Type: Diversity & Inclusion, News Releases

NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 25, 2016) - Reed Smith today announced that the firm will rename its Diverse Scholars Program to honor late partner Deborah Broyles. The Deborah J. Broyles Diverse Scholars Program will provide $20,000 awards and summer associate positions to two law students who have demonstrated academic excellence and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Broyles, 53, the firm’s Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion and a partner in Reed Smith’s Labor & Employment Group, passed away September 10, 2016.

“We wanted a visible and meaningful way to honor Deborah’s legacy and her unflagging commitment to diversity,” said Sandy Thomas, Reed Smith’s Global Managing Partner. “We believe naming our Diverse Scholars program in her memory will be a lasting tribute to Deborah and her passion for both excellence in the practice of law and increasing diversity in the legal profession.”

John Iino, Reed Smith’s newly appointed Global Chair, Diversity & Inclusion, said, “We’re also very pleased to announce that Daniel Avila and Iantha Stewart have been selected to be our inaugural Deborah J. Broyles Diverse Scholars. Both of these law school students embody all of the key characteristics of what it takes to become great lawyers, and we are excited – and honored – that they will be joining us next summer.”

The 2016 Deborah J. Broyles Diverse Scholars

  • Daniel Avila, University of Houston Law Center: Daniel Avila was born in El Paso, Texas, to immigrants from Mexico and Spanish-German descent. At an early age, Avila joined his mother in volunteering at free community health clinics that provided medical check-ups to people without insurance. At the University of North Texas (UNT), he spearheaded community service projects for the USO, American Red Cross, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and United Blood Services. He also organized a campus-wide fundraiser to help the victims of the West Fertilizer Company explosion that occurred in West Texas in April 2013. As a result of his outstanding leadership and service, Avila was admitted into the North Texas Forty Foundation, an honor that recognizes the top 40 leaders among UNT’s student population of 36,000. After graduating from UNT with his BBA in Finance, Avila joined an immigration firm as an executive assistant, where he coordinated free informational conferences focused on immigration legislation in cities across the Southeastern United States with large immigrant populations, and proportionally small legal markets. Two years later, Avila left Texas to attend law school at the University of Memphis, where he continued his community service by serving as a translator and mentor for the Memphis Juvenile Court System. Avila transferred to the University of Houston Law Center to be closer to his family and begin to establish himself in the city in which he wants to practice. Avila will be a summer associate in Reed Smith’s Houston office.
  • Iantha Stewart, Brooklyn Law School: Iantha Stewart grew up the daughter of a single mother in a less affluent neighborhood in New York. While her childhood living situation presented many obstacles, Stewart did not let any disadvantages get in her way of achieving her dreams and becoming a leader in her community. At the age of 13, she was selected to take part in an internship program at an investment bank, where her interested in law began. After graduating from high school, Stewart became the first person in her family to attend college. She excelled at Stony Brook University, where she graduated cum laude and was on the Dean’s list seven out of seven semesters. During college, Stewart was also involved in numerous organizations, including the Stony Book University Newspaper, Girls Learn International Organization, and the English Honors Society, Sigma Tau Delta. She was also a member of the team that won third place in Stony Brook University’s Think Big Competition for its proposal on how to better the relationship between police officers and members of predominantly minority and low-income communities. Her passion for finance, mergers and acquisitions, and antitrust law, grew into fruition last summer when she worked at the Office of the New York State Attorney General in the Antitrust Division. Next summer, Stewart will be a summer associate in Reed Smith’s New York office.
    Since its inception, Reed Smith’s Diverse Scholar’s Program has awarded scholarships and summer associate positions to 14 law school students, 6 of whom are currently practicing at Reed Smith. For more information about the Deborah J. Broyles Diverse Scholars Program and how to apply, please visit diversity.reedsmith.com.

About Deborah Broyles

Nationally known for both her legal work and community activism, Deborah Broyles was a trailblazer in diversity efforts in the legal profession. Serving as Reed Smith’s firmwide Director of Global Diversity & Inclusion since February 2015, Broyles’ contributions to promoting diversity in the legal industry and throughout the United States were significant and transformative. She was a longtime member of the National Bar Association and the Charles Houston Bar Association, and served in several leadership roles for the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP), the California Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), and the Black Women Lawyers of Northern California (BWLNC).

Broyles also served six years on the Board of Directors and sat on the Advisory Board of HealthRIGHT 360, an integrated care services provider to low-income individuals in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was an active, longtime member of the Bar Association of San Francisco, the Bay Area African American Partners Group, and the San Francisco chapter of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

A leading employment lawyer, Broyles was a member of the National Employment Law Council and served on the Board of Directors of the Positive Resource Center, the only organization for people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS that provides comprehensive benefits counseling and employment services in San Francisco.

Broyles joined Reed Smith in 2008. Previously, she had been partner at Thelen LLP, where she practiced for twelve years and, for six years, served as that firm’s National Diversity Director. Prior to that, she was at Steinhart & Falconer, and began her legal career at Pettit & Martin in 1993. Broyles received her JD from Harvard Law School and completed her undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke College.

About Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with more than 1,700 lawyers in 26 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Founded in 1877, the firm represents leading international businesses, from Fortune 100 corporations to mid-market and emerging enterprises. Its lawyers provide litigation and other dispute-resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and other high-stakes matters; deliver regulatory counsel; and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to industries including financial services, life sciences, health care, advertising, entertainment and media, shipping and transport, energy and natural resources, real estate, manufacturing, technology, and education. For more information, visit reedsmith.com.

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