Late last year, we at Appelman Law Firm decided that we wanted to invest in the future of a prospective law student by offering a $1,000 scholarship to a student interested in pursuing a career in criminal justice. While we could have simply asked students for their GPA and an essay about what they planned to do after college, we decided to put a unique twist on the scholarship.
Those of you who know me best know that at one point in my life, I was chemically dependent. I have been sober for 11 years, but taking a walk on the wrong side of the tracks certainly gave me a new perspective on right and wrong, and how it can be difficult to overcome obstacles during this journey we call life. If I was going to give out $1,000, I wanted it to go to someone who had traveled down a similar path and triumphed over their past mistakes.
We decided to offer a scholarship to a law school student who had overcome a run-in with the law in their past. We asked for an essay describing their experience and how it affected their future pursuits. We also took into account GPA and work experience.
We received 35 applications, all of which had fascinating stories to tell. We wish we could feature them all on our blog, but we didn’t want to delay the announcement any further.
So without further ado, I am pleased to announce the Lia R. is the winner of the $1,000 Appelman Law Firm Criminal Defense Scholarship.
Lia’s story stood out from the rest for a number of reasons. She got into serious trouble with drugs and alcohol, but she put her mistakes behind her and has thrived ever since. Her 3.75 GPA and work with the Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office and U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma prove that she is working extremely hard at school and in the legal community.
I held a video conference with Lia late last week. I told her that she was a finalist, and that I wanted to learn a little more about her. Little did she know that our panel had already selected her as the winner. After talking for a bit and explaining more about the scholarship, I informed Lia about the committee’s selection. She was grateful for the scholarship, and she told us a little more about herself.
So now that the scholarship is over, I just want to take a moment to thank everyone involved. Thank you to all who applied, and a big thanks to all the universities and counselors who helped spread the word to their students. Overall, the scholarship contest was a rousing success, and it’s likely we’ll offer another scholarship in the future. Best of luck to all those pursing a career in law, and don’t ever let a mistake stop you from chasing your passions.
Appelman Law Firm