Dentons Announces Winners in 2020 Virtual Associate Hackathon


Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, today announces the winner of its 2020 Associate Hackathon. The Firm, once again marrying innovation with its core principle of inclusion, announces that a team comprised of Kerisha Bowen (Washington, DC), Julius Carter (Chicago), Uchenna Ekuma-Nkama (Atlanta) and Taaj Reaves (Chicago) developed the winning program concept The Complement Check to help identify diverse lawyers.

Launched completely virtually in August, the competition was coordinated by the 18-member Associates Committee, which is led by Erika Lopes-McLeman (Short Hills, NJ) and Jessica Rebarber (Washington, DC), and included a three-phased immersive cross-office and cross-practice experience designed to spur and harness innovative thinking and collaboration among the Firm’s associates. Over three months, 22 teams of associates across all US offices created, proposed, and pitched innovative solutions to develop business, streamline client service and/or improve existing workflows at Dentons.

“I am exceptionally proud of Kerisha, Julius, Uchenna and Taaj, and the level of participation and engagement by all our associates, particularly during this incredible time we are all navigating,” said Dentons US CEO Mike McNamara. “The creativity and energy our associates invested for the benefit of Dentons and our clients is inspiring.”

The virtual Hackathon program, which included 100 associates (one third of all of Dentons associates) and 50 partners serving as mentors and judges began with an initial vetting of each team’s proposal. Sixteen teams were then invited to participate in a “Shark Tank”-modeled round of presentations to a panel of partners from across the Firm. The winning team’s proposal will be adopted by the Firm, and team members will deliver more detailed presentations to US Region Board members and partners at upcoming meetings.

“Open dialog is part of the culture here and we regularly hear terrific ideas from our associates,” said Dentons US Managing Partner Mary Wilson. The leadership of our Associates Committee has been strong, and we are positioned to incorporate ideas from each hackathon team in our 2021 business planning.”

The winning team’s proposal emphasizes the importance of staffing matters with diverse associates and highlighted areas where Dentons can enhance communicating its firmly-held conviction of the importance of diversity with greater prominence. The team’s Complement Check includes a fresh and expanded use of technology already available at the Firm, to create a self-populating keyword search to identify diverse lawyers with specific skill sets, experience and interest.

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