Back to News list

Keker, Van Nest & Peters Awards 2024 Diversity Scholarships


(San Francisco, 06/07/2024) – Keker, Van Nest & Peters has awarded $100,000 in scholarship funds to its 2024 Diversity Scholar recipients Victoria Esparza, Valerie Khau, Adrianna Vaca-Navarro, and Soraya Morales Nuñez. As a part of the firm’s commitment to increasing diversity and promoting inclusion in the legal profession, it provides scholarship grants and academic and professional mentorship to first-year law students interested in practicing litigation in the Bay Area. Since the inception of its Diversity Scholars Program in 2011, Keker, Van Nest & Peters has awarded over $700,000 to nearly 40 law students nationwide who have overcome significant adversity and represent a broad range of identities and experiences.

“By ensuring that these talented scholars have the resources and support they need to pursue a legal career that is aligned with their passion and values, we are investing in a future where the profession is enriched by a broader range of perspectives and experiences,” Jessica Ourk, Keker, Van Nest & Peters’ Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, said. “We are incredibly excited to see the great things they will accomplish as they strive for excellence and continue to be a beacon of positive change.”

person with glasses smiling

Victoria Esparza is a first-year J.D. candidate at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she is an associate editor of the Berkeley Latine Journal of Law & Policy and the 1L Representative and member of La Alianza Law Students Association. She volunteers for the Berkeley Immigration Group, working alongside the ACLU of Northern California on detention center grievances. She also participated in the 2024 Spring Hawaii Berkeley Law Alternative Break Trip where she worked under the supervision of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) and conducted legal research and writing to contribute to a land-back related memorandum. Prior to law school, Victoria served as an intern for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and as Staff Assistant to Congresswoman Veronica Escobar in her Capitol Hill office.

Victoria earned her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While pursuing her degree, she led efforts to pass a resolution at the university to provide $24.5k in funding to undocumented students for DACA applications. Victoria also contributed to the creation of a $10k renewable scholarship for undocumented, transgender, and unhoused students at the institution. She is a first-generation college graduate and the first in her family to attend law school.

person smiling

Valerie Khau is a first-year J.D. candidate at UC Law San Francisco, where they are a member of the first-generation program and Video Game Law Society and a volunteer for Homeless Legal Services. Valerie is a recipient of the Legal Education and Opportunity Scholarship, awarded to students who have overcome significant adversity, and the Dean’s Scholarship, an award based on academic success and excellence. Prior to law school, Valerie launched a jewelry design e-commerce business to create gender-affirming pieces for trans and nonbinary clients, building an online community for three years.

Valerie earned their B.A. in English from UC Berkeley where they served as the staff reporter for The Daily Californian. Valerie was also elected as a Health Worker for the Oscar Wilde Cooperative where they organized LGBTQIA-centered educational workshops that provided interpersonal and physical health resources for LGBTQIA+ students. Valerie also raised awareness about food accessibility and EBT applications as a cooperative house cook and volunteer at the UC Berkeley Food Pantry. They are a first-generation college graduate and the first in their family to obtain a degree and attend law school.

person smiling

Adrianna Vaca-Navarro is a first-year J.D. candidate at UC Berkeley School of Law, where she serves as an associate editor for the Berkeley Latine Journal of Law & Policy and is a member of Law Alianza Law Students Associate and the Womxn of Color Collective. Adrianna serves as a student advocate for the Berkeley Immigration Group’s Abolishing Deportation Pipeline Project where she works with the California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice to file prosecutorial discretion requests on behalf of immigrant, incarcerated women. Prior to law school, Adrianna served as a program coordinator for Innovation Law Lab working to offer universal legal representation to immigrants in removal proceedings in the state of Oregon.

Adrianna earned her B.A. summa cum laude in economics and Spanish from the University of Oregon, Robert D. Clark Honors College where she competed in the University’s mock trial program. Adrianna was awarded the Barbara Corrado Pope Thesis Award for her thesis “Border Imperialism and Agricultural Servitude in the Lives of Mexican Immigrants” which analyzes the historical and ongoing oppression of Mexican immigrant farmworkers in the United States.

person smiling

Soraya Morales Nuñez is a first-year J.D. candidate at UCLA School of Law, where she is a member of the Latinx Law Students Association, the First-Generation Law Students Association, and is a mentee in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity program. Prior to law school, Soraya worked as a paralegal for the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL). At NCYL, Soraya collaborated with attorneys on state and federal impact litigation cases to defend the rights of youth in the immigration, juvenile justice, and child welfare systems. She also served as a project analyst for Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo PC, where she prepared research for an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Soraya earned her B.A. in politics from Princeton University, where she co-founded Princeton Advocates for Justice, a student organization that mobilized students and faculty to contact government representatives for action against the Trump Administration’s 2017 travel ban and DACA rescission. For her efforts, she was awarded the Santos-Dumont Prize for Innovation, which recognizes student projects with wide-reaching impact and visibility. Soraya is a first-generation college graduate and the first in her family to attend law school.

About Keker, Van Nest & Peters:

For 45 years, Keker, Van Nest & Peters has litigated complex, high-stakes civil and criminal cases throughout the nation. The firm takes the cases where companies, products, and careers hinge on the result. Its clients are high-profile individuals, as well as some of the world’s most successful companies, including Genentech, Google, Instacart, Lyft, Major League Baseball, Meta, Netflix, and Qualcomm. The firm’s areas of expertise include intellectual property, professional liability, class actions, general contract and commercial litigation, antitrust, white collar, and appellate.