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Bar Foundation awards scholarships to 57 law students

Fifty-seven California law students have been awarded public interest or diversity scholarships totaling more than a quarter million dollars from the California Bar Foundation. The recipients attend 17 different schools and join 530 lawyers who have received more than $2.2 million in public interest scholarships since 1992.

“Today there is only one California legal aid lawyer for every 8,361 low-income Californians who need legal help, while there is one private lawyer for every 250 clients who can afford our services,” said Jeff Bleich, a member of the foundation’s board.

“But the high cost of law school, with law students graduating with as much as $100,000 in student loans, prevents many new lawyers from pursuing public interest jobs and helping narrow this ‘justice gap.’ The scholarship program is a way of saying, ‘if you commit to serving the people of this state, we’ll commit to helping you get a legal education.’”

The public interest scholarship recipients are nominated by their schools for a demonstrated commitment to public service, academic excellence and financial need. They receive up to $7,500. Six top scholars received scholarships named for law firms that each made $30,000 commitments to the program in 2007. A seventh received the Jim Pfeiffer Scholarship, named for the late founding executive director of the foundation.

The first diversity scholarships were awarded to 20 incoming law students from communities underrepresented in the California bar. Eleven law firms pledged $30,000 each to fund the program over three years. Diversity recipients were selected from among 200 applicants, including a Cambodian refugee, children of Latino farmworkers, an Ethiopian immigrant and an ordained minister.

The public interest scholarship winners and their law schools are:

Sheba Saroia and Matthew Justin Wechter, Chapman University
Seth Lichenstein-Hill, Golden Gate University
Neda Mashayekhi, Celida B. Miramontes and Cindy Pánuco, Loyola
Alicia L. Hinton, San Joaquin College of Law
Molly Brennan, Santa Clara University
Tiffany Woo, Southwestern
Eunice Hyunhye Cho (Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP Scholar), Yara Lomelí-Loibl (Seyfarth Shaw Scholar), Jessica Oats (Milstein, Adelman & Kreger Scholar), Alexa Van Brunt (Fulbright & Jaworski LLP Scholar) and Rachel Zwillinger, Stanford
Cheryl Andrada, Benjamin R. Botts (Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP Scholar), and Lorraine Leete, Boalt Hall
Neta Borshansky, UC Davis
Meredith L. Alexander, Todd Daloz, Raegan Joern and Abby Sullivan, UC Hastings
Moisés R. Ceja, Jessica Langley (Jim Pfeiffer Scholar), Jenny Macht (Dreier Stein Kahan Browne Woods George LLP Scholar), Sarah Paule and Debra Weinberg, UCLA
Brett Barley, Julia Davis and Colin Donnelly, University of San Diego
Meredith Marzuoli and Marie Montesano, University of San Francisco
EmmaElizabeth Gonzalez, Ashley Nicole Johndro and Rebecca S. Raizman, University of Southern California
Taylor Irene Dudley and Sherin Larijani, Whittier

The diversity scholarship recipients are:

Angel Rodriguez (Morrison & Foerster Foundation Scholar), Golden Gate
Rafael J. Albarrán, Monterey
Amber N. Lee (Lim, Ruger & Kim Foundation Scholar), Pepperdine
Alexander Hernandez, Joshua J. Johnson (Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Foundation Scholar), Amaha Imanuel Kassa (Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin Scholar) and Tam Mai Ma, Boalt Hall
Anel Carrasco and Esmeralda Z. Soria (Keker & Van Nest LLP Scholar), UC Davis
Juan Leonel Alvarez (Keesal, Young & Logan Scholar), Coral H. Arias (Fenwick & West LLP Scholar), Houng Claire Mao, Jimmy E. Rodriguez and Sheila Shayda Winslow (Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati Foundation Scholar), Hastings
Kenia Acevedo (Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP Scholar), Lisa M. Alarcón (Buchalter Nemer Scholar) and Robert Montaño, UCLA Carmen L. Franklin, USF
Cristina Peña (Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal LLP Scholar) and Marwa Mohamed Rifahie, USC

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