On March 24, 2022, the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion held its First Annual Fundraising Luncheon at the Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek. At this event, UCLI announced a new fellowship in Justice Durham’s honor: the Justice Christine M. Durham Fellowship. This fellowship is intended to facilitate the legal education of an individual who shows a demonstrated commitment to and great potential for pushing forward the cause of justice, equity, and inclusiveness in Utah’s legal profession. Someone who, like Justice Durham, will make the legal field a better place for all who follow.
Through the Durham Fellowship, UCLI aims to support two law students (one from the S. J. Quinney College of Law and one from J. Reuben Clark Law School) with an annual stipend that can be put towards tuition, housing, food, or any other living expenses while they pursue their legal degree. Funding of up to $1,500 will be awarded to support each law student fellow, who will partner with UCLI Leadership Council and staff on law student programming.
This fall, after a competitive application process, two Durham Fellows were selected. We are pleased to announce the Durham Fellows for the 2022-2023 academic year:
Amy Nichole Briceno, a 2L at the University of Utah’s S. J. Quinney College of Law
Breeze Kauakokoipohaiapuninamoku Waipa Parker, a 2L at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School
Please read more about Nichole and Breeze in these news articles.
We would like to offer a special thank you to our 2022-2023 Durham Fellowship Sponsors:
Amy Nichole Briceno is a 2L at S. J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah, and the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Nichole’s life reality as an immigrant, though challenging, has instilled in her a desire to lead, serve, and work in tandem with her colleagues to improve the unstable environment for minorities in Utah.
Nichole’s personal and professional experiences have given her first-hand knowledge about the challenges racial and ethnic communities face when searching for legal representation. She has interned with the District Attorney’s Office, where she associated with Spanish-speaking families who were experiencing abuse. Throughout this internship, she saw the need for more Spanish-speaking prosecutors as she translated for attorneys. She worked with undocumented families who feared deportation because they could not afford legal representation. At Utah Homicide Survivors, she worked with Hispanic families of homicide victims. She saw how difficult it was for Hispanic individuals to find affordable and quality legal advice in this state. She translated legal documents to ensure Spanish-speaking families understood the legal procedures of their case.
During her undergraduate experience, Nichole was the first Latinx President of the Student Alumni Board of the University of Utah. As President, she made it a priority to diversify a board that historically only consisted of white students. Under her leadership, they diversified their alumni engagement and expanded student outreach. After graduating, she spent the year mentoring first-generation college students from immigrant backgrounds. Feeling passionate about giving back to the school that gave her so much, Nichole founded the Briceno Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded yearly to an undocumented/DACA-recipient student who epitomizes leadership and service.
Earlier in 2022, Nichole was elected Treasurer of the Minority Law Caucus (MLC) at the S.J. Quinney College of Law. As Treasurer, one of her goals for this year has been to establish an MLC Scholarship specifically for members that have devoted their time to MLC and show commitment to helping minority communities in their law career. Additionally, she has undergone the Pro Bono Initiative training to assist in Immigration Clinics.
In the future, Nichole intends to support marginalized communities throughout her career as an attorney. As she says, “quality representation begins with a diversified legal community. To diversify our attorneys, we must first diversify law schools in Utah.” Nichole is focused on providing mentorship to increase minority student applications and retention in schools. She will continue to be devoted to supporting marginalized communities after graduation.
UCLI looks forward to working with Nichole this academic year as the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow and thanks the many donors who made this opportunity possible.
Breeze Kauakokoipohaiapuninamoku Waipa Parker is a 2L at J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University, and the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow for the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion. Breeze is a Native Hawaiian woman whose life experiences have been a beacon to her ‘lāhui,’ or Hawaiian community, in her legal career.
Breeze was born and raised in Kalihi, Oahu. Although Oahu may sound like a paradisiacal dreamscape, Breeze shares that “money was always scarce, and I remember cleaning houses with my mom after school every day so that I could help them keep up with our family’s bills. As I looked around me growing up, I noticed that it was minorities like me who struggled the most. It was families like mine who had to deal with a combination of poverty, underfunded school systems, and racial bias. I wanted better for myself. I wanted better for my lāhui.” Breeze realized that the way she could make it better was by pursuing higher education.
Breeze graduated from Brigham Young University as a co-valedictorian of the anthropology department in April 2021. During law school, Breeze has been volunteering at the Timpanogos Legal Center on a weekly basis. She has assisted attorneys in immigration, divorce, and custody consultations with members of the Provo community. This past summer she also had the opportunity to serve the Hawaiian community through a six-week in-person legal internship at the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation in Honolulu, Hawaii. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation deals exclusively with Native land disputes, ancestral trusts, and water rights. During the internship, Breeze worked closely with attorneys who specialized in each of these areas to meet with clients, do legal research, and prepare cases for trial. After this internship, Breeze returned to Utah to serve as a judicial intern for Justice Diana Hagen in the Utah Supreme Court – learning more about how the judicial system works in Utah.
This past fall semester, Breeze has continued to serve Utah’s community this semester by working with Dean Michalyn Steele as one of her research assistants in her Federal Indian Law casework. Breeze shares that “working on indigent research for indigenous communities has been rewarding because it has deepened my purpose to support other minority communities. I look at my law degree as not something for myself but as a tool for the betterment of every community around me. I carry my lāhui and ancestors with me, and with each boundary I trespass, each stereotype I break, and each limit I exceed, I make a statement to the world. I show them that we young Polynesians are capable; we are more than our demographic and socio-economic status; we are more than our gender and the color of our skin; we matter and like those who feel our pain, our voices matter.” As a lawyer, Breeze hopes to close racial gaps in each community she serves in, and to promote fairness and a just system for all.
UCLI looks forward to working with Breeze this academic year as the 2022-2023 Durham Fellow and thanks the many donors who made this opportunity possible.
The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion and Women Lawyers of Utah co-hosted a CLE screening event of the documentary ‘Balancing the Scales’ at the Megaplex Theatre at the Gateway on November 17, 2022. The evening included a catered dining experience by Zao’s Asian Cafe, movie snacks, the film screening, and a presentation by attorney filmmaker Sharon Rowen, moderated by former Supreme Court Justice Christine Durham. See a quick social media recap here.
The evening started off with a warm welcome to Sharon Rowen, a trial lawyer and filmmaker based in Atlanta who founded both the law firm Rowen & Klonoski and the film production company R&K Productions. Her documentary, Balancing the Scales, tells the story of women lawyers in America, and has been broadcast nationwide on public television as well as presented to audiences across the globe on both gender equality and filmmaking for organizations including the US State Department, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Verizon and Prudential, and hundreds of law firms, bar associations and universities. We are grateful to her willingness to join us in Salt Lake City for this film screening and discussion.
We then heard from two of the event’s Gold Sponsors: Art Berger, the Managing Director of Ray Quinney & Nebekker, and Greg Matis, the Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at Intermountain Healthcare’s legal office. Each of them underscored the importance of discussing these crucial topics and their own organizations’ commitments to gender equity.
Then the documentary film ‘Balancing the Scales’ was shown. It depicted interviews of female legal professionals conducted over two decades – including interviewees like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred, and Roe v. Wade attorney Margie Pitts Hames – and provided an insightful look at the story of women lawyers in America. Interviews also included state Supreme Court and Appellate Court justices, women equity partners, minority women, associates, and students. They tell their own remarkable and often hilarious stories that felt relatable to the audience. The film also explored how discrimination has shifted from overt to subtle, and why women are leaving the profession. Finally, the film explained why women being promoted to top positions is good for both society; and for firms’ bottom lines – ending on a hopeful and encouraging note.
Following the film, participants had a chance to dive deeper into the topics of women in the legal profession through a moderated discussion with Sharon Rowen and former Justice Christine M. Durham. They discussed questions such as how women in the legal profession manage their work life and their home life; how women can engage men to partner as allies; and what firms can do to be more equitable.
We are incredibly grateful to our sponsors. Without them, this event would not have happened and we would like to thank them for their support of this film, the cause, and women in the legal profession in Utah. The firms and companies who sponsored the screening event are:
Ray Quinney & Nebeker
Women Lawyers of Utah
Rocky Mountain Advisory
Lone Peak Valuation Group
If your firm or organization had an idea for an event that you would like to sponsor or partner with UCLI on, please contact us at .