Group of students and lawyers smiling together at law office lobby

Making Waves and Allen Matkins Partner to Support Future Lawyers, Diversify the Field of Law

by Bonnie Shea

Making Waves Education Foundation » News Stories » Making Waves and Allen Matkins Partner to Support Future Lawyers, Diversify the Field of Law

At Making Waves Education Foundation, we know corporate and community partnerships are a win-win. Together with partners, Making Waves is supporting historically underrepresented students in developing their career skills while also building a more diverse workforce.

This March 2024, Allen Matkins became an official corporate partner of Making Waves. The partnership is focused on building the next generation of lawyers and diversifying the legal profession. To make that happen, Allen Matkins is providing funding for Making Waves’ college and career success program, which provides scholarships and pairs students with college coaches, financial coordinators, and career specialists.

“Making Waves Education Foundation is thrilled to welcome Allen Matkins as an official corporate partner in our mission to empower historically underrepresented students,” shared Allison Holton, chief of external affairs at Making Waves. 

The partnership with Allen Matkins also connects Making Waves students – the majority of whom are students of color and students from low-income backgrounds – with opportunities such as learning about careers in law, networking with lawyers, and gaining support for law school applications.  
The partnership kicked off with a field trip from Making Waves Academy in Richmond, California, to the Allen Matkins location in San Francisco, where 20 students had the opportunity to visit the law office, meet the Allen Matkins team, and learn more about the legal profession.

Lawyer pointing showing students around law office
Partner Mark Mengelberg showing Making Waves students around the Allen Matkins law office in San Francisco. (Ken Lew/Ken Lew Photography)

“I want to thank the Allen Matkins Law firm for being so kind and open minded. Asking them questions gave me the reassurance I needed for my future plans.”

Fernanda Alcala, Making Waves Academy Student

In the same week, Making Waves Education Foundation and Allen Matkins hosted an online panel about careers in law for college students across the U.S. 

During the field trip, Making Waves students shared excitement about getting to see the daily operations of a firm and to ask questions about different types of law.

“I had always thought that becoming an attorney was going to be mainly focused on being at court, but going on the field trip showed me that there are other ways to become an attorney too. That was really interesting,” shared student Andrea Martinez.

The group also explored how law fits into their interests ranging from social justice to environmental justice to civic engagement to policy work and more. 

“Thank you Allen Matkins for having us! I learned a lot about law and what it takes to be a lawyer beyond TV portrayals. This was a great opportunity.”

Kalilah Jamerson (Left), Making Waves Academy Student

It was a pleasure to learn more about the world of law, and I hope that more students can get the opportunity we did!

Fatima E. Cortes (Right), Making Waves Academy Student
Two students look over at a speaker across the table

“Making Waves is committed to providing each student with the resources, guidance, and opportunities they need to thrive and Allen Matkins is very proud to partner with Making Waves in those efforts,” said Partner at Allen Matkins Mark Mengelberg.

“Our collaboration with Making Waves is focused on creating a hands-on approach to diversifying the legal industry by giving the high school and college students a direct connection with our attorneys. This better allows each of the students to see the different opportunities that can be provided by a career in law and better recognize their vast potential to practice in many different areas of the law,” he shared.

Student in black suit walking listening to lawyer talking in blue sweater

“I learned about types of lawyers that I didn’t know existed until now. I enjoyed this field trip, and I’m thankful for having this opportunity to learn more.“

Bryant Gonzalez (Left), Making Waves Academy Student

According to the State Bar of California, as of 2019, white attorneys accounted for nearly 70% of California’s active licensed attorneys, even though people of color accounted for 60% of the total population over 18 years of age. The Latinx community is particularly underrepresented in law, accounting for 36% of the California population yet only 7% of licensed active attorneys.  
The partnership between Making Waves and Allen Matkins is looking to change that. 

“We believe that, through these efforts working with Making Waves, Allen Matkins can help not only bridge gaps in access and equity in the legal industry but also unlock a richer, more diverse tapestry of talent, innovation, and perspective that benefits us all,” Mengelberg shared.

Student walking through law office looking ahead

“Before going on this trip, I was on the fence about pursuing a career in law, but now, I’m 100% sure it’s what I want to do.”

Yoltzin Wallace, Making Waves Academy Student

Allen Matkins will support college students in Making Waves Education Foundation’s college and career success program through:  

Allen Matkins will support students attending Making Waves Academy through:  

“I truly believe I got to learn more and gain a deeper understanding about the legal field. I’m excited to carry the lessons I learned forward in my academic and professional journey,” shared Adan Guzman Rivera, a Making Waves Academy student, following the field trip to Allen Matkins.

A long-time supporter of Making Waves, Allen Matkins is also committed to future scholarships and formal mentorship for students in Making Waves programs pursuing law school and the legal profession.  

The partnership aligns with Making Waves Education Foundation’s career programming for students, which includes: 

“This partnership signifies a commitment to diversity and inclusion and opens doors for our students,” shared Holton. “We express our sincere gratitude to Allen Matkins for their support, and we look forward to the transformative impact this collaboration will bring to the lives of our Wave-Makers.”

About Making Waves Education Foundation 

At Making Waves, we are committed to educational equity. Making Waves Education Foundation is a Bay Area nonprofit that supports Making Waves Academy – a public charter school with more than 1,100 5th through 12th grade students – and leads college and career programming with more than 430 college students.

Knowing the opportunities that come with a college degree, we partner with historically underrepresented and underserved students to help make college affordable and graduation attainable. Centering the journeys of our students, our personalized approach includes college and career coaching, scholarships, and financial planning. Our alumni network includes more than 730 college graduates, who earn their degrees and land jobs at more than twice the rate of their first-generation, low-income peers, with 85% graduating debt-free. 

About Allen Matkins

Allen Matkins is a premier real estate law firm with over 240 lawyers in six offices across the US. The firm has leveraged its foundation in real estate, to grow and build prominent litigation, corporate, tax, labor and employment, land use, and environmental practices, which allow us to partner with clients across myriad industries and markets.  

For more than 45 years, the firm has worked with clients drawn to us by our reputation for creative solutions, pragmatism, exemplary quality, and approachability, and our unparalleled network of contacts and connections in business and government and our commitment to our communities. Through the Allen Matkins Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt private charity, the firm raises funds and makes grants, scholarships and other charitable donations to promote diversity in the workplace, in the legal profession, and in the related business community.