Earlier this month, Melissa A. Anyetei, Intellectual Property partner at the law firm Mayer Brown, received the “Leadership Excellence in Law Award” at the Illinois Diversity Council’s second annual conference.
“The law award recipients are a subset of a group of “extraordinary” leaders recognized at the annual ceremony—“hard working and dedicated individuals [who] have shown superior leadership and are highly regarded in their industries,” said Dennis Kennedy, founder and CEO of the National Diversity Council.
In an exclusive interview, Anyetei told TNJ.com, “It was an honor to get the award as it is given to those with leadership in several industries; this one is for law and it focuses on hardworking individuals. As an African American woman in an industry where Black female partners are rare, it’s always great to be honored by organizations that foster diversity because it’s necessary. Everyone can do a better job at it and it is important to be in the legal field where we are still making strides to increase the number of minority attorneys.”
A graduate of Columbia Law School and Northwestern University, Anyetei says she is able to utilize her undergraduate course work in her current position. “I received my B.S. in industrial engineering and I use those skills in my practice which deals with patents and different technologies,” she shares.
With the firm since 2005, she has experience in a wide range of technologies including pharmaceutical products, medical devices, transdermal hormone replacement therapies, internet-based technology, consumer products, gaming devices, smart cards and business methods.
In addition to the award from IDC, Anyetei is also the recipient of Rising Star in intellectual property litigation by Illinois Super Lawyers (2012-2016) and was named to Lawyers of Color’s “Hot List” for 2014, which honors early- to mid-career minority attorneys who are excelling in the legal profession. In addition, Melissa was named as a finalist by the Euromoney Legal Media Group for its 2014 Euromoney Americas Women in Business Law Awards as a Rising Star in intellectual property.
(For more coverage of Black attorneys, pick up the “Attorneys at the Top” Fall 2015 copy of The Network Journal.)