The program for associates of partner law firms who are early in their careers is part of the law division’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives
In 2017, the U.S. Bank Law Division launched an initiative focused on growing early-career women and diverse attorneys through professional and leadership development.
Since then, more than 75 attorneys have gone through the program, which is called Spotlight on Talent.
The program and investment isn’t for U.S. Bank employees, though. Spotlight on Talent instead expands the bank’s effort to increase opportunities for diverse and underrepresented talent to associates of law firms U.S. Bank hires as outside counsel.
This year, the program has been reimagined into a year-long cohort experience. It kicked off with a virtual session in mid-February, followed by an in-person all-day session in Minneapolis at U.S. Bank headquarters in March. During their time in Minneapolis, the 14-person cohort of associates from around the country spent time networking and engaging in leadership and goal-setting activities with bank attorneys, the general counsel and the chief diversity officer of U.S. Bank.
“As we kick off our seventh year of this program, we are more excited than ever to invest in the careers of an impressive group of attorneys,” said Jim Chosy, senior executive vice president and general counsel for U.S. Bank. “We’re committed to supporting the advancement of diverse attorneys not only within our own practice, but within our partner law firms, and we’re excited to see how this unique cohort helps facilitate that for these lawyers.”
Cohort participants have three to five years of experience and practice in legal services relevant to U.S. Bank.
Tomi E. Ajibodu, part of this year’s group, is a senior associate for a firm the bank partners with, and represents clients in several types of public finance transactions, including securitizations, derivatives and general corporate matters.
“I am excited to develop my leadership skills, learn more about U.S. Bank and build professional relationships with a group of accomplished, diverse attorneys,” Ajibodu said. “The Spotlight on Talent Program serves as a solid foundation to build sponsorship, mentorship and leadership at an early stage in a lawyer’s professional career. More than that, it helps build connections and community, which are so crucial to a healthy practice.”
Throughout the year, the cohort will participate in monthly events, including leadership meetings, practice group roundtables, mentoring and the opportunity to make a presentation to the U.S. Bank Law Division. Spotlight participants also will strengthen their knowledge of U.S. Bank businesses and develop stronger relationships with law division professionals by attending regular meetings.
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