Ankin Law Office clerk, Jocely Pacheco was awarded the Public Interest Advocate Scholarship Award at the 15th annual Unity Award Dinner on November 27th at the Chicago Hilton. The Diversity Scholarship Foundation which hosts the dinner provides 21 scholarships in five areas; Diversity, Public Interest, Law student with a disability, Bar exam preparation scholarship, and LSAT scholarship. Jocelyn was one of only four students to receive the Public Interest scholarship.
The Public Interest Scholarship is awarded to a law student who is interested in pursuing a career in public service or a student who is actively involved with a nonprofit agency that represents the needy and the underprivileged. Jocely, who is a third-year law student at The John Marshall Law School has advocated for those in need through the National Immigrant Justice Center and the Illinois Appellate Prosecutor Office. She has also served in many student leadership roles, including as President of the Women’s Law Caucus and the Alumni Chair for the Latino Law Student Association. She is committed to serving people in need and advocating for all those who seek justice.
The dinner includes an awards presentation which recognizes the tireless efforts of individuals who have made significant contributions to the legal community and the community at large, including embracing diversity and the ideals diversity represents. The highlight of the evening, however, is the awarding of the scholarships to diverse and deserving law students from across Illinois. In addition to providing a variety of merit and need-based scholarships at the annual dinner, the Foundation also provides support year-round to other organizations that share the common goal of promoting diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Additionally, the Foundation performs community outreach; speaking at public schools in the Chicagoland area about professionalism, civility, and the importance of education.
The Diversity Scholarship Foundation was established by a group of attorneys and judges committed to the ideal that diverse law school student bodies are required to ensure further diversification and inclusion in the legal community. Although the Foundation was formally established in March 2008, the Foundation’s mission had its genesis in 2002, when 17 bar association presidents joined together for the first symbolic swearing-in and took an oath to promote the goal of advancing diversity within the Chicago legal community. In subsequent years, the number of participating associations has greatly increased, to where today, more than 50 associations have joined together to partake in the symbolic swearing-in and pledge to support the increasing need to take concrete steps to diversify the legal community.