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MCLE Self-Assessment Test

Foundation assists future public interest attorneys with bar exam costs

Fifteen aspiring public interest lawyers will get financial assistance with the bar exam thanks to a unique scholarship program offered by the California Bar Foundation. The 2013 recipients of the Public Interest Bar Exam Scholarships include a Fulbright scholar, a published author and a public health advocate.

Started in 1997, the scholarships help to defray costs associated with taking the bar exam and are given to law school graduates planning to practice in the nonprofit or public sectors. This year’s scholarship winners will receive a no-cost California BarBri Bar Review Course valued at $4,000, and the five top scholars will receive $2,000 cash awards.

The only statewide scholarship of its kind in California, and one of just a few like it in the United States, the scholarship program has awarded roughly $350,000 to more than 275 California law school graduates since its inception. This year’s winners were selected based on their academic records and commitment to public service, which includes hundreds of volunteer hours at legal clinics and other nonprofit organizations. After graduation, the scholarship recipients plan to work in areas including civil rights advocacy and advising immigrants.

“The Public Interest Bar Exam Scholarship is an excellent example of the foundation’s commitment to building a better legal profession by helping move law students committed to public interest work from study to practice,” said bar foundation President Frederick Brown, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in San Francisco. “As the center for philanthropy for California’s legal profession, the foundation is ideally suited to administer important statewide programs like this scholarship, helping dedicated and talented students in starting their careers. These extraordinary law school graduates are deeply committed to communities across the state, have impressive academic and professional achievements and represent California’s future.”

The 2013 Public Interest Bar Exam Scholarship recipients are:  Kristie Morris and Marina Pantchenko, Golden Gate University School of Law; Dafna Gozani, Sarah Gross and Kelsey Williams, Loyola Law School; Brian Sanchez, Pepperdine University School of Law; Marisa Diaz, Stanford Law School; Stacey Zapanta, Thomas Jefferson School of Law; Sonja Tonnesen, University of California, Berkeley, School of Law; Jessica Owen, University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Carly Edelstein, University of California, Irvine, School of Law; Maria Rodriguez, University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law; Georgia Gebhardt, University of San Diego Law School; and Luong Chau and Michael Santos, University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

To learn more about the scholarship winners, visit the California Bar Foundation website.