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LexisNexis Announces Recipients of 2023 Fellowship and New Program Sponsors

May 23, 2023 (3 min read)
A bronze statue of Justice holding scales to illustrate equality and Rule of Law

By Adonica Black, JD 

It is my honor to introduce to the legal community 15 promising law students who are the 2023 recipients of the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network & LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation Fellowship.

This innovative fellowship program, which was launched in 2021, is placing a spotlight on how we can advance the rule of law by eliminating systemic racism in the legal system. This year’s fellows were selected from a large and competitive applicant pool representing all six members of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Law School Consortium (HBCULSC). The 2023 cohort includes: 

  • Florida A&M University College of Law: Jai'Ehir Jackson-Hawkins and Veronica Alba 
  • Howard University School of Law: Morigan Tuggle, Lauren Fleming, and Favour Okhuevbie 
  • North Carolina Central University School of Law: Zaria Graham and Larry Futrell 
  • Southern University Law Center: Qwantaria Russell, Tatiyana Brown-Harper, Skylar Dean, Jaylon Denkins, and Whitney Triplet 
  • Thurgood Marshall School of Law: Christian Wolford 
  • University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law: Imani Roberson and Paul Campbell 

Each fellow is awarded $10,000 and spends nine months engaging in a unique experience to accelerate their career, develop their leadership skills, and create opportunities to make a real difference, working alongside LexisNexis employees to identify potential solutions to systemic racism challenges in the U.S. legal system.

The Fellows have been organized into five research clusters , and will produce scholarly articles later this year that summarize their research and recommendations in each of these important areas:

Project #1: The Gavel League

This Fellowship cluster will develop a mobile application designed to increase literacy and comprehension of the Rule of Law and other critical legal concepts in the U.S., such as Miranda rights, for youth and their parents/guardians.

Project #2: I, Too, Sing America

This Fellowship cluster will uncover untold U.S. history through the law by creating an accessible repository (available throughout the LexisNexis platform) of inclusive curriculum resources, including racially diverse case law, to help legal scholars, historians, and others  increase awareness of minority culture and nuances in the law.

Project #3: Technology Solutions to Alleviate Jury Bias

This Fellowship cluster will gather survey results and analysis to document potential bias in the U.S. jury selection process and develop a jury dashboard to show what a representative jury might look like through a county-by-county data visualization tool that can be used by practitioners and community members.

Project #4: Pathways to Practice Pipeline

This Fellowship cluster will increase the representation of diverse legal talent in prestigious and lucrative fields of legal practice by providing HBCU law students with additional professional development, support, and exposure to ensure their career success.

Project #5: Law Clinic Support Tools & Resources

This Fellowship cluster will combat systemic racism in the U.S. legal system by providing additional resources for legal practitioners doing pro bono work and legal clinics assisting individuals with legal challenges related to equity in the courts and criminal justice system and increase overall access to justice.

The 2023 cohort of Fellows will gather from May 23-25, 2023, at the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network & LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation Fellowship Innovation Retreat in Raleigh, N.C. The retreat will take place at the LexisNexis Raleigh Technology Center and will feature a variety of inspirational keynotes, panel discussions, innovation workshops, and networking events with Fellows, HBCU faculty members, LexisNexis technologists and legal industry-leading practitioners.

This unique Fellowship initiative is an extension of LexisNexis’ commitment to eliminate systemic racism in legal systems while advancing the four key elements of the rule of law — equality under the law, transparency of law, an independent judiciary, and accessible legal remedy and will continue to build a culture of inclusion and diversity within our company. Our perspective is that we must do what we can, where we can, whenever we can, to keep moving forward in the pursuit of justice and equality.

On that note, I am delighted to share some exciting news: Law firms and companies have joined Lexis Nexis, ensuring the sustainability of this initiative, by joining us as 2023 Fellowship Supporters to demonstrate their organization’s commitment to inclusion and diversity, gain access to diverse HBCU law school talent, and help increase equity in the legal system. The first law firm sponsor of the program is Reed Smith LLP. On behalf of the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network and the LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation, I want to express my gratitude for their generosity and support of this important program.

For more information about how your firm or organization can participate by substantively supporting the LexisNexis African Ancestry Network & LexisNexis Rule of Law Foundation Fellowship program, please contact me at