The scholarships, all of which the Association attempts to maintain in the amount of at least $5,000, are presented to the winners at the Annual Meeting in August.
2023 SCHOLARSHIP WINNERS
Recipient of the 2023 Jacobsen Scholarship
Mersadie Murray (“Sadie”) is ranked first in her class of 282 students at the University of Wisconsin Law School (UW Law), is a member of the UW Law Review, UW Law Moot Court Board, and serves on the e-board of the Public Interest Law Foundation for the past two years. She has undertaken a passionate and selfless commitment to public service in her representation of prisoners serving excessive sentences. In pursuit of her passion, Sadie does the heavy lifting that high-quality criminal defense work demands, including combing through piles of medical records, scouring hundreds of pages of prison records and court reporter’s transcripts, examining police reports and attorney files. Prior to attending law school, Sadie was involved with the restorative justice project and worked directly with inmates at a local prison, which involved facilitating talking circles, organizing speakers, and developing community service projects for inmates. Working with vulnerable clients involved in the court system requires the ability to communicate clearly and in a way that anyone can understand (a skill she learned as the live-in caregiver to and teacher of an autistic child the year prior to law school). During Sadie’s experience with the restorative justice project, she experienced firsthand the personal transformation an offender undergoes when given the resources and opportunity to restore some of the damage for which the offender was responsible. While not entirely sure what she plans to do after law school, Sadie’s experiences before and during law school have made her passionate about helping vulnerable people and she hopes to assist with many more personal transformations in her future professional life.
Recipient of the 2023 Cohn/Dorsett Scholarship
Abigail L. Leigh (“Abby”) is a second-year law student at the University of California, Irvine School of Law (UCI Law) who is a high-achieving scholar and selflessly dedicates their time, energy, and passion to making the world a better place, both within and outside of the classroom. Abby has served in a variety of leadership positions, including as Associate Editor of UCI Law Review, a board member for the Public Interest Law Fund, both the IL representative and later the Director of Communications for OutLaw, and a Scholar for the Center on Law, Equity, and Race. Abby’s commitment to public service began before attending UCI Law, when they served, among other capacities, as an intern at Chapter Four Uganda, advocating and providing resources for the LGBTQ+ community in Kampala, Uganda. Over the last two years, Abby has stayed deeply involved with the local legal community and serves as the student liaison to the Orange County Lavender Bar Association. In the context of international human rights law, Abby has been a leading force in the International Justice Clinic. They conducted research into the status of human rights violations in Afghanistan, focusing on marginalized communities, and introduced that work in the context of a major workshop at UCI Law that brought together Afghan refugees working in human rights fields. Working with classmates, the ACLU’s human rights program and a coalition of human rights advocates, they have helped build UCI Law’s program advocating an American National Human Rights Institution. Their work has been consistently excellent, driven by a sense that robust research and creativity can lead to concrete benefits for human rights at home and abroad. Upon graduation, Abby will use their law degree to positively transform our society and hopes to work as a human rights lawyer, focusing on issues related to international law, migration, the LGBTQ+ community, and racial justice.