Vinson & Elkins Sponsors Texas Law’s Pipeline Program to Support Aspiring Lawyers

The Pipeline Program is supported by Vinson & Elkins as the founding sponsor.Texas Law is excited to announce that its new Pipeline Program dedicated to supporting aspiring lawyers — students in high school, college and law school from underrepresented backgrounds — has received a $1 million commitment from law firm Vinson & Elkins as the founding sponsor.

The program is a long-term initiative that involves outreach, education, mentoring and scholarship support. It includes specific initiatives and workshops tailored for students at each academic level, including a “Texas Law Academy” for high school students; Boot Camps and a year-long Cohort Program for undergraduate students and recent college graduates; and tuition scholarships and a “Thriving in Law School” program for law students.

“We know that a diverse and inclusive workplace is key to our future success as a law firm, and Vinson & Elkins is extremely proud to support the Pipeline Program as part of our commitment and sustained efforts in this area,” said Milam Newby, Managing Partner of Vinson & Elkins’ Austin office and a graduate of Texas Law (2003) and The University of Texas at Austin (2000). “This is an opportunity to make a real impact on students’ lives, and we look forward to working closely with Texas Law and our peers in the legal industry to help produce the next generation of legal professionals who reflect the diversity of the State of Texas.”

Shavonne Henderson

Shavonne Henderson ’05, Lecturer and Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion

Texas Law’s goal is to improve the opportunities for students from all backgrounds to become leaders in the legal profession. The Law School has worked to promote diversity, equity, access and inclusion among its students well before the high school and undergraduate portion of the pipeline program was launched.  “With partners like Vinson and Elkins we can strengthen our support for existing students and improve their experience,” said Shavonne Henderson (2005), Lecturer and Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion. “Program sponsorships work to directly impact law students and promote student success.”

“We’re proud to have such generous support for this mission from Vinson & Elkins, a great law firm with great commitments,” said Dean Ward Farnsworth. “And we look forward to having more partners in this work as it goes forward.”

The enthusiastic support of Vinson & Elkins has been matched by the overwhelming interest in the program’s first workshop for law school applicants.

Nicole Simmons ’07

Nicole Simmons ’07, Director of Pipeline Outreach and Development

“When we opened registration for our first Boot Camp, a one-day law school application workshop, the 100 spots filled up in less than 24 hours,” said Nicole Simmons (2007), Director of Pipeline Outreach and Development at Texas Law. “We were overwhelmed by the response to the workshop. The experience reinforced our commitment to promoting greater access to legal education and preparing the next generation of attorneys from diverse backgrounds for law school admission and success.”

Registrants for the Boot Camp are students from over a dozen universities, including Baylor University, Rice University, Southern Methodist University, St. Edward’s University, Texas A&M International University, Texas Southern University, Texas State University, The University of Texas at Arlington, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at Dallas, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, University of Houston, and University of North Texas.

The Pipeline Program encourages the Texas Law community to join the effort in making the Law School and the legal profession more inclusive. “As we prepare for our first year-long Cohort Program to start in May, we are seeking additional support to ensure the program’s success,” added Simmons.

Law firms looking to support aspiring lawyers in the Pipeline Program can contact Magda Herrera at

Category: Donor Stories, Law School News