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Farella Braun + Martel Awards Five 2008 Diversity Scholarships To Bay Area Law School Students

April 23, 2008 Accolades

SAN FRANCISCO, April 23, 2008 - Farella Braun + Martel LLP has awarded its annual Diversity Scholarships to five first-year students at Bay Area law schools.  Each student received $5,000 for a total of $25,000.  Since FBM's Diversity Scholarship Program began in 2001, the firm has awarded more than $125,000 in scholarships to 34 law students from the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law; University of California, Davis, School of Law; Golden Gate University School of Law; University of California, Hastings College of the Law; Stanford Law School; and the University of San Francisco, School of Law.

The scholarships are offered each year to first-year law students from socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.  The recipients are selected based on personal and academic accomplishments, financial need, and demonstrated leadership and commitment to serving the legal profession, the community and the public interest.

"We are excited to award this impressive and promising group of students well-deserved scholarships that will assist them in continuing their legal careers.  The recipients have demonstrated commendable efforts to serve underrepresented communities and contribute greatly to the legal profession," said Jennifer Peneyra, Recruiting and Diversity Manager.  "As a firm, we understand the importance of diversity and its presence in the legal industry.  We are thrilled to give back and assist this worthy group of law school students with Diversity Scholarships."

Farella Braun + Martel's Diversity Committee focuses its efforts on promoting diversity within the firm, in the legal profession and in the community at large.  Through educational workshops on diversity awareness, roundtable discussions and other events directed to increase diversity within the firm, the Diversity Committee strives to foster an environment where everyone has equal access to opportunities for personal and professional growth.  The Diversity Committee also extends its support for diversity to the community by contributing to local and national organizations that advance diversity issues, sponsoring minority law student groups, providing scholarships for diverse law students, developing a pipeline summer internship program for minority high school students, and providing pro bono legal assistance to people from diverse communities and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The five recipients of the 2008 Farella Braun + Martel Diversity Scholarships are:

Chambord Benton-Hayes
Benton-Hayes attends the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she will serve as co-president of the Black Law Students Association for the 2008-2009 school year.  She graduated cum laude from the University of San Francisco, with a double major in Politics and Philosophy and minors in Legal Studies and African American Studies.  As an undergrad, Benton-Hayes was a research assistant in the Philosophy Department and a teacher's assistant for the Politics Department, as well as a board member for the Black Student Union and president of the Sister Connection, an African American women's empowerment organization.  She also interned with City Supervisor Sophie Maxwell, helping connect Bayview-Hunters Point residents with resources for government aid, shelters and community groups.  Benton-Hayes is a recipient of the Bar Association of San Francisco's Bay Area Minority Scholarship.  This summer, she will clerk with the law firm of Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Lyons, Greenwood & Harley, PLC.

Michelle Mersey
Mersey attends the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she is a student representative on the Boalt Hall Financial Aid Committee and a mentor for prospective law students. Mersey received a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies with a Minor in French from Emory University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and she holds a Master of Philosophy in International Relations from the University of Oxford.  She served as a resident assistant at Emory and president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  After college, Mersey worked as a case worker at Rogers & Hardin in Atlanta, Georgia and as a legal assistant at Tucker Griffin Barnes in Charlottesville, Virginia.  She is an education surrogate working one-on-one with a high school student for the Education Advocacy Project, a program that seeks to satisfy the educational needs of foster children.  Mersey plans to work at the International Labor Organization in Geneva, Switzerland this summer.

Sahar Nayeri
Nayeri is a student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she is the associate editor of the Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law and secretary of the Middle Eastern Law Student Association.  Nayeri graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in History.  She served as vice president of the UCLA Hillel and treasurer of the UCLA Iranian Student Group.  Prior to law school, Nayeri actively served the youth in her community through the Venice Community Housing Corp.  She first assisted high school students with college and job placement as a volunteer through the YouthBuild Program; later, she developed programs for at-risk youth in the Juvenile Justice System as a project assistant with the Law and Justice Program.  Nayeri also worked as a program assistant and tutor at the John Muir Charter School, preparing students with both academic and life skills for employment and higher education.

Cam Thi Phan
Phan is a student at the University of California, Davis School of Law.  She currently sits on the Primary Selection Committee for the Business Law Journal and will be an articles selection editor for the next academic year.  She is the technology chair for the Asian Pacific American Legal Student Association, a member of the King Hall Legal Foundation and an external editor for the Boalt Hall Asian American Law Journal.  Phan graduated from UCLA with a double major in Political Science and Asian American Studies.  In college, she served as a board member of the Vietnamese Student Union and coordinator for the Concerned Asian Pacific Islander Students for Action.  She also worked at the Higher Opportunity Program for Education, starting as a tutor and peer advisor for underprivileged and at-risk high school students and then later managing the tutoring-mentoring program as a site coordinator.  This summer, Phan will clerk at the East Bay Community Law Center.

Tuan Uong
Uong attends the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and is a member of the Hastings Race & Poverty Law Journal, the Vietnamese American Law Society, and Hastings La Raza Law Students Association.  He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History from UCLA, graduating cum laude.  During his undergraduate studies, Uong worked as a paralegal and legal assistant at Liner Yankelevitz Sunshine & Regenstrief LLP.  He participated in his inner-city high school mock trial team for four years, and as its captain led the team to advance further in the Los Angeles High School Mock Trial competition than it had ever had in the past.  Uong continues to mentor at-risk youth through programs like One Voice Academic Outreach and the Program Leading to Undergraduate Success.  He recently volunteered at U.C. Hastings' "A Day at Law School," an event focused on encouraging high school and elementary school students from underprivileged communities in the Bay Area to pursue higher education.

Since its founding in 1962, Farella Braun + Martel has achieved a national reputation for the acumen of its business practice, the skilled trial attorneys and high profile cases of its litigation practice, and its prestigious client base. Based in San Francisco, the firm serves a diverse group of clients from multinational corporations to emerging businesses. The firm also has an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry and related businesses. Farella Braun + Martel is a Green Business.

Contact:

Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel
415.954.4433
[email protected]

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