Louis Stokes Scholars Program
Lives, One Student at a Time”
In June 2012, the CMBA launched the
Louis Stokes Scholars Program -- a pipeline diversity initiative through which
college students engage in paid summer legal internships of eight-week duration
-- at Cleveland law firms, courts and legal nonprofits.
- The Stokes Scholars Program received the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Program Award in September, 2014.
- The National Association of Bar Executives awarded the Stokes Scholars program with the Lexis Nexis Community Partnership Award in 2013.
- In March 2013, the Louis Stokes Scholars Program was named Best New Internship at The Expys Awards. The Expys Awards are presented by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) and Cleveland Business Connects Magazine to recognize the best interns, mentors and internship programs in Northeast Ohio.
There is need for pipeline diversity programs because
the legal profession ranks last in the percentage of minority members compared
to all other professions a troubling statistic for a profession dedicated to
justice and equality. The Stokes Scholars Program provides the missing piece
in the CMBA's pipeline diversity initiatives – a college program. The CMBA
now will have critical pipeline programs for high school (The 3Rs – Rights, Responsibilities, Realities; Cleveland
Mock Trial Program and Stephanie
Tubbs Jones Summer Legal Academy), college (Louis Stokes Scholars Program)
and law school students (Minority
Participating students, known as Stokes
Scholars, must be graduates of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District or
East Cleveland Municipal School District and enrolled in college or scheduled
to begin college in the fall following the summer program. At each firm,
court and legal nonprofit employer, students are matched with an
attorney-mentor, known as a Stokes Scholar Mentor. Mentors ensure the
experience provides a good introduction into the profession and also provide
career counseling. Stokes Scholar Mentors are encouraged to continue to serve
as a resource for their interns after the summer ends.
A key component
of the Stokes Scholars Program is large group activities during which the
interns and their mentors participate in enrichment and social activities,
including visits to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
and Chief Judge Solomon Oliver, the Eighth District Court of Appeals of Ohio
and Chief Judge Patricia Ann Blackmon, and to the Cleveland-Marshall College
of Law and Dean Craig Boise. Stokes Scholars also benefit from a writing
workshop facilitated by the Cleveland Law Library and “Lunch and Learn”
sessions at the CMBA with local leaders and attorneys as speakers, giving the
Scholars the opportunity to meet and mingle with law students participating
in the CMBA’s Minority Clerkship Program. The Scholars are also given written assignments throughout the summer to enhance their summer writing experience and improve their communication skills.
Since its launch in 2012, a
total of 50 Stokes Scholars were provided with internships at the following
law firms, courts, and legal nonprofits: McDonald Hopkins LLC;
Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.; Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP (Sustaining Sponsor);
Thompson Hine LLP; Tucker Ellis LP; Ulmer Berne LLP; Walter | Haverfield
LLP; Zukerman Daiker & Lear Co. LPA; the U.S. District Court; the Court of Common Pleas of
Cuyahoga County; Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court; the Juvenile Court
GAL Project; the Cleveland Municipal Court; the Legal Aid Society of
Cleveland; and the Cleveland Law Library and the CMBA. Additional internship
opportunities at other area law firms and corporations will be pursued each summer.
Special thanks to Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, the Sustaining Sponsor of the Stokes Scholars Program! As Sustaining Sponsor, Squire Patton Boggs has demonstrated its ongoing, annual commitment to the program through annual gifts and other support.
The Louis Stokes Scholars Program is named
to honor Louis Stokes, a CMBA member and attorney with the law firm of Squire
Sanders. He is a former Congressman who represented the Cleveland area for
over three decades (’68-’99) and the first African-American elected to
Congress from Ohio. He and his brother Carl, the first African-American
elected mayor of a major city, rose to the heights of political power from
humble beginnings as residents of Cleveland’s Outhwaite public housing
projects. A graduate of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, Louis Stokes, our "living Civil Rights
icon," is the recipient of numerous awards for his public and community
service, as well as for the practice of law.
For more information
about the Stokes Scholars Program, please contact Mary
Groth, Director of Development & Community Programs.