ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund

Make Law School a Reality for Diverse Students

ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund

You can bridge the gap by making a gift to the Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund

The legal profession is one of the most powerful forces of change in our country. It is most effective when it fully reflects the diversity of the society it serves. In nearly 20 years, donors have invested $5.7 million in cultivating the talents of 380 minority law students through the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund.

Each year, up to 20 incoming diverse law students receive $15,000 of financial assistance to help cover the rising costs of law school. These exceptional recipients have overcome adversity, proven themselves through academic success and public service, and demonstrated the tenacity to excel within the legal profession.

Former ABA President William G. Paul and founder of the Scholarship Fund is asking ABA leaders in the House of Delegates to match his $50,000 contribution. With his and your generous gifts, we can raise one-third of the funds needed to operate this program.  

You should take great pride as these talented young people infuse our profession with their resolve, life experience, and legal acuity. Our Scholarship alumni are pursuing justice in 33 states across the country. 

  • 45% for public interest organizations 
  • 42% in law firms 
  • 13% as corporate counsel

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Meet Katie Eichner

My mom knew my potential before I did. Whenever we passed someone in a suit, which wasn’t very often in our predominately Native American community, my mom would say to me: “Katie you’re going to wear clothes like that someday. You are going to do something big!” We law school graduates are our parents’ dreams deferred, what they’ve sacrificed for, and their hope for a better future.

Receiving this coveted scholarship meant I could quit the two jobs I worked during college and focus on studying the law. While at Stanford Law School, I was able to volunteer at the Domestic Violence Law Clinic, to lead the Native American Law Students Association, and to be an editor of the Environmental Law Journal. More importantly, it was the clear message from the ABA that came with the check. It said, Katie, we stand with you, and we want you to succeed. You’re going to be a lawyer.  

I can’t begin to express how much that support meant to me. It fueled my success in law school and laid the groundwork for success in my legal career. Now a litigator with the Law firm of Lindsay Hart and Director of the Board of Oregon Association’s Defense Council, I am also a founding board member for the Native Amicus Briefing Project, which is dedicated to fostering a greater understanding of federal Indian law and tribal law in the courts and the broader legal community. That’s the support the scholarship provides for students like me. That’s what receiving it means. 

Katie Eichner

Katie Eichner

Meet Brian Larkin

I am humbled to be among these exceptional ABA Scholarship recipients. Raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, I knew I wanted to be a lawyer after learning that my own grandfather had been dragged off to jail for participating in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Providing essential cab service throughout the city for boycotters, was the grounds for his arrest.

Now as the Assistant General Counsel at a Fortune 500 financial institution, I advise the company on fair lending and fair housing compliance. I also volunteer my time and legal expertise to these important causes, including: the D.C. Bar Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic, Compass Greater Washington – a nonprofit pro bono strategic guidance program, and the Wills for Heroes Foundation program, which provides pro bono development of critical legal documents to our nation’s first responders.

Brian Larkin

Brian Larkin

Meet Doan Nguyen

My harrowing early life in America remains fresh in my memory as I pursue justice for other immigrants today. At four years old, my parents and I survived my five siblings after floating for 14 days on the Indian Ocean with no food or water. Even with my parents’ fervor to escape the tyranny of their homeland, assimilating to life here was a daunting task. Desperately poor, not knowing any English and without friends or relatives, my family scraped together a livelihood only to survive; affording law school was an impossibility.

For the first eighteen years of my life, I believed that my Vietnamese and American selves would forever conflict. To me, America was both a haven that rescued me from death and the home of ongoing injustice. My pursuit of a public interest law career stems directly from my personal struggles as a disadvantaged immigrant, and my ultimate ability to overcome these struggles.

With financial assistance from the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, I obtained my JD at the University of CA – Berkeley and now I serve the greater good for the State Bar of California. Your generosity will bring other highly motivated diverse attorneys into the legal profession.

Doan Nguyen

Doan Nguyen