rich collection and innovating the library for future generations of scholars.
“We are honored to have Akin Gump establish this prestigious fellowship in honor of Howard law alumnus Vernon Jordan Jr.,” said Howard University’s School of Law Dean Danielle Holley-Walker. “Mr. Jordan was a giant in the legal field and an inspiration for our law school community. He loved the law school and continues to be a guiding light for our students, faculty and alumni. We are deeply committed to celebrating Mr. Jordan’s legacy of excellence through this fellowship.”
Following his graduation from Howard School of Law, Jordan served as executive director of the United Negro College Fund and president of the National Urban League before joining Akin Gump in 1981, where he remained until his passing. Throughout his career, he served as a trusted adviser to presidents, governments and CEOs and was recognized as a towering figure in both the civil rights arena and corporate America.
Additional tributes to Mr. Jordan will include an endowed chair at Howard University’s School of Law in his honor to be announced at a later date.
“Vernon Jordan left behind a rich and unequaled legacy of service and mentorship. Through his life’s work and boundless generosity, he touched the lives of so many, and I consider myself so fortunate to have called him my mentor and friend,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “Through this fellowship and donation, we proudly support the Howard University School of Law’s efforts to carry forward Vernon’s tremendous legacy and ensure that his vision, commitment and sense of purpose will live on in the many students and future leaders who will pass through its doors.”
“Throughout his career, Vernon held a unique place at the nexus of the law, business and politics – and he did so while paving the way for me and so many others to follow in his footsteps and achieve success,” said Tony Pierce, partner in charge of Akin Gump’s Washington, D.C. office. “I cannot think of a better way to honor his remarkable legacy than by the establishment of this fellowship and this donation that will help support and nurture future generations of leaders.”
The Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Law Library’s mission is to excel in service by strengthening the Howard University School of Law community’s legal, research and educational goals through innovative programming, practice-oriented instruction and a collection across traditional and evolving formats. More information about the library may be found here.
“A fellowship in my father’s honor at Howard University School of Law, sponsored by Akin Gump, brings his love of the law and his work for economic equality together to benefit any number of current and future Howard law students,” said Vickee Jordan Adams, daughter of Vernon Jordan. “I speak for my stepmother, Ann, and our entire family when I say that we are proud to see this donation and commitment to aspiring professionals. My father took great pride in mentoring and supporting future generations, and I know he would be very pleased to see Howard University and Akin Gump— two institutions about which he cared deeply—following his lead with the Vernon E. Jordan Jr. Fellowship and donation.”
The Vernon E. Jordan Fellowship is one of several talent recruitment programs hosted by Akin Gump. These include the Akin Gump/Robert S. Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program, which brings promising law students to the firm to gain important substantive experience. This year, the firm welcomed its largest-ever class of Strauss Scholars. (Learn more here.)