CLEO, Inc.


CLEO Announces 2022 CLEO EDGE Award Honorees for Education, Diversity, and Greater Equality
Five Notable Individuals to be Recognized on November 17th in Washington, DC

Alexandria, VA – November 3, 2022 – 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 2022 recipients of its CLEO EDGE Awards, which recognize excellence and achievement in the key pillars of Education, Diversity, and Greater Equality. The 4th Annual CLEO EDGE Honors Reception & Awards Program will take place on Thursday, November 17, 2022, at the law offices of Greenberg Traurig, 2101 L Street, NW,  Suite 1000, Washington, DC, 6:00 – 8:00 pm ET.

This year’s five (5) 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 undergirded the organization’s purpose in recognition of its historic 50th Anniversary.

In addition to the three individual EDGE awards, two prominent individuals will receive the fifth and sixth CLEO EDGE Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Heritage Awards.  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 five 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 2022 CLEO EDGE Honors recipients (alphabetized by last name):

  • José Bahamonde-González (Education Award) – Former University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law dean and professor and  Senior Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. He will be honored posthumously.
  • Sherrilyn Ifill (Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Heritage Award) – Law professor and Former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
  • Letitia “Tish”James (Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. Heritage Award) – The 67th Attorney General for the State of New York
  • Jean Lee (Greater Equality Award) – President and Chief Executive Officer, Minority Corporate Counsel Association
  • Laurie Robinson-Haden (Diversity Award) – Founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Counsel Women of Color

For more information about the reception, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact Leigh R. Allen II, Vice President, Marketing and Development at or 240-862-8380.


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 28,000 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 and its programs can be found at Additionally, to listen to episodes of the new CLEO EDGE Podcast, please click here:

Media Contact:
Bernetta J. Hayes

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