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White & Case NAUDL Fellows

Investing in Future Talent

June 20, 2021  – In 2020, NAUDL was thrilled to announce a three-year partnership with White & Case LLP — and the naming of our summer Fellowship program as the “White & Case NAUDL Fellows Program.”

Over the last several years, NAUDL has explored two key notions:

1) debate not just as a formative activity, but also as a means to introduce and examine essential life-skill concepts; and

2) expanding the lifecycle of our relationship with students served, which often diminishes, becoming ad hoc, once debaters graduate from high school.

NAUDL launched its Alumni Fellows internship pilot, working with five (5) leagues to build a scalable workplace mentorship program for qualified urban debate alums (at least two- years of college completed). Projects engage Fellows in multiple roles and provide an opportunity to lead an initiative, function or process. NAUDL senior staff provide ongoing virtual oversight, coaching and assessment to both interns and league leadership. Additionally, group roundtables are hosted on a weekly basis, featuring professional volunteers, in the widely-accepted NACE Eight Competencies for Career-Readiness. Topics include: teamwork and collaboration; digital technology; professionalism and work ethic; career-management; leadership; and intercultural fluency.

This year, NAUDL welcomes 10 new Urban Debate Network alums to the program. Applications are evaluated on both a written questionnaire of short essay questions and an in-person interview. Our goal for the Fellowship is to model development in all eight areas of career readiness for the intern; create new efficiencies and capacity for NAUDL and partner leagues; and create meaningful volunteer experiences and long-term relationships among all parties.

White & Case lawyers and staff will play an integral role in the weekly roundtable discussions and develop mentoring and career-coaching opportunities with the Fellows.

“Debate provides students with the transferable skills and self-confidence to succeed,” says Dana Foster, White & Case partner in Washington, DC. “This is particularly important for students attending Title I schools without such resources. This year, we expanded our support for local urban debate leagues in all eight of the US cities where we have offices, and we are thrilled to partner with NAUDL to work with league alumni.”

“Having White & Case on board as the official sponsorship partner of the program means a great deal for NAUDL and is such a natural fit,” says Rhonda Haynes, NAUDL Executive Director. “Not only does it provide financial stability and sustainability for this important program, but the access to the tremendous talent and roles within a global law firm like White & Case — from seasoned partners to associates just beginning their career, to marketing and diversity teams and other professional roles — this connection will bring so much to our Fellows.”

The Fellows Program will run through August with reflections and a final Roundtable session, as well as mock interviews with volunteers from White & Case.

If you are interested in learning more about the Fellows experience, you may contact Rhonda Haynes at rhondahaynes@urbandebate.org.

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