Last year we hosted our first annual For the People scholarship to support law students who demonstrate a commitment to community service.
After an overwhelmingly successful first scholarship, we decided to do it again. This time around we asked law students to submit a video or essay answering this important question: “What does standing up for the 'little guy' mean to you? How will you stand up for the 'little guy' as an attorney?”
Here at Morgan & Morgan, fighting for the little guy is part of our core philosophy, and we don’t shy away from a challenge. That’s why it’s so important to us to foster the next generation of young lawyers who share our firm’s ‘For the People’ mentality and are driven to fight for those who need it most.
With that in mind, we are proud to announce that the winner of our 2nd Annual For the People Scholarship is Li Reed.
“I'm so grateful to be the Morgan & Morgan For the People Scholarship winner!” Li said. “Funding a legal education can be stressful, particularly for students seeking careers in public interest. The financial burden was the toughest hurdle for me to overcome in my law school application process. The generosity of Morgan & Morgan has helped to lessen this burden.”
She added, “This scholarship's message is invaluable, as it represents the firm's willingness and desire to encourage law students to stay committed to improving the world.”
Meet Li Reed
Li Reed is a student at Harvard Law School. Before enrolling, she worked as an educator at one of the lowest performing middle schools in the District of Columbia, where she saw firsthand the adversity that underserved children of color must overcome to obtain a quality education.
Li also experienced that adversity firsthand growing up on the South Side of Chicago, where she overcame a difficult home life and other obstacles that threatened her path to success. Her upbringing played a major role in how she mentored her students.
It helped Li to teach her students to withstand the social stigma and difficulties of educational inequality that once jeopardized her own adolescence, and to equip her students with the tools necessary to surpass them.
“I pained to instill in them composure, grit, and ingenuity, remembering these as the most impactful assets in my own ascension from a challenging home life,” she wrote in her essay.
“I’m eager to clear the path for children like those I served, and I’m convinced that the law is the best tool to achieve this goal."
Despite the hardship and community violence that continued to threaten their growth, Li’s students continued to astonish her with their accomplishments, growth, and resilience. Even in the face of tragedy, her students persevered.
One of Li’s students was caught in the crossfire during a conflict between rival neighborhoods, leaving him paralyzed on one side of his body. He spent months in the hospital and underwent hundreds of hours of physical therapy -- and he recovered, going on to make the National Honor Society with a 3.9 GPA in his first term.
Seeing this student’s hard-fought recovery “ignited a new fire” in Li, pushing her to pursue the next chapter of her life: studying for a career in law, where she could protect the rights of children through impact litigation.
“It cemented my belief that my children could overcome any challenge put before them, and furthermore, intimated the heights they could achieve in the absence of such severe adversity,” said Li. “I’m eager to clear the path for children like those I served, and I’m convinced that the law is the best tool to achieve this goal.”
Throughout her essay, Li articulated with great empathy what standing up for the ‘little guy’ means to her as a future lawyer. She will support those with less, whether that support involves giving voice to someone who is ignored, providing an opportunity to someone who has been disadvantaged, or sharing resources with someone who has doesn’t have any.
Thank You for Applying to the 2nd Annual For the People Scholarship
To those who are considering following their dreams of going to law school, Li Reed has this to say: “So far, law school has been a worthwhile endeavor. Even in this short time, the connections I've made and the growth I've achieved have been greater than I could have imagined. My advice for those considering law school is to talk to as many lawyers as possible about their passion and their work.
“This scholarship's message is invaluable, as it represents the firm's willingness and desire to encourage law students to stay committed to improving the world.”
She adds, “You might be surprised by how diverse and wide-ranging the legal profession actually is. If you have a passion that is driving you to pursue a legal career, you should definitely apply! I have yet to meet a person who regrets attending law school.”
We truly believe that Li Reed will use her legal expertise to fight for the welfare of children and to improve educational outcomes across the country. That’s why she was chosen as the winner of our For the People Scholarship.
Thank you to everyone who applied to the 2nd Annual For the People Scholarship! Study hard and continue to use your knowledge in law to fight for the people, not the powerful.