Meet Jah Akande
Class of 2023 BEQ Pride LGBTQ Leader Under 40
Pronouns: He, Him
Who or what inspires your leadership purpose? And why?
Like many, I was the first in my family and greater “village” to become an attorney. It has been an honor to be part of the legal profession and to show up every day as my ancestors’ wildest dreams! It brings me joy to use my compassion and talent in advocacy to uplift others, specifically through pro bono efforts. I hope always to use my position and voice to uplift, empower, and liberate marginalized communities. ~Jah Akande
Jah Akande, a Government Investigations and White-Collar Litigation associate at the law firm of McGuireWoods LLP, is a leader within the institution and force in his greater community. As a transgender lawyer at an AmLaw 100 law firm, Jah recognizes the importance of representation and the ongoing need to break barriers to access inherent in the profession.
Since he was a youth, Jah has been a changemaker and advocate. Throughout high school and college, he worked tirelessly alongside a number of local organizations in Richmond, Virginia, to lobby the Virginia General Assembly for workplace nondiscrimination policies and other critical rights for LGBTQ+ Virginians. His belief that law is the avenue through which true change can happen ultimately led him to the University of Virginia, where he pursued his law degree. While in law school, Jah worked with the Legal Aid Justice Center and the Federal Public Defenders Office to advocate for the rights of indigent and low-income individuals.
Now at McGuireWoods, as part of his pro bono efforts, Jah has played an integral role in advancing healthcare equity for transgender Virginians, represented marginalized groups in contract disputes and counseled undocumented persons seeking lawful immigration status. Jah also currently serves as the firm’s Triage Project co-champion for Richmond’s Eviction Diversion Program, an innovative new pro bono effort working to combat the crisis of evictions in the city.
Jah remains devoted, both inside and outside of the law firm, to promoting and improving diversity and inclusion in the profession. He is proactive in the firm’s recruiting and community-facing initiatives and serves as an informal mentor to a number of newer attorneys and staff members across the firm’s offices. Jah is also a Gearing Up Individuals to Drive for Educational Success (GUIDES) mentor with Partnership for the Future, a community-driven college preparation organization working with highly able, underrepresented high school students to equip them with the tools and resources needed to sustain them through college and their careers. In addition to mentoring high school students, Jah counsels first-generation college students to encourage them to pursue their passions both inside and outside of the legal field.
I hope for ultimate liberation from discrimination and stigmatization of our community and proactive efforts on the part of our allies to be part and parcel of that freedom trajectory. ~Jah Akande
To learn about more leaders recognized by BEQ Pride, visit https://businessequalitymagazine.com/MoreLeaders
To connect with this leader, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/jahakande/