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Farella Braun + Martel's Diversity Scholarship Program Continues Aiding Minority, First-Year Law Students

May 5, 2010 Press Release

In its Tenth Year, Five 2010 Scholarship Recipients Announced

SAN FRANCISCO, May 5, 2010 - Farella Braun + Martel LLP has awarded its annual Diversity Scholarship of $5,000 to five first-year students at Bay Area law schools, totaling $25,000.  Marking its 10th year, the firm has provided $194,000 in scholarship aid for deserving students with socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.  The recipients are selected based on academic accomplishments, commitment to serving the community and financial need.

"We are thrilled to give back and assist this worthy group of first-year law school students with Diversity Scholarships.  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."

The five recipients of the 2010 Farella Braun + Martel Diversity Scholarships are:

Noemi Gallardo
Gallardo attends the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, where she chairs the Associated Students Image Committee; co-chairs the Diversity Outreach Day and Day at Law School sub-committees; and is co-chair elect of the La Raza Law Student Association.  Gallardo earned a Master of Public Policy degree in urban and social policy from the University of Southern California, where she helped found the Latino Association of Policy, Planning and Development; served as vice president of the Pi Alpha Honor Society; secretary and senator for the Graduate Policy and Administration Community; and was a delegate for the Latino Caucus Institute for Public Policy Academy.  She graduated cum laude from Pepperdine University with a B.A. in Spanish and international studies.  While there, she served as a senator in the Student Government Association and as secretary for the Latino Student Association.  As a Certified Spanish Interpreter, Gallardo founded Mariposa Language Services, providing interpreting and translating services to private, public and non-profit entities.  Through the Bay Area Minority Summer Clerkship Program, she will serve as a summer associate with Meyers Nave.

Jonah Lalas
Lalas, a student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, is a member of the Berkeley Law Board of Advocates Trial Advocacy Team, the Berkeley Journal for Employment and Labor Law and the Pilipino American Law Society.  He graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), with a B.A. in political science and international development studies.  He served as vice president of UCLA Samahang Pilipino and was a member of the UCLA Mock Trial Team.  He was also the viewpoint editor and a columnist with the student newspaper Daily Bruin.  Prior to law school, he was a lead organizer for the Service Employees International Union in Los Angeles and San Antonio and then served as organizing director for the Houston Organization for Public Employees, where he led a local union of 13,000 workers to achieve the first contract for public sector civilian employees in Texas.  Through the American Bar Association Judicial Internship Opportunity Program, Lalas will extern this summer with the Honorable John T. Noonan, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.

Sodaba Samad
Samad attends the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and is a diversity outreach committee member for the La Raza Law Student Association, the undergraduate division coordinator for the Afghan-American Bar Association and a member of the South Asian Law Students Association.  She earned a B.A. in history with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, where she was awarded the U.C. Berkeley Alumni Leadership Award for excellent leadership and community services and the Student Life Award for dedication to a cause.  Samad served as a student instructor teaching Civil Liberties Today, a class that covered such topics as women's rights, Japanese internment camps, the Free Speech Movement and racial profiling.  In addition, she was the program assistant and tutor for underserved minority students through the Department of Academic Affairs at College Track, a non-profit organization. She has also volunteered with the Children of Afghanistan Hope Project and served as the first immigrants' rights director for the U.C. Berkeley American Civil Liberties Union.  This summer, Samad will clerk at the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Amanda Urquiza
Urquiza is a student at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law.  She is a member of the La Raza Students Association, the Berkeley Law Foundation and the Berkeley Queer Caucus.  She is also the associate editor and submissions editor for the Berkeley La Raza Law Journal and a member of the Berkeley Journal of Gender Law and Justice.  Urquiza graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.A. in political economy of industrial societies.  She has served as a course instructor, resident assistant, disabled student assistant and Berkeley High School academic tutor.  Prior to law school, Urquiza worked as an outreach director in San Francisco public schools, developing partnerships with local networks of parents, community organizations and local business to support under-performing San Francisco public schools.  She also served as director of law and justice programs at Oakland's McCullum Youth Court and finance director for the Women of Color Resource Center.  She was recently elected to serve as a student representative on the Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom Board.  This summer, Urquiza will extern with the Honorable R. Gary Klausner of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.

Yarenia Valladares
Valladares attends the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.  She is co-secretary of the Associated Students of U.C. Hastings Image Committee and an associate with the Council on Legal Education Opportunity Program.  She was also elected to serve as board secretary of the La Raza Law Student Association for the 2010-2011 school year.  Valladares received a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles.  She served as co-president and academic chair of Hermanas Unidas de UCLA, a student organization which combines academics, community service and social activities to unite and support women in their pursuit of higher education.  She also mentored high school students through the Retaining Education Advocating Change and Career Based Outreach Programs.  Her outreach efforts to high school students also extended to the Early Academic Outreach Program, where she served as a Bruin Advisor.  After college, she took the role of site coordinator, overseeing all aspects of the programs designed to increase the eligibility of students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds for higher education.  Valladares will serve as a summer intern for Ford, Walker, Haggerty & Behar LLP.

About 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 community by building a workforce comprised of attorneys and staff with varied backgrounds in a workplace that appreciates individual differences.  Diversity is not merely discussed in the abstract; it is an integral part of the firm, reinforced by action and initiative.  The Diversity Committee, its subcommittees and the Diversity Manager focus on three main areas:  recruitment, retention and advancement; the Diversity Pipeline programs; and community service.

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

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

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