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Farella Braun + Martel’s Diversity Scholarship Program Aids Minority First-Year Law Students

April 30, 2012 Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, Apr. 30, 2012 – Farella Braun + Martel LLP announces the recipients of its annual Diversity Scholarships. The firm has awarded $5,000 to five diverse first-year students at Bay Area law schools, totaling $25,000.

"We are thrilled to give back and assist this worthy group of law school students. The Diversity Scholarship is a way that our firm promotes diversity in the legal profession while also assisting deserving students,” said Jennifer Peneyra, Farella Braun + Martel’s recruiting and diversity manager. “Over the years, we have kept in touch with past recipients, many of whom have since graduated from law school and joined law firms, while others are practicing in-house, with government agencies and for public interest organizations. They are succeeding as students and attorneys and are active contributors to community initiatives that further promote diversity.”

Diversity Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic accomplishments, commitment to serving the community and financial need. The five recipients of the 2012 Farella Braun + Martel Diversity Scholarships are:

Maria Sofia Corona Gomez attends the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. She is the Cruz Reynoso Fellowship Committee Coordinator for the La Raza Student Association and is a member of the La Raza Journal, the Berkeley Law Foundation and the Women of Color Collective. She earned a B.A. in philosophy and history with a minor in Spanish literature from California State University, Fresno. While in college, she served as president of Chicanos in Law and chair of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán), organizing conferences for pre-law undergraduates as well as high school and middle school students; she was also the legal committee chair, social studies senator for CSU Fresno’s Associated Students Inc. Corona Gomez strives to serve the community through her involvement with the California Rural Legal Assistance’s Community Equity Initiative and Berkeley Law’s Worker’s Rights Clinic. Following her first year of law school, she will intern with Centro de los Derechos del Migrante.

Karla De La Torre attends Santa Clara University School of Law, where she serves as the incoming secretary for La Raza and is the past publicity chair of the Public Interest and Social Justice Coalition. She also attended Santa Clara University for her undergraduate studies, earning a B.S. in political science with a pre-law emphasis. She served as an immersion coordinator, leading students to East Los Angeles to expose gang and social justice issues, and organized an AB 540 student conference to support high school students through the college application process. While pursuing her college degree, De La Torre interned with the Law Offices of Raul Ray, providing translation services for Spanish-speaking clients. She also taught seventh-grade students at Sacred Heart Nativity Schools in San Jose for two years before enrolling in law school. She will clerk with Bay Area Legal Aid this summer.

Maya Dillard Smith attends the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she is a Tony Patiño Fellow and a member of the Black Law Students Association. Dillard Smith earned a B.A. in economics with a minor in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University, where she served as president and treasurer of the Black Student Caucus and coordinated the Public Policy and Leadership Conference. Dillard Smith has worked as a staff analyst for the Judicial Council of California/Administrative Office of the Courts, and was the founding chairperson of the City of Oakland’s Violence Prevention and Public Safety Oversight Committee. She served as director of violence prevention with the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and continues to serve as a senate-appointed commissioner for the State of California’s Commission on Judicial Performance. Dillard Smith will be a summer associate with Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP.

Aditi Fruitwala is a student at the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she is the 1L representative for Pride Law, a staff writer for the Law and Global Justice Forum and a member of the Public Interest Law Foundation. She was recently elected to serve as the female law student representative on the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF) Board of Directors. She graduated magna cum laude from American University with a B.A. in anthropology and received a M.S. in social anthropology from the London School of Economics. As an undergraduate student, Fruitwala founded Darfur Action and served as its president; in graduate school, she was the events director of the LGBT Society. She has worked with the DC Reads program and taught students of all ages in Thailand and Spain. Fruitwala is currently a senior project manager with Inspired Adventures, managing social media for the company and researching charity and fundraising patterns in Australia. This summer, she will intern with the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti.

Samia Hossain attends the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, where she is co-coordinator of the Civil Rights Outreach Project, a volunteer with the California Asylum Representation Clinic and a member of numerous student groups, including the Berkeley South Asian Law Student Association and the Women of Color Collective. She graduated magna cum laude with a B.S. in international political economy from the University of Texas, Dallas. While in college, she served as president of the University Democrats, senator for Student Government, vice president of the Students for Environmental Awareness and community service coordinator for the Muslim Students Association. After college, Hossain studied Arabic in Cairo, Egypt as a Fulbright Fellow; while there, she also volunteered for Refugees United for Peaceful Solutions, teaching conflict resolution skills to refugees and served as a volunteer interpreter for a United Nations aid mission. This summer, Hossain will intern with the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, National Security Program in New York.

Farella Braun + Martel’s Diversity Program:

One of Farella Braun + Martel’s core values is “Success Through Teamwork, Diversity and Respect.” The firm believes it better serves clients, the profession and the community by building a workforce comprised of attorneys and staff with varied backgrounds in a workplace that appreciates individual differences. In 2010, Farella received the State Bar of California’s law firm Diversity Award as well as the California Minority Counsel Program (CMCP)’s Drucilla Stender Ramey Majority-Owned Law Firm Award. In 2011, the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) and Flex-Time Lawyers LLC named Farella one of the 50 “Best Law Firms for Women.”

Farella Braun + Martel represents clients throughout the United States and abroad in sophisticated business transactions and high-stakes commercial, civil and criminal litigation. Founded in 1962, the firm is headquartered in San Francisco and maintains an office in the Napa Valley focused on the wine industry. Farella Braun + Martel lawyers are known for their imaginative legal solutions, dynamism and intellectual creativity. With an unwavering service ethic and interdisciplinary team approach, the firm is committed to advancing clients' objectives in the most effective, coordinated and efficient manner. Farella Braun + Martel is a green business. www.fbm.com

Contacts:
Cheryl Loof
Farella Braun + Martel LLP
415.954.4433 / [email protected]

Melinda Hepp / Traci Stuart                 
Blattel Communications                                  
415.397.4811                                       
[email protected] / [email protected]

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