14 Sep 2021

Scholarship project inspired by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg reveals inaugural recipients

The four first-year law students will receive a financial stipend and mentoring from SDNY alumni

A sign in remembrance of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's answer to when there will be enough women on the US Supreme Court: "When there are nine"

The When There Are Nine Scholarship Project, a program established by a group of women lawyers to honour the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg by providing financial and mentoring support to female law students in the US, has revealed its inaugural class of women scholars. 

First-year law students Amanda Gómez Felix, Priscilla Guo, Cristel Taveras and Rose Wehrman have been selected from a pool of nearly 400 applicants to receive a financial stipend and career support as well as mentorship, networking and other career-advancement-related opportunities through the programme. 

The selection process was based on traits that were ‘embodied’ by the late Justice, including academic achievement, commitment to serving her community and perseverance in the face of adversity.

Established in September 2020 in partnership with the Federal Bar Council, the scholarship 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’. 

All of the founders are former assistant US Attorneys in the Southern District of New York (SDNY). 

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. It will be funded entirely by charitable donations. 

Preet Bharara, a former US Attorney for SDNY, said: ‘Perhaps the greatest part of this project is that each scholarship recipient will be provided a team of mentors to give career guidance and create networking opportunities. In this way, my colleagues hope to open doors for the next generation of women lawyers with the help of their close-knit SDNY alumni community and to give thanks for the doors that Justice Ginsburg opened for them.”

Karen Patton Seymour, a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell and a founding donor of the project, emphasised that the project is about “so much more than funding”. 

“This is an opportunity for those of us who have had the privilege of serving as federal prosecutors to not only pay it forward, but also mentor the deserving recipients to help ensure their success,” she said.