DENVER - May 31, 2016 - Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP partner Kenzo Kawanabe and Xcel Energy assistant general counsel Jennifer Jaskolka have both been named finalists for the inaugural Chambers Diversity Awards.
The Chambers Diversity Awards provide an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of lawyers from non-traditional backgrounds and recognize the firms and individuals affecting positive change for diversity and inclusion. The shortlist is based on Chambers Diversity research as well as submissions from, and on behalf of, nominees. Chambers will highlight the work of trailblazers and thought leaders who are creating lifelong, diverse pathways in the legal profession. Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Yale Club of New York City on June 16. Mr. Kawanabe is one of five attorneys shortlisted for Outstanding Contribution to Furthering the Advancement of Diversity in the Legal Profession (Private Practice). Ms. Jaskolka is one of five finalists for Minority Lawyer of the Year.
"It is exciting to see Denver attorneys recognized for their work in the area," said Mr. Kawanabe. "I'm honored to be included with a group of such distinguished nominees like Ms. Jaskolka."
Ms. Jaskolka practices in the litigation group of the Xcel Energy Office of General Counseling and manages local and multi-district litigation matters. She is responsible for Xcel's asbestos litigation portfolio, and handles Occupational Safety and Health legal issues for all operating companies. Ms. Jaskolka is also a leader in promoting diversity and inclusion (D&I) at Xcel Energy and is past co-chair of the company's D&I Committee. Under her leadership and guidance, the company undertook a more prominent role in fostering community partnerships with organizations like the Center for Legal Inclusiveness (CLI), and investing in D&I efforts including the pipeline effort of the 1L Pledge to Diversity summer associate program. She also led Xcel Energy's partnership with the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA). Ms. Jaskolka and two other legal department members each received Xcel Energy's 2014 Shining Star Diversity and Inclusion Award for their efforts to make their department more inclusive and innovative. Ms. Jaskolka was also a finalist for the 2016 CLI Inclusiveness@Work award and named one of Law Week Colorado's Top Women Lawyers for 2016.
Mr. Kawanabe is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and commercial litigator who represents clients in matters relating to commercial disputes, mass torts, products liability, and intellectual property. He has been dedicated to advancing diversity and inclusion throughout his legal career and has been a driving force of D&I efforts at the firm. Mr. Kawanabe currently co-chairs the DGS D&I Committee and has served on or led the committee for numerous years. DGS has supported a number of D&I efforts throughout the community, including the Colorado Pledge to Diversity Minority Clerkship Program to hire first year diverse law students and the Rocky Mountain Diversity Legal Career Fair (RMDLCF), of which the firm is a founding sponsor and has developed and supported since inception. Mr. Kawanabe also serves on the CLI Board, which is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing diversity in the legal profession. He chaired CLI's Development Committee which helped to establish the inaugural Ball for All, encouraging people from government, business, nonprofit, and the law to work together in making our communities more diverse. He was the first-ever general counsel of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, is a past-president and Foundation president of the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Colorado, and serves on numerous non-profit and foundation boards including Colorado Legal Services, the Boettcher Foundation and Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kawanabe has advocated for a more inclusive legal profession including speaking at MCCA, NAPABA, and CLI conferences.