The National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national network of African American attorneys and judges, and IMPACT, a nonprofit African American advocacy organization, have named Foley Senior Counsel Toni Y. Hickey as one of the 2012 Nation’s Best Advocates: 40 Lawyers Under 40. This prestigious honor recognizes talented individuals within the African American legal community who have achieved prominence and distinction, professionally and philanthropically, and have demonstrated a strong commitment to empowering, uplifting and advocating for the African American community.
Hickey has established herself as a well regarded international intellectual property attorney through several U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) leadership roles and considerable experience as counsel to various Fortune 500 corporations. Her influence on the African American legal community can be seen both in her mentorship of junior female and minority attorneys as well as in her dedication to leading by example.
As the first African American Deputy Chief of Staff to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property, Hickey was instrumental in developing the “2010-2015 USPTO Strategic Plan,” which helped strengthen the capacity of the USPTO and facilitated the creation of an Office of Education tasked, in part, with reaching out to young women and minorities and encouraging them to enter the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. She also spearheaded efforts to create an Affinity Council, which focuses on the recruitment, retention and inclusion of women and minorities at the USPTO. Committed to social justice, Hickey led the USPTO development of a humanitarian intellectual property rights initiative that incentivizes patent holders to engage in humanitarian issues. Her advocacy and leadership have also been recognized by the Department of Commerce for her work in providing unprecedented intellectual property assistance to sub-Saharan African countries to ensure fair and efficient implementation of intellectual property regimes in the region.