Skip to main content
Category

News

Congratulations to the 2024 Legal Inclusion Fellows

By News

We are pleased to announce the 2024 Legal Inclusion Fellows, Gloria Aquino, a first-year law student from the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, and Naomi Botchway, a first-year law student at Brigham Young University’s J. Reuben Clark Law School. This year marks the third year of this wonderful collaboration between Intermountain Health, Kirton McConkie and the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion (UCLI).

The Fellowship provides a place in Kirton McConkie’s summer associate program for two law students, one for each Utah law school. Fellows receive a tuition award furnished by Intermountain Health. They have the opportunity throughout the summer to observe and learn from Intermountain’s legal department. The Fellowship plays a significant role in UCLI’s efforts to increase opportunities for law students in Utah to thrive and find meaningful connections within the legal community.

This year we saw a large and impressive field of applicants. After careful consideration, Gloria and Naomi were selected as Fellows. Learn more about these two incredible students here:

Gloria Aquino

Gloria is a native Utahn from Salt Lake County and the proud daughter of two Mexican immigrants. She is a first-generation college student and earned her degree in Health, Society, and Policy from the University of Utah in 2022. During her undergraduate years she developed a love for public service and completed an internship with the Hinckley Institute at the Utah Legislature. As a 1L at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, she has continued to be involved in her community. She is serving as a 1L representative for the Minority Law Caucus and has been selected to serve on the S.J. Quinney inaugural Student Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Advisory Board. Gloria hopes to use her law degree to serve as an advocate for underrepresented communities and aspires to one day sit on the bench.

Gloria Aquino

 

Naomi Botchway

Naomi Botchway is currently a first-year student at BYU Law School. Originally born in Salt Lake City and raised in Rose Park, she has deep connections to other parts of the world. Her father is from Ghana and her mother is from Tonga. Growing up as the child of immigrants, Naomi was inspired by her family’s remarkable journey to the United States and the sacrifices they made for her to be in the position she is in today. Naomi has chosen the path of law to be a voice and advocate for her community in the legal field. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from BYU in August 2022. During her undergraduate years, she actively contributed as a member of the presidency for the Women of Color Club and served as a Research Assistant, researching gender gaps in different political systems. Post-graduation, Naomi was a compliance analyst for Goldman Sachs. In this role, she not only honed her skills as a professional but also developed a passion for comprehending the intricate intersection between corporations and the legal landscape.

Naomi Botchway

Holland & Hart Hosts the Opening Social for the 2023-24 cohort of the Utah Law Student Mentoring Program

By News

The opening social of the 2023-2024 Utah Law Student Mentoring program was hosted by Holland & Hart in their downtown Salt Lake City offices on January 25, 2024. The event provided a chance for mentors and mentees to meet as well as to mingle and meet other program participants. We would like to thank everyone who came from near and far to be at the event. We would also like to thank Holland & Hart for hosting the event, and for their continued support of the ULSM program.

The ULSM program is an expansion of the mentoring program originally started as a collaboration between the Utah Minority Bar Association (UMBA) and Holland & Hart. The program would pair each UMBA annual scholarship winner with an attorney mentor from Holland & Hart. In 2020, Holland & Hart allowed UCLI to take over and expand the program. UMBA scholarship winners are still automatically entered into the program. They are joined by any other law students who register to be part of the program. Mentors are recruited from the wider membership of the Utah State Bar. As much as possible, and when requested, mentees are paired with mentors based on several preferences including area of law interests. 

This is the fourth cohort under UCLI’s stewardship. Please contact UCLI Associate Director, Jon Wayas () if you are interested in joining the program for the 2024-2025 school year. 

Donor Spotlight: B.W. Bastian Foundation

By News

The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion (UCLI) is unable to accomplish its aims without the community volunteering their time and expertise and without incredible donors and foundations who support our work financially.

For the second year running, UCLI is privileged to receive a grant award from the B.W. Bastian Foundation. The B.W. Bastian Foundation strives to build community and understanding by supporting local and national institutions, specifically supporting the arts and educational outreach. They place a strong commitment on programs and organizations that benefit, encourage, and preserve the rights of individuals and promote equality for the LGBTQ+ community. The B.W. Bastian Foundation supports organizations who wholeheartedly embrace the principle of equality. UCLI and the B.W. Bastian Foundation share a common vision for a legal profession that is more inclusive of LGBTQ+ individuals, and UCLI is honored to be one of the recipients of their grant awards in 2024.

Like the B. W. Bastian Foundation, UCLI is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the rights, equality, and fair treatment of the members of the LGBTQ+ community. Thanks to this grant, UCLI will be able to continue its LGBTQ+ outreach initiative with the PLEDGE Program (Promoting Legal Education to Diverse Groups Everywhere). In 2024, these funds will allow us to continue to support networking events for LGBTQ+ students at both of Utah’s law schools, provide CLE offerings to attorneys on the topics of inclusion, and create resources that will allow for better community engagement. We are excited to continue this important work and are grateful for the donors who make it possible. Thank you, B.W. Bastian Foundation, for the meaningful contributions you make in the community and for your generous support of UCLI’s mission.

Donor Spotlight: Utah Bar Foundation

By News

The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion (UCLI) cannot work towards its goals without the support of incredible foundations, donors, and partners.

One of UCLI’s very first supporters was the Utah Bar Foundation (UBF). Founded in 1963, UBF was created in order to promote legal education and increase the knowledge and awareness of the law in Utah, assist in providing legal services to lower income Utahns, improve the administration of justice, and serve other worthwhile law-related public purposes. UCLI and UBF share a common vision for the legal profession, and in 2024 UCLI is honored to be a fifth-year recipient of a significant UBF grant award.
Thanks to this generous grant, UCLI will be able to continue its PLEDGE Program (Promoting Legal Education to Diverse Groups Everywhere) and serve a new generation of aspiring attorneys. In 2024, these funds will allow us to continue our mentoring programs, scholarships and fellowships, and outreach, and allow for us to launch new programming: the Pre-Law Fellowship and the Street Law high school outreach program. We are excited to continue this important work and are grateful for the donors who make it possible. Thank you, Utah Bar Foundation, for the great work you do for our organization and so many others in the community!

2023 Community Member of the Year Award

By News

We are delighted to announce that UCLI’s executive director, Kaitlyn Pieper, has been selected by the Utah State Bar Commission to receive the 2023 Community Member of the Year Award! The Community Member of the Year Award is “Awarded to a non-lawyer member of the community who demonstrates outstanding service toward the creation of a better public understanding of the legal profession and the administration of justice, the judiciary or the legislative process.” A distinguished list of community members have received the Award may be viewed here.

Kaitlyn’s nominator, Cliff Parkinson is the UCLI Community Outreach Co-Chair and said in part, “Kaitlyn spends her days introducing underrepresented populations to the Bar and explains how the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion is trying to close the gap between what the Bar looks like and what the population of Utah looks like.” Kaitlyn expresses her gratitude to the UCLI board for the opportunity to work so closely with incredible members of the legal profession, as well as members of the community at large, on matters of importance to all Utahns. Kaitlyn also thanks the Utah State Bar for this honor and for the many ways they support and empower UCLI and its mission. 

The award was presented to Kaitlyn on November 17 at the 2023 Fall Forum at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City. 

Congratulations to our 2023 UCLI LSAT Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship Recipients

By News

UCLI recently awarded the UCLI LSAT Diversity and Inclusion Scholarship to four recipients. 2023 marks the third time the scholarships have been awarded. The scholarship is aimed at expanding opportunities for students pursuing legal education who have a strong record of community service and a commitment to advancing equity and inclusion. College students, recent graduates, and others in the state of Utah anticipating taking the LSAT within the current or following year when the scholarship is granted are invited to apply. We congratulate the winners and wish them luck as they take the next step in their journeys toward becoming legal professionals. Learn more about the four incredible 2023 recipients below:

 

 

Victoria Roberts

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science at Utah Valley University, I have also been trying to gain practical legal experience through working as a paralegal for the past two years. As a first generation college student, I have had to navigate completing my education while balancing real-world work. In addition to my studies and paralegal role, I volunteer time as a translator for immigration attorneys. Through this work, I have been able to support immigrants and develop my language skills. As a political science major, I am deeply interested in policy, law, and social change. I have high hopes to apply my education and experiences to a career in law after graduation. I am proud to be a first generation college student and look forward to all the opportunities ahead as I complete my degree. I’m extremely grateful for this scholarship opportunity as I make my way towards applying to law school.

 

 

Khai Ronquillo

My name is Khai Ronquillo and I am a senior at the University of Utah double-majoring in Political Science and Economics. I am originally from Las Vegas, NV. As a first-generation pre-law student it has been very rewarding to strive towards my career aspirations of being the first lawyer in my family. Funding law school is difficult and scholarships like these mean the world for helping me overcome financial barriers. Receiving this scholarship from the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion is truly an honor and it excites me to think that I will be taking the LSAT soon and working towards achieving a life goal. 

 

 

Gabriela Villalobos

Gabriela Villalobos graduated from the University of Utah as a first-generation student in May 2022, earning her bachelor’s degree in sociology and international studies with a minor in economics. Throughout her university experience, she engaged in multiple organizations dedicated to breaking down barriers that exist for first-generation and Latinx students in the systems of higher education through college + career readiness and community belonging. With a passion for community and economic development, she previously interned at Accion Opportunity Fund, a non-profit supporting small business owners. Gabby also serves as a mentor in the We Rise First-Generation College Program. Currently, she is a financial crime analyst at Goldman Sachs, merging her interest in law and finance.

 

 

Erica Webb

Erica Webb is a senior at Brigham Young University studying economics, math, and environmental science. She is passionate about women’s issues and environmental stewardship. Recently, she has spent much of her free time working with an environmental advocacy group focused on preserving the Great Salt Lake. She plans to attend law school, and eventually hopes to use her JD to work for the government or a nonprofit in order to help marginalized communities and the environment. She is extremely grateful for the financial relief this scholarship will offer as she prepares for law school, since her husband plans to apply to and attend medical school concurrently.

Women Leaders – Promoting Equality in the Justice System

By News

On Friday, November 10 UCLI had the unique opportunity to host a workshop for a group of esteemed visitors. The workshop was titled “Women Leaders – Promoting Equality in the Justice System; A Regional Project for the Near East and North Africa.” The workshop participants were invited to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program. The State Department invited UCLI to host a half-day workshop that focused on leadership development for women in the legal profession. Together with the Utah State Bar, who provided a venue and expertise, we welcomed four women from Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia and had a great day together learning from respected members of Utah’s legal community. 

First, workshop participants heard from Michelle Oldroyd, Director of Professional Education and Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at the Utah State Bar, who provided an introductory overview of the topic. Her remarks were followed by Session 1: Equality in Utah’s Justice System. Jon Wayas, Associate Director of the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, moderated a panel discussion with Melinda Bowen, Attorney at Snow Christensen & Martineau; Jennifer Yim, Administrative Director at the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole; and Martha Knudson, Executive Director of Utah State Bar’s Well-Being Committee for the Legal Profession. They discussed challenges and to equality in Utah and spoke about principles for achieving greater parity for women, no matter where in the world we are. Session 2 was on the topic of Equal Access to Education and we heard from Mr John Arthur, 2021 Utah Teacher of the Year at Meadowlark Elementary; Barbara Melendez, Director of Diversity Equity and Belonging at Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School; and Isabel Moreno, Director Of Admissions And Financial Aid at University of Utah S. J. Quinney College of Law. Each brought a great perspective about the importance of education as an equalizer and shared ideas of how to engage more girls and women at the K-12 and higher education levels. Finally, we were honored to hear from Justice Paige Petersen, Justice of the Utah Supreme Court for Session 3 on the topic of The Changing Face of Leadership. Justice Petersen spoke about changing laws for women throughout the history of the United States and discussed how the landscape in Utah has been changing in recent decades. A robust and interactive discussion and lunch were then enjoyed by all. 

UCLI expresses its gratitude to the Utah State Bar for allowing us to meet in the Law and Justice Center and for its excellent hospitality. We are also grateful to Utah Global Diplomacy for facilitating this exchange. Finally, thank you to the outstanding participants and presenters – we loved getting to know you and were honored to gather to discuss important topics and learn from one another. 

UCLI Associate Director, Jon Wayas Participates in the Utah State Bar Leadership Academy

By News

UCLI Associate Director Jon Wayas was chosen to be a part of the 2023 class of the Utah State Bar Leadership Academy. Each year 12 Utah attorneys are chosen to participate in this program. Generally, participants have been attorneys for 10 years or less. The program is a chance for lawyers to learn leadership skills and build camaraderie with the other members of their cohort.  The program aims to put participants on a path to become leaders in their own firms and organizations, as well as in the wider Utah State Bar and legal community. As part of the program, participants are also required to serve on a bar committee for at least one year. Jon began serving on the Character and Fitness committee in the summer. This committee reviews applications for those seeking to take the Utah State Bar Examination. The program has been a great benefit to Jon in his work with UCLI. 

The Leadership Academy started with a retreat where attorneys participate in workshops and social activities to quickly build trust and a sense of community. The group then met monthly to learn from respected attorneys and experts. These meetings included topics such as bystander training, how to have difficult conversations, and how to better advocate for yourself in your career. The group also had the opportunity to meet with the Utah Supreme Court to gain perspective and advice on career goals and growth. Of the program Jon says, “The program has helped me gain a close group of friends I would not have met otherwise. It has been great to see the reciprocal help we have been able to give each other in our various professional roles. On a personal level, it has been great to have people to turn for support, and to celebrate our personal and professional successes. I am immensely grateful to have been chosen to participate in the program this year. I would encourage everyone to apply in the future.”

Click here to apply for the 2024 year. The application deadline is November 17, 2023.

Donor Spotlight: Law School Admission Council (LSAC)

By News

The Utah Center for Legal Inclusion (UCLI) would not be able to successfully run its programming without the support of incredible donors and partners. One of our recent, first-time donors is the Law School Admission Council (LSAC). LSAC is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance law and justice by encouraging diverse, talented individuals to study law and by supporting their enrollment and learning journeys from pre-law through practice. 

UCLI and LSAC share a common vision for the future of the legal profession, and UCLI is honored to receive the LSAC DEI Pipeline Grant for programming during 2024. 

Thanks to this generous grant, UCLI will be able to launch a new program: the 2024 UCLI and Kirton McConkie Pre-law Fellowship. This Fellowship aims to support up to 10 individuals interested in the study of law. The Fellowship includes an enrichment series of 10 seminars on topics related to law school, the legal field, and law school application; access to a designated attorney mentor and law student mentor; a fully paid LSAT course; and reimbursement of certain related expenses. Additional information about eligibility and programming is available here; interested individuals may apply here. We express deep gratitude to the additional donors who have made this program possible: Kirton McConkie, Utah Bar Foundation, and the University of Utah Office of General Counsel. 

We express our gratitude to LSAC and look forward to a collaborative relationship in the years to come!

*This project received funding from the Law School Admission Council, Inc. (LSAC).  The opinions and conclusions contained in this document are the opinions and conclusions of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of LSAC.

UCLI Fall 2023 Pre-Law Symposium

By News

On Friday, October 20, 2023 the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion held the third UCLI Pre-law Symposium. This was made possible by the University of Utah SJ Quinney College of Law, and their talented and capable event and IT staff. This marks the second Symposium held with the school, and UCLI is grateful for their generosity and expertise. The event was attended by 54 students who ranged from freshman undergraduates to professionals seeking career changes.

The symposium continues to help close the gap between a legal education and the current place a given student finds themselves. This is achieved through support from the admissions offices of SJ Quinney College of Law, represented by Associate Dean Reyes Aguilar, and the BYU J Reuben Clark Law School, represented by Assistant Dean Tony Grover. Students also heard from Justin Zieman, the Regional Director of AccessLex Institute, a non-profit which provides support and resources to pre-law and law students.

The second panel gave attendees perspectives on what to expect during law school. The panel consisted of four current law students, Rachel Passey and Bree Spaulding from SJ Quinney, and Elena Guanuna and Jehicob Torres from J. Reuben Clark. The panel was moderated by attorney Gabriela Mena of the firm Skordas & Caston. The panel provides a great opportunity to understand what to expect in law school, and provides encouragement to attendees that law school is hard but manageable.

For the second year attendees had the privilege to be taught in a mock class given by Associate Dean Louisa Heiny of SJ Quinney. Dean Heiny taught a criminal law case in an approachable and engaging way. The mock class is a great way for students to understand what to expect from a law school class, and to begin to gain confidence that they can see themselves being successful in this type of setting. 

The final panel of the day was delivered in partnership with the Utah Black Lawyers Association. Attorney Samantha Frazier of Coil Law was joined by panelists Zakia Richardson, in-house counsel at Pluralsight, Engels Tejeda, Partner at Holland & Hart, and Beatryx Washington, General Counsel at OC Tanner. The panel highlighted the breadth of opportunities available to attorneys once they enter practice. It was also a chance to highlight how attorneys navigate cultural and life balance challenges to find success in their careers. 

The day ended with a keynote address by US Attorney Trina Higgins. Trina is the first woman in Utah to be presidentially appointed to the US Attorney position. Trina has been an ardent supporter of the UCLI Pre-law Symposium from the first event. Last April she gave of her time to visit with attendees at our first Symposium. It was a pleasure to have her back as the keynote to hear her amazing story, and words of encouragement. Trina has had an amazing career, and has shown through her actions how to build more equitable and inclusive work environments.

UCLI expresses gratitude to all those who participated in creating this educational and inspirational experience for those who attend. We again express our gratitude to the team at SJ Quinney who made this event possible. We also express thanks to our sponsors, Ballard Spahr, Michael Best, Nelson & Naegle, The Lone Peak Valuation Group, and the ADR Section of the Utah State Bar. We are grateful for the participation of these incredible attendees and wish them well on their journeys to law school.

Close Menu