CLEAR Announces Two Northeastern Law Students Awarded Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Judicial Scholarships

CLEAR Announces Two Northeastern Law Students Awarded Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Judicial Scholarships

06.26.24 – The Center for Law, Equity and Race (CLEAR) is pleased to announce that Northeastern Law students Owen Engler ’26 and Meghan Leong ’25 have been awarded fellowships through a program celebrating the legacy of the late Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants, who was a champion of access to justice and equity in the Massachusetts legal system.

Created as a collaboration among CLEAR, the Gants Fund for Racial Equity and Access to Justice and the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, with $150,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, the program provides opportunities for law students from diverse backgrounds and with limited financial means to secure judicial internships in Massachusetts courts. All judicial internships in Massachusetts are currently unpaid, which presents a significant barrier for students without the financial means to support themselves during placement.

“The program was created to give law students who could not afford to take unpaid internships the funding to enable them to do so,” said Professor Deborah Ramirez, faculty co-director of CLEAR and chair of the Gants Fund. “The hope is that the program will widen and diversify the pipeline of applications for post-graduate paid clerkships and for judicial positions, ultimately creating a judicial system that better reflects the entire Massachusetts citizenry.”

“As a future youth-centered juvenile public defender, I am beyond grateful to have the unique opportunity to work with the judges at both Suffolk County and Middlesex County Juvenile Courts to learn how to best advocate for and empower all students to have equitable access to education and justice amidst the systemic inequities that continue to exclude marginalized communities. I am especially honored to learn from First Justice Gloria Tan, the first Asian American juvenile court judge appointed in Massachusetts,” said Leong, who earlier this year was also selected for Northeastern Law’s Tyler Lawrence Peacemaker Award.

“Working with Chief Justice John D. Casey of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, I am discovering more than just legal intricacies; I am witnessing the profound impact of empathy intertwined with justice. Each case, a testament to resilience and humanity, teaches me that the law isn't merely about statutes, but about serving people in their most vulnerable moments,” said Engler.

Recipients are selected based on undergraduate and law school academic performance, personal achievement, a personal statement, demonstrated leadership ability and public service experience.

For more information about the Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants Judicial Scholarship, please visit the program website.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country. Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences through its signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. More than 1,000 employers worldwide in a wide range of legal, government, nonprofit and business organizations participate in the program. With a focus on social justice and innovation, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experiences to successfully practice law.

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