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Baker Donelson Announces 2011 Diversity Scholarship Program Recipients

(Memphis, TN/August 26, 2011) The law firm of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, has announced that the 2011 recipients of the Baker Donelson Diversity Scholarship are law students Sharonda Childs, Jervonne Newsome and Bobbi Roquemore.

Ms. Childs is in her second year at the University of Alabama School of Law and will clerk in the Firm's Birmingham office next summer. She is a graduate of Columbia University and served in the U.S. Peace Corps for two years in Mozambique. Previously, Ms. Childs was a Congressional Intern for the office of U.S. Congressman Arthur Davis in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Newsome is in her second year at the University of Arkansas School of Law and will be a summer associate in the Firm's Memphis office. A cum laude graduate of Arkansas State University, she served as a judicial clerk in the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Arkansas for U.S. District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr.

Ms. Roquemore, who is in her second year at Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, will be a summer associate in the Firm's New Orleans office. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Marquette University and was a journalist for ten years at prominent publications prior to entering law school.

The three recipients were selected from 185 applicants attending 87 law schools across the country, including Duke University School of Law, Emory University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law and Wake Forest University School of Law.

Established in 2008, the Baker Donelson Diversity Scholarship Program awards annual scholarships to diverse law school students who have completed their first year of law school. Each recipient receives a salaried second year summer associate position in one of the Firm's offices. Upon completion of the summer position, the recipients also receive a $10,000 scholarship.

"We're proud to have three such outstanding students selected for our Diversity Scholarship Program this year," said Mark A. Baugh, Chair of Baker Donelson's Diversity Committee. "With the number of qualified applicants increasing every year, we are extremely gratified to play a small part in meeting a clear need for greater opportunities for minorities and women pursuing the legal profession."

Baker Donelson continues to expand its diversity program and commitment to fostering an inclusive environment for all employees through efforts such as firm-wide training on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community. The objectives of the training, which is attended by attorneys and staff, are to foster an understanding of the importance of LGBT diversity and inclusion in order to maintain a productive and inclusive workforce, to recruit and retain a talented workforce and to achieve the Firm's strategic goals.

Since the launch of the Diversity Initiative in 2002, Baker Donelson's diverse attorney population and the number of minority shareholders have more than quadrupled, far outpacing the Firm's overall growth. The recruitment and retention of female attorneys and the representation of women in leadership positions at the Firm have improved as well.

The Firm's efforts have been recognized by MultiCultural Law magazine, which consistently ranks Baker Donelson on its annual lists of the "Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity" and the "Top 100 Law Firms for Women."

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Johanna Burkett
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