Letter From A Member Of The ACCA Southern California Diversity Committee

2011-01-31 01:00

To The Readers Of The Metropolitan Corporate Counsel:

ACCA-SoCal Generates $20,000 In Scholarship Funding For Financially Challenged Law Students Of Color

Targeting the July 2011 California Bar Exam, ACCA-SoCal, through its Diversity Committee, has generated the equivalent of almost $20,000 in scholarship money.With these funds, ACCA-SoCal can now provide five financially challenged graduating minority law school students in our Southern California region with an opportunity to take an expensive bar exam preparation course at no cost.

Today's law students face multiple challenges as they try to become our next generation's legal leaders.Not only must they demonstrate extraordinary legal skills, but they must manage the academic challenge of law school while determining how to pay the ever-increasing costs associated with law school.Managing their financial responsibilities in an environment with evaporating grants and dramatically shrinking loan opportunities causes many students to take on extra jobs, reduce study time and forego expensive bar exam preparation courses, which generally approach $4,000 per course.However, foregoing such bar exam preparation courses clearly places the financially challenged student at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to passing the always challenging California Bar Examination.

Believing that it is incumbent upon the legal community to assist in alleviating the economic burden faced by financially challenged minority students as they prepare for their bar exams and their future in the legal profession, ACCA-SoCal set out almost two years ago on a quest to assist in alleviating this financial challenge.Continuously working to find sources of funds, the Diversity Committee finally identified and applied for a $5,000 grant from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association.Led by then President Bernard Gaffaney, ACCA-SoCal was awarded that grant in August of 2010, and with the unanimous support of its Executive Committee and Board of Directors, promptly matched that initial $5,000, dollar-for-dollar.

Recognizing the need to help as many students as possible, the members of the Diversity Committee then proceeded to meet and work with various qualified bar exam preparation courses in the Southern California region.Led by BarBri and Brian Sacks, their senior vice president, ACCA-SoCal was successful in obtaining course discounts of nearly 50 percent, thus providing ACCA-SoCal the opportunity to cover all nonrefundable costs for five coveted bar exam preparation courses.

While the Diversity Committee of ACCA-SoCal believes that these 2011 accomplishments are significant, it also recognizes that in order to make a truly significant difference, funding bar exam preparation courses for such qualified and deserving students needs to be institutionalized throughout ACC and the legal community.Furthermore, it is our ongoing belief that the actions we take toward funding such ongoing scholarships will truly demonstrate our organization's sensitivity to the challenges faced by financially disadvantaged law students of color and will serve to increase the diversity of the legal profession.

Applications for these scholarships will be available at each accredited law school in Southern California in mid-February 2011, and scholarship awards will be announced and made by the end of April 2011. For more information about ACCA-SoCal's committees or this program, please contact diversitychair@ gmail.com.


Harry B. Field