CLEO, Inc.


CLEO Announces 2024 CLEO EDGE Award Honorees for Education, Diversity, and Greater Equality
Four Notable Individuals to be Recognized on April 11th in Washington, DC

Alexandria, VA – February 9, 2024 – The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO), widely renowned for its mission “to inspire, motivate, and prepare students from underrepresented communities to succeed in law school and beyond,” has announced the 2024 recipients of its CLEO EDGE Awards, which recognize excellence and achievement in the key pillars of Education, Diversity, and Greater Equality. The Annual CLEO EDGE Honors Reception & Awards Program will take place immediately following our inaugural CLEO Legal Pipeline Career Expo on Thursday, April 11th, 2024, at the law offices of Greenberg Traurig, 2101 L Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC, 6:00 – 8:30 pm ET.

This year’s four (4) deserving EDGE Award recipients were chosen from a wide array of nominees for their accomplishments in the profession and society. CLEO first created this special recognition in 2018 to promote its focus on the aforementioned three “pillars,” which are the foundation of the organization’s mission and purpose.

In addition to the three individual EDGE awards, one prominent individual will receive the fourth CLEO EDGE Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Heritage Award.  This distinguished award is bestowed annually to a person, or persons, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in all three pillar areas in the legal profession or society.

“The four recipients of this year’s CLEO EDGE Awards each truly exemplify what diversity, equity, and inclusion are all about,” said Juan Carlos “J.C.” Polanco, Esq., MBA, Chief Executive Officer of CLEO. “These invaluable characteristics are important to CLEO, the legal profession, and our nation as a whole. We believe these leaders appreciate and value diversity in all its forms!”

The 2024 CLEO EDGE Honors recipients (alphabetized by last name):

  • Neal Katyal (Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Heritage Award) – Paul Saunders Professor at Georgetown University, and Former Acting Solicitor General of the United States
  • Bryan Parker (Greater Equality Award) – Co-founder and CEO, Legal Innovators
  • Rick Petry (Education Award) – Director, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Mitchell Hamline School of Law
  • Hon. Phyllis D. Thompson (Diversity Award) – Senior Judge, District of Columbia Court of Appeals

To view more details about our Honorees, or for tickets and sponsorships please visit:

For more information about the reception, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact Iris Juergens, Director of Development and Grants at or (937) 882-3972.

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About the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.

CLEO, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities for persons from traditionally under-represented racial and ethnic groups, low-income, and disadvantaged communities. Founded in 1968, when the number of lawyers of color was less than one percent, CLEO has since had more than 30,000 high school, college, prelaw, and law students participate in its programs. CLEO alumni have excelled in every area of the legal profession to include judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, and politicians. More information about CLEO, its 50+ year history, and its programs can be found at and

Media Contact:
Dominique Moss, M.Ed.
Director of Law School Initiatives
(240) 582-8600