This fall, a group of 11 accomplished and diverse students began their legal careers with vital financial and professional support, thanks to a new collaboration between four top law firms and the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
DLA Piper; Gallagher Evelius & Jones; Miles & Stockbridge; and Pessin Katz have joined forces with Maryland Carey Law to launch the Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Initiative, an effort to ensure that Maryland’s legal community becomes as diverse as the population of the state itself.
“We are incredibly grateful to these firms for their leadership in addressing this challenge,” said Dean Donald B. Tobin. “Together, they have provided us with almost $700,000 to launch this program. Our profession has talked about the importance of increasing diversity for years. This new collaboration is a significant step toward achieving that goal here in Maryland. I hope every law firm in the state will join us.”
Increasing diversity is a challenge for the legal profession both in Maryland and nationally. According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, law is one of the least racially diverse professions in the nation. Eighty-eight percent of lawyers are white. Meanwhile, women constitute a third of the profession, but only 17 percent of equity partners. Firms participating in the new Initiative believe that increasing diversity makes sound financial sense for them and for the profession.
The Diversity and Inclusion Scholars Initiative will offer financial and professional support every year to approximately 10 academically talented first-year students at Maryland Carey Law. Diversity Scholars also must have demonstrated leadership and an ability to overcome challenges to their professional values and career goals.
The first class of Diversity Scholars includes 11 students. They speak nine languages among them and come to Maryland Carey Law from their home states of California, Texas and Maryland.
In addition to financial support during the law school’s three-year JD program, collaborating law firms and Maryland Carey Law will provide scholarship recipients with opportunities to participate in:
- Individual mentoring from attorneys whose firms are part of the Initiative
- Firm-hosted networking events
- Events for the Baltimore legal community, such as bar association meetings, receptions, etc.
- Law school diversity programing
- Mock interviewing and other skills-building exercises
“This is just the beginning,” said Dean Tobin. “We believe the need and support for this program will only grow—and that firms across the state will make sure that happens.”
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION SCHOLARS
Maryland Carey Law is proud of the fact that 29 percent of this fall’s new students are members of a minority group, a figure consistent with enrollment for the last several years. Here is the first group of Diversity and Inclusion Scholars and their undergraduate institutions.
Thaakirah Cason, University of Baltimore ‘17
Sudipta Das, University of Maryland College Park ‘17
Andrew Do, University of Maryland College Park ‘13
Alba Sanchez Fabelo, Loyola University Maryland ‘16
Dominic Gilani, The University of Texas at Dallas ‘16
Cymone Gosnell, Loyola University of Maryland ‘15
Taylor Nichols, New York University ‘16
Chukwukpee Nzegwu, Vanderbilt University ‘17
Juan Parcero, University of California Los Angeles ‘16
Fatemeh Shahkolahi, Notre Dame of Maryland ‘10
Savanna Stack, Arizona State University ‘14