California Western School of Law 1L Sabira Abdulhameed has been awarded a 2013 Diversity Scholarship by the California Bar Foundation, the only San Diego law student to receive the honor.
Abdulhameed is one of 22 first-year law students in California to receive a prestigious diversity scholarship out of 140 who applied. As a Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP Scholar, she will receive a $7,500 scholarship to help cover the cost of tuition and other expenses.
The recipients are all standout students, according to the Bar Foundation, many of whom have overcome significant obstacles on their way to becoming a lawyer.
“I am overwhelmed with gratitude,” Abdulhameed says. “Getting into law school and being able to come to California Western is an amazing thing in and of itself, but it is really awesome to know that the California Bar Foundation also has confidence in me.”
“As the center of philanthropy for California’s legal profession, the California Bar Foundation is committed to advancing important statewide programs like the Diversity Scholarship, helping dedicated and talented students launch their legal careers,” said Fred Brown, president of the Board of Directors for the Bar Foundation. “We congratulate this year’s recipients, and we will continue to work with our sponsors to build a California legal profession that represents the communities it serves.”
Abdulhameed says she did overcome obstacles along the way before coming to law school. Growing up in Inglewood, California, she says that while her mother was college educated, her family's socio-economic status was still low.
After graduating with a degree in psychology from NYU, Abdulhameed worked in social services, helping inmates and parolees who were HIV positive. It was then that she realized she wanted to be “on the legal side of things.”
That led her to being accepted to California Western, where she says her 1L experience is as she expected it to be.
“It is a whole lot of work, but California Western is a super-supportive school,” she says.
Abdulhameed says she believes her community involvement helped her win the scholarship. “I helped to direct a food pantry in 2009 at the church where I was a member. Before law school, I worked as a tutor for foster-care youth in Los Angeles.
Additionally, after I become an attorney, I plan to build a social justice organization to help to break the poverty cycle and divert the school-to-prison pipeline that leads to mass incarceration.”
Abdulhameed and all California Western law students benefit from the law school’s focus on equipping graduates with profession-ready skills. The school’s clinical and other programs allow students to serve the community by providing access to justice for those who cannot afford legal services.
About the California Bar Foundation
According to the California Bar Foundation, it is "committed to building a better justice system for all Californians." The nonprofit organization was founded in 1990 and is affiliated with the State Bar of California. Each year, the Foundation awards grants to California organizations conducting innovative law-related projects and scholarships to outstanding California law students.