Career Highlights: Paterson is a founder of the Equal Justice Society, an organization dedicated to changing the law through progressive legal theory, public policy, and practices. She was a leading spokesperson in campaigns against Proposition 187 (anti-immigrant) and Proposition 209 (anti-affirmative action). Paterson earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
Power Play: Paterson has co-authored briefs for landmark lawsuits in support of affirmative action, including an amicus brief in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Michigan Law School admissions case.
English, Munger & Rice
Los Angeles, CA
Career Highlights: Rice is acclaimed for litigating civil rights cases involving police misconduct, employment discrimination, and fair public resource allocation. The New York University Law School graduate and co-director of The Advancement Project has strong family ties — she’s a cousin of National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice.
Power Play: Rice won a $750 million coalition lawsuit for new school construction and a $2 billion lawsuit to improve bus service, both in Los Angeles.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
New York, NY
Career Highlights: Shaw has litigated civil rights cases throughout the country at the trial and appellate levels, and in the Supreme Court. The Columbia Law School graduate previously worked as a trial attorney in the civil rights division of the Department of Justice.
Power Play: Shaw was lead counsel representing African American and Latino University of Michigan undergraduate students in the affirmative action case Gratz v. Bollinger, in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the compelling state interest of diversity.
Kenneth C. Frazier
Senior Vice President and General Counsel
Merck & Co.
Whitehouse Station, NJ
Career Highlights: In 1992, after a 14-year career as a litigation partner with Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia, Frazier joined pharmaceuticals giant Merck. The Harvard Law School graduate served as Astra Merck’s first general counsel and now oversees all legal affairs of Merck, which had 2002 sales of $51.8 billion.
Power Play: Frazier was part of the corporate teams that spearheaded the spin-off of Medco Health Solutions Inc. and that acquired Rosetta Inpharmatics of Kirkland, Washington, and Sibia Neurosciences of San Diego, Merck’s two newest research sites.
George W. Madison
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
New York, NY
Career Highlights: Madison serves as chief legal officer of TIAA-CREF, one of the nation’s 100 largest companies with $286 billion in assets under management. The Columbia Law School and Columbia Business School graduate previously was a partner at Mayer, Brown & Pratt, where he was the first African American partner in the firm’s 120-year history.
Power Play: During his tenure as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at Comerica Inc., Madison negotiated the naming rights agreement with the Detroit Tigers that resulted in the team’s new stadium being named Comerica Park.
Michele Coleman Mayes
General Counsel and Senior Vice President
Career Highlights: Mayes oversees the legal affairs of the world’s leading provider of integrated mail and document management solutions. Previously, she served as vice president and deputy general counsel for Colgate-Palmolive. Mayes had stints with the Department of Justice as assistant