Congratulations to the “Minority 40 Under 40.” This is a distinguished group of 40 minority lawyers, all under the age of 40, who have just been honored by the National Law Journal for their accomplishments within the legal profession.

Let’s learn more about them. Maybe you have friends or colleagues on the list?

Here’s what the NLJ has to say about this year’s honorees:

The lawyers profiled here were all born in the 1970s, a decade when law schools and law firms were just beginning to welcome minorities in significant numbers. The thriving careers of these lawyers — at law firms and in government, academia and public interest — attest to the greater opportunities available to them, as well as to their talents.

But progress has been mixed. As Paulette Brown notes in her commentary, the economic crisis of 2008 took a great toll on diversity. And ethnically diverse lawyers still comprise only about 6 percent of equity partners.

Among this year’s honorees, here are five familiar names:

  • James Ho: A former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas, chief counsel to Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), and solicitor general of Texas, Jim Ho, 38, is now a partner in the Dallas office of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.
  • Victor Jih: The 38-year-old Jih, a litigation partner in the Century City office of O’Melveny & Myers, is perhaps best known for his 2009 victory on the Amazing Race. (Kashmir Hill previously interviewed Victor and Tammy Jih for these pages.)
  • Leondra Kruger: Not many lawyers can claim 11 Supreme Court oral arguments by age 35. But Kruger, a former law clerk to Justice John Paul Stevens, is no ordinary lawyer. As noted by SCOTUSblog founder Tom Goldstein, also a prominent Supreme Court advocate, it would not be shocking to see this leading litigatrix nominated to SCOTUS someday.
  • Kannon Shanmugam: Also a star of the Supreme Court bar, the 38-year-old Shanmugam clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia and served in the U.S. Solicitor General’s office, before Williams & Connolly brought him in as their first lateral hire in more than 20 years (news that we covered here).
  • Timothy Wu: The celebrity law professor who coined the term “net neutrality,” the 39-year-old Wu is currently on leave from his post at Columbia Law School, while serving as a senior adviser to the Federal Trade Commission. A former law clerk to Judge Richard Posner and Justice Stephen Breyer, Wu is the author of a buzz-generating 2010 book, The Master Switch (affiliate link).

Congratulations to all forty winners. You can check out the full list and read profiles of individual lawyers over at the National Law Journal.

The Minority 40 Under 40 [National Law Journal]
Law firm diversity: mixed progress [National Law Journal]


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