Pictured: left to right; 2015 winner Mark Richards (Hastings), 2014 winner Setareh Homayoninejad (Berkeley), 2015 winner Jose Martinez (Stanford) and 2015 winner Maritza Martin (UC Berkeley).
Keker & Van Nest LLP hosted a reception to honor the three remarkable law students who won the firm’s annual diversity scholarships. While all of the finalists were outstanding, the firm’s Scholarship Committee ultimately selected Maritza Martin (UC Berkeley), Jose Martinez (Stanford) and Mark Richards (Hastings) as this year’s recipients.
Since launching the Diversity Scholarship in 2011, Keker & Van Nest has awarded more than $200,000 to outstanding Bay Area law students from traditionally underrepresented groups, who have demonstrated interest in complex civil, intellectual property or white-collar criminal litigation.
In addition to its diversity scholarship, Keker & Van Nest creates opportunities for diverse attorneys through its successful mentorship program, participation in minority career fairs and support of many non-profit organizations. Its commitment to creating a more diverse and inclusive legal community is also reflected the firm’s statistics. According to NALP’s 2015 diversity report, partnership diversity ranges from 5.43 to 8.95 percent, depending on the firm’s size. In stark contrast, 23.1 percent of Keker & Van Nest’s partnership is diverse.
“We established the diversity scholarships to increase the number of lawyers from diverse backgrounds in the law firm ranks. Increased diversity makes for a better law firm and is good for law firms, clients and society as a whole,” said Susan Harriman, Keker & Van Nest Partner and member of the firm’s Diversity Scholarship Committee.
“We had an amazing group of applicants, each of whom is deserving of support. Although it was not an easy decision, each of our recipients possesses a unique combination of determination, intelligence, and poise that left no doubt in our minds about the positive impact they will have on the Bay Area legal community, not only as great lawyers, but as role models for the next generation,” said Khari Tillery, Keker & Van Nest Partner and member of the firm’s Diversity Scholarship Committee.
Scholarship applicants must be current first-year or second-year law students who are students of color, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, disabled, or whose background or experience would otherwise contribute to the diversity of litigators in the Bay Area. Recipients must attend University of California, Berkeley School of Law; University of California, Hastings College of the Law; or Stanford Law School as a full-time student and remain in academic good standing for the academic year of the award. While financial need is not required, it is considered along with other factors.