Current Scholarship Winners

The AABA Law Foundation is very proud of the many accomplishments of its past scholarship and fellowship recipients. Our scholars inspire the work of the foundation every day.

 

2016 Perkins Coie Scholarship Winner - Han Cui

As an Asian immigrant, Han is committed to promote opportunities for Asian Pacific Americans within the legal profession, as well as to serve the Asian Pacific American community in the Chicago‑area at large. Han was born and raised in China. When she was 14 years old, she immigrated to the US to start a new life with her Chinese mother and American stepfather. With a lot of hard work, she learned English, adjusted to her new home in Oak Park, Illinois, went to college at Brown University, and eventually went to law school at University of Illinois College of Law. As Han got older, especially after law school, she became increasingly aware of her Asian American identity, and she wanted to give back to the Asian Pacific American community by advocating for diversity and inclusiveness. Han joined the Asian American Law Students Association (“AALSA”) for that reason.

During her time at law school, she served as the 1L Representative, President, and now Advisor and Mentor of AALSA organizing many events aimed at serving Asian Pacific Americans with one goal in mind — to promote diversity and inclusiveness for Asian Pacific Americans both within the legal profession as well as in the community at large.

After she graduates from law school, she plans to continue to serve the needs of the Chicago‑area Asian Pacific American community to better advocate for more opportunities for Asian Pacific Americans in the legal profession, as well as more pro bono legal service for under-represented Asian Pacific American communities in the city.

2016 Justice Laura Liu Memorial Fellowship Winner - Yinglun He

Yinglun remembers first hearing about volunteering at the monthly Legal Clinic session from a friend who volunteered there and she said to myself, “Hey, why not try it?” After volunteering there once, Yinglun had such a good experience that she came back every month. It was a place that she was able to put her language advantage and legal knowledge to work.

What also made the summer internship opportunity unique and attractive to Yinglun was the fact that she would be able to engage in court proceedings, which she has always had the passion for. She recalls on June 10th, 2016, she and her supervisor went to criminal court in the morning to get an order to temporarily unseal an expunged record for a client having first filed a motion. They sat there and waited for their client’s name to be called. She was a little nervous and excited at first and was relieved when she heard the motion was granted. Even though it was a simple court order, the feeling that they had helped another person in need was so fulfilling.

Interning at the Chinatown Legal Clinic was more than what she expected and it was an extremely rewarding experience!

2016 McAndrews, Held & Malloy Fellowship Winner - Katherine Rivera

In the summer of 2016, Katherine helped Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Chicago expand and deepen its work of improving access to legal services for limited English proficient and low-income Asian Americans in Chicago. She conducted outreach to legal aid organizations, community-based legal clinics, and Asian-affinity bar associations to understand the legal needs of Asian immigrants in Chicago, assess the effectiveness of existing legal clinics in serving the Asian-immigrant community, and consider the best way for Advancing Justice-Chicago to address legal needs. As part of her research, she volunteered at a community-based legal clinic in Des Plaines assisting low-income individuals file affirmative applications for residency, citizenship, and other immigration benefits. She contributed her research to a report laying out possible models for affordable legal services fit for the organization’s capacity and the needs of the community.

Katherine also assisted the legal team in exploring impact litigation as a form of advocacy to restore funding for immigrant services that were eliminated due to state budget cuts. In addition to improving her legal research and writing skills, she gained a better understanding of language access laws and how Title VI of the Civil Rights Act applies. Under the guidance of the legal team, Katherine learned about the different skills required to be a successful attorney in a nonprofit organization, from being a legal advocate to doing community engagement and education.