Law Alum Pays it Forward

A passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion in the legal community, GW Trustee Grace Venters Speights, Esq., JD ’82, has focused on employment discrimination claims as a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, in Washington, D.C. In addition to her role as managing partner of the Washington office, she is chair of the firm’s systemic employment litigation practice and co-chair of the diversity committee. She regularly counsels the country’s top Fortune 50 firms in employment law and best practices for corporate diversity initiatives.

Speights has received many accolades as a practicing lawyer: She has been named one of Washington, D.C.’s 100 most powerful women, a member of the Who’s Who of Black Lawyers, and one of the best attorneys in America. Just this year, she was awarded the NAACP’s Champion of Justice Award and the Washington Bar Association Legal Fund’s Maden Haden Trailblazer Award.

Grace Venters Speights, JD ’82

And now: scholarship donor, with a generous pledge to establish the Grace Venters Speights Endowed Law Scholarship.

Despite her busy schedule, Speights has remained committed to her alma mater, including hosting an “Evening With GW Law” at her firm for admitted students interested in learning more about GW and its law school. A GW donor since 1996, she was elected to the GW Board of Trustees in 2013.

Speights, who received a full scholarship to attend the GW Law School, remembers the impact of the support—beyond just financial—she received as a student.

“The [law] school was very supportive, the Black American Law School Association was very supportive, and the only African American professor, Professor [James Philip] Chandler, had his door open,” she said for a profile in the GW Law Magazine published this winter.

Speights thrived at GW and graduated with the Order of the Coif, the highest honor from GW Law. Inspired to continue this legacy of opportunity, she is giving back in a way that will directly benefit future generations who follow in her footsteps. The Speights Endowed Law Scholarship will provide need-based financial aid to a full-time law student interested in diversity and inclusion with plans to be an active GW Black Law Student Association (BLSA) member.

“The commitment of extraordinary alumni partners such as Grace Speights adds great momentum to our mission of supporting students,” said GW Law School Dean Blake D. Morant. “Her thoughtful generosity ensures that the most talented students, regardless of their financial resources, can take full advantage of a GW Law education.”


Gifts to Power & Promise ensure that qualified students, regardless of financial resources, can take full advantage of a GW education. Make a gift today or learn more about how you can support GW students at

Author: GW Impact

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