January 25, 2011


Recognized for expanding diversity at Latham & Watkins LLP

ALBANY- Sharon Bowen, a partner at Latham & Watkins LLP and co-chair of its Diversity Committee, was honored with the Diversity Trailblazer Award from the New York State Bar Association on January 24 during its Annual Meeting at the Hilton New York in Manhattan. Sponsored by the State Bar's Committee on Diversity, the award honors individuals who demonstrate a strong commitment to helping enhance diversity in the legal profession.

The committee honored Bowen of Manhattan for her work as co-chair of Latham & Watkins' Diversity Committee and chair of its Recruiting Committee's Diversity Hiring Subcommittee. As a result of her leadership, the firm now ranks 14th on MultiCultural Law Magazine's list of "Top 100 Law Firms for Diversity" and ranks 20th on the magazine's list of "Top 100 Law Firms for Women."

"Throughout her distinguished career, Sharon Bowen has engaged in leadership development, innovation and knowledge-sharing to enhance the status of minorities in her firm and the legal profession at large. Her dynamic and inspired commitment to diversity has made Latham & Watkins a leader in creating a more inclusive workplace that aggressively seeks lawyers of all backgrounds," said Kenneth G. Standard of New York (Epstein Becker and Green, P.C.), co-chair of the Committee on Diversity and a past president of the State Bar. "We are pleased to present this prestigious award in recognition of her continuing successes in furthering the cause of diversity."

A highlight of her work includes creating the innovative Diversity Weekend, a recruiting event where the firm invites law students of color, and gay and lesbian law students, to come together with Latham attorneys, including firm leaders, for three days of substantive discussion and social events. She also took a lead role in promoting the firm's Diversity Scholars Program, which is designed to increase the number of diverse law students studying at ABA-accredited law schools who wish to pursue a career in a global law firm and intend to practice law in the U.S. Since 2005, the firm has provided 20 students with a $10,000 scholarship for their third year of law school.

In addition to her work at Latham & Watkins, Bowen helped to develop Practicing Attorneys for Law Students (PALS), a mentoring and networking organization for law students of color. She also volunteers to improve the public school system through her work on the board of the PENCIL organization, a non-profit that builds and supports relationships between business leaders and principals to inspire innovation and helped to improve New York City public schools, particularly in minority communities.

"Sharon is a tireless advocate for building and developing a pipeline for diverse talent at every level in the legal profession. Her efforts have paved the way for students of color to make their mark and become role models themselves," said Betty Lugo of Brooklyn (Pacheco & Lugo, PLLC), co-chair of the Committee on Diversity. "She is an inspiration, and we are delighted to honor her leadership in promoting diversity at her firm and in the wider legal community."

Bowen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and earned her J.D. and M.B.A. degrees from Northwestern University. She is a member of Latham and Watkins LLP's Corporate Department where she represents corporations, private equity firms, and other financial and institutional clients on a broad range of corporate, finance, and securities transactions. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as vice chair of the board of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Previous recipients of the Diversity Trailblazer Award include: Leonard Baynes, professor of law at St. John's University School of Law and the inaugural director of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development; Laurie N. Robinson of New York, founder and CEO of Corporate Counsel Women of Color and senior vice-president and assistant general counsel of CBS Broadcasting Inc.; Taa R. Grays of New York, co-chair of the State Bar's Committee on Women in the Law and assistant general counsel and chief of staff, MetLife; and Carol A. Robles-Román of New York, deputy mayor for legal affairs and counsel to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Founded in 1876, State Bar programs and activities have continuously served the public and improved the justice system for 135 years.