Global law firm Baker McKenzie was awarded "Innovations in Diversity and Inclusion" and "Innovator of the Year" by American Lawyer Media as part of its 2024 Legalweek Leaders in Tech Law Awards. The Firm was also a finalist in the "Innovations in Pro Bono" category.
The Legalweek Leaders in Tech Awards honor individuals and organizations for their innovative achievements over the past year in a wide range of categories across law firms, legal departments and technology providers.
The "Innovations in Diversity and Inclusion" award recognized Baker McKenzie's ID&E Business Development, Marketing and Communications Summer Internship Program, a high-impact initiative offered annually to undergraduate students interested in business development, marketing and communications, and other legal careers. In 2023, the program featured a new partnership with The Center on Gender Justice & Opportunity at Georgetown Law, where we partnered with Rebecca Epstein, Executive Director at The Center, and Thalia González, Senior Scholar at the Center and Professor of Law at UC Law San Francisco, to design multiple projects for our interns to help support The Center's mission to eliminate gender and racial disparities in education, health care and the legal system.
"Supporting The Center was an innovative way for our summer interns to gain experience with an outside organization that focuses on socioeconomic issues, in line with our Firm's values," said JeanMarie Campbell, Head of Client Development and North America CMO. "Adding this element to support an external mission-driven organization enhanced our internship program and gave our interns the opportunity to explore and dedicate time to an important cause impacting our communities."
The "Innovator of the Year" individual award went to Danielle Benecke, founder and global lead of Baker McKenzie's Machine Learning (BakerML) program. BakerML is an industry-leading venture that combines the Firm's legal expertise and data with Machine Learning and other advanced AI to better serve clients. Danielle's pioneering work is helping define and lead a legal industry evolution. According to the ALM judging panel, "She's a superstar!"
"We are driving transformation of legal services into a much richer tech and data-enabled experience," said Danielle, formerly a lawyer in the Firm's IP & Technology practice. "By combining our expertise and knowhow with generative AI, predictive ML and other cutting-edge technologies, we are creating new value for our clients, streamlining operations and expanding our social impact. I am proud to lead a team of talented lawyers, data scientists, engineers and service designers who are accelerating the development of innovative legal solutions."Baker McKenzie was also recognized as finalist in the "Innovations in Pro Bono" category for its work through Justice in Action, a first-of-its-kind initiative that engages an international network of stakeholders. Led by Angela Vigil, Executive Director of Global Pro Bono, and Jaclyn Pampel, North America Director of Pro Bono, the Firm has engaged more than 3,000 volunteers to deliver meaningful solutions to high-impact projects worldwide.