Will County Legal Opportunity Scholarship Program
The application deadline for submissions has passed.
About the Scholarship Program
The Will County Bar Association in collaboration with the Black Bar Association of Will County, Latino Bar Association of Will County, Will County Women’s Bar Association and Spesia & Taylor Attorneys at Law is pleased to announce applications are currently being accepted for the Will County Legal Opportunity Scholarship Program. The purpose of this Program is to encourage diversity within the Will County legal community by awarding a scholarship to an incoming first year Black or Latino Law Student. The recipient will be eligible to receive up to $46,000 to help repay outstanding legal education debt in return for practicing law in Will County, Illinois upon graduation. The deadline for applying was May 31, 2021.
How the Scholarship Program Works
The recipient of the Will County Legal Opportunity Scholarship Program will be awarded $5,000 per year for three years to assist in payment of law school tuition. This $5,000 payment will be paid directly to the law school after the recipient provides proof of enrollment at the beginning of each fall semester, and proof that the student is meeting the minimum 2.6 GPA requirement. The recipient shall provide a copy of his or her report card to the Scholarship Committee after being posted each semester. The recipient must complete law school within three years of the 2022 Fall Semester.
During law school, the recipient will have the opportunity to enroll in summer internships through the Will County Courthouse, State’s Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, and participating Will County Law Firms. This unique opportunity will provide an excellent opportunity for the recipient to network and display his or her professional and community leadership skills.
The recipient of the Scholarship will receive an additional $1,000 to use towards a bar preparation course after recipient provides proof of enrollment for the Illinois Bar Examination.
Upon successfully passing the Bar Examination and obtaining employment with a governmental entity in Will County or actively practicing law in Will County, the recipient will receive up to $10,000 per year for up to three years to pay any outstanding student loan debt. The recipient will be required to provide statements indicating the amount of law school student loans that remain outstanding for each of the three years after graduating law school. The WCBA will pay any outstanding balance up to $10,000 per year directly to the financial institution that holds the loan for a three-year period, so long as the recipient meets the following requirements:
- Is licensed to practice law in Illinois,
- Is in good-standing with the ARDC,
- Is employed by a governmental entity, law firm, and/or as a sole practitioner in Will County, and
- Is actively practicing law within Will County.
To be eligible for the Will County Legal Opportunity Scholarship Program, candidates must meet the following rules of eligibility:
- Applicant must be Black or Latino
- Admitted to an American Bar Association accredited law school for Fall 2021
- Incoming first year law student
How The Recipient Is Selected
A Selection Committee comprised of members of the Will County Bar Association, Black Bar Association, Latino Bar Association, Women’s Bar Association, RCK Law Firm, and members of the judiciary of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois will review the applications and select the recipient. The Selection Committee will consider the following criteria: college GPA, community service work, personal statement, essay, character, and the desire to be a leader within the Will County Community.
The second annual Will County Legal Opportunity Scholarship has found a recipient, and this year, it has been awarded to its first woman law student – Ayanna Squires, an Algonquin resident.
A Rockdale resident who dreamed of becoming a lawyer is now one giant step closer to realizing it. The Will County Bar Association announced at its picnic last Saturday that Adrian Guzman, the son of immigrants from Mexico, was the first recipient of the Will County Legal Opportunity Scholarship, a release from the association said.
For perhaps the first time in Will County history, several bar associations in Will County have come together to offer one black or Latino law student a really significant scholarship.