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The lifetime work of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has inspired a group of women lawyers to set up a scholarship programme to provide financial and mentoring support to female law students in the US.
The ‘When There Are Nine Scholarship Project’ was created by the group of women – who all served as assistant US Attorneys in the Southern District of New York – in partnership with the Federal Bar Foundation.
Rebecca Monck Ricigliano, a partner at Crowell & Moring, and one of the group of women lawyers behind the project, said: “We want to honour Justice Ginsburg’s legacy by helping women entering or in law school with financial difficulties. Women who may not see a path to success right now, but who, if given the chance and the same mentoring, support and guidance we benefitted from, would make superb lawyers.”
The project aims to advance equality and diversity within the legal industry by expanding career opportunities for women lawyers who ‘embody the spirit reflected by Justice Ginsburg’s achievements in the face of adversity’.
Carrie Cohen, a partner at Morrison & Foerster and another member of the group, said: “Justice Ginsburg was a trailblazer and pioneering advocate for women’s rights. Justice Ginsburg repeatedly overcame the gender discrimination she would later spend the better part of her career seeking to eradicate in the courts, and her advocacy and the cases that she won and ruled on opened doors for so many women. This is our way of giving back to her and continuing her legacy.”
The project will be funded entirely by charitable contributions. The project organisers are launching a fundraising campaign in the autumn, with the goal to raise enough funds to give each recipient a minimum of $10,000 a year for every year they are in school. The project hopes to provide scholarships to three students in the first cohort.
Amanda Kramer, a partner at Covington & Burling and a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York for 11 years, said: “One of our earliest decisions was naming the project. We drew inspiration from Justice Ginsburg’s vision for true equality and equity for women, which is exemplified by her response to a recurring question about the number of women on the Supreme Court.”
When asked when will there be enough women on the Court, Justice Ginsburg said ‘when there are nine’, adding that nobody had ever raised any questions about nine men being on the Court.
Jessica Ortiz, a partner at MoloLamken who oversees the project’s selection committee, added: “This is more than just a scholarship fund. Our hope is to sponsor these young women and ensure that they get internships and jobs that will expose them to the highest level of the law – public service.”