Our 1L Diversity Scholarship Program offers a paid summer position in both our Portland and Seattle offices, plus $7,500 for second-year tuition and expenses. It is open to diverse first-year law students who have a record of academic achievement and who are committed to civic involvement that promotes diversity. Since the program began in 2002, DWT has awarded 30 scholarships to diverse students. Five of those students are currently DWT associates.
Girmay Zahilay, a student at University of Pennsylvania Law School, was one of two recipients of the scholarship in 2012, and spent his summer working in our Seattle office. “Since I’m only a 1L,” says Zahilay, “and don’t yet have a specialty, I was glad to be able to experience a lot of different types of legal research—drafting memoranda on securities regulations, preemption, patent infringement, noncompete agreements, and free speech, among others.” Born in Sudan, Zahilay immigrated to the U.S with his family at age three and grew up in Seattle. Prior to law school he spent a year in the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows Program, a Congressional project designed to create leaders in the fight against hunger and poverty. The Fellows divide their time between on-the-ground service with community-based organizations, policy training in D.C., and work with non-profits and government agencies. After completing his Fellowship, Zahilay emailed each of the 40 former Fellows who currently work as lawyers for guidance, asking what they’re doing, how fulfilling they’ve found their career, etc. He was encouraged by what he learned and is planning to pursue corporate law. “I really like the fact that it touches every single industry. I also like the client development side of it—you’re creating relationships with everyone from cutting-edge innovators to very established companies. I got to see a lot of that at DWT.”