News / Press Release

L.A. Area Chamber 'Spotlights' Amgen, Tucker Ellis & West LLP for Partnering with Schools to Help Strengthen Education

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce announced today that Amgen, along with its education partner MLA Partner Schools, and Tucker Ellis & West LLP and its partner the Law, Business and Government Academy at Lincoln High School are winners of the first-ever Pillar Partnership Spotlight.

Through its Pillar partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the Chamber seeks to “spotlight” businesses and schools working together to improve education and help develop L.A.’s future workforce.  Winners are selected based on the quality and level of involvement between a business and a particular school.

“The Chamber applauds these groups for their great collaboration efforts to improve the quality of education for our young people,” said L.A. Area Chamber President & CEO Gary Toebben.  “At a time when school resources are dwindling … these are exactly the types of relationships that can make a difference.”

Since 2007, Amgen has made a significant commitment to MLA Partner Schools.  Starting with a $4 million grant over three years from the Amgen Foundation, the partnership provides a first-rate education to students and creates an infrastructure that supports and breeds innovation.

In addition to this financial investment, several Amgen executives and staff have engaged with MLA leadership to provide guidance in a number of areas such as strategic planning, operations, human resources and security.  Amgen scientists have also participated in a variety of ways including career panels for students.

“At Amgen, we emphasize leadership development to help achieve our mission to serve patients,” said Brian McNamee, senior vice president of human resources at Amgen, who serves on the Board of Directors for MLA.  “We have shared our programs and business experience to help MLA faculty and staff improve student performance.  Our involvement at West Adams Prep is broad and deep, and we are proud that many of our Amgen staff members are making a real difference to the school and its students.”

Amgen has also hosted teacher professional development sessions and helped teachers bring the science curriculum to life through the Amgen-Bruce Wallace Biotechnology Lab Program.  As a result of Amgen’s investment of money and talent, West Adams Prep has made strong academic progress demonstrated by a low dropout rate, high college-going rates, and gains in the Academic Performance Index.

For the last year, Tucker Ellis & West LLP, in partnership with the Constitutional Rights Foundation, has worked with teachers at Lincoln High School’s Law, Business and Government Academy to create the Legal-Related Education (LRE) Pipeline project. 

Through the project, the firm’s lawyers participate in monthly classroom speaking sessions, mentor students, serve on the school’s advisory board, and sponsor student activities.  Tucker Ellis & West LLP and the Constitutional Rights Foundation have also developed original curriculum to deliver lessons on topics selected by the students, including criminal law, misdemeanors, and immigration law and coach students to participate in moot court trials surrounding these issues. 

“Last summer, we went in search of a local LAUSD high school to partner with to develop a series of lessons and activities designed to introduce students to our legal system and show them how they can have positive input, as well as how laws affect them,” said Leslie Criswell, a partner at Tucker Ellis & West LLP.  “There are many opportunities out there to make a difference in our communities, and we are fortunate to have found one way that we can do so.  Onward and upward.”

The LRE Pipeline project resulted in increased student understanding of the legal field, with students reporting an increased understanding of the importance of the Supreme Court’s role in interpreting constitutional rights, the role of attorneys in defending and challenging individual rights, and an improved ability to develop persuasive arguments.  The partnership will be expanded next year to include more students, and to expand the curricular offerings.

“Spotlight” winners are selected by a panel of five judges representing the education, business, and nonprofit communities.  Each “Spotlighted” school will receive funding for educational activities and the winning partners will be invited to attend a meet-and-greet with LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines. 

For more information on the Pillar Partnership Spotlight, contact Paola Santana, 213.580.7553 or  To view the winning entries, visit


The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County.  Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region.  For more information, visit