MBA to present Boston College Law student $10,000 scholarship

Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016
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Lauren N. Schaal

The Massachusetts Bar Association is pleased to announce that Lauren N. Schaal, a third-year law student at Boston College Law School is the recipient of the MBA's 2016 Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship. The $10,000 scholarship will be awarded at the MBA's sold out Annual Dinner on April 28, at the Westin Boston Waterfront.

This coming fall, Schaal will work as a staff attorney at Community Legal Aid (CLA) in the Family Law Unit. CLA is a nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to low-income and elderly clients in central and western Massachusetts. Based at CLA's Worcester office, Schaal will continue working with low-income survivors of domestic violence, handling family law matters, such as divorce, child custody, child support and visitation. In addition, she will be actively involved in community outreach and education initiatives centered on the issue of domestic violence.

"I think it's really exciting that the state bar association will recognize public-interest oriented students," said Schaal. "It makes me feel that the bar association and the Massachusetts legal community, in general, really values work with indigent clients."

In 2015, Schaal served as a legal intern at Casa Myrna Vazquez Inc., Boston's largest provider of shelter and supportive services to survivors of domestic violence. She provided legal advocacy and Rule 3:03 representation at Probate & Family Court hearings, assisted staff attorneys with research, performed intake for new clients, and drafted motions, temporary orders and pre-trial memoranda for divorce and paternity cases.

Throughout the past seven years, Schaal has worked with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in shelters, crisis centers and legal programs. During law school she has also served as a legal advocate at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.

"I work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence and have since college," added Schaal. "I'm honored to be able to be a voice for those clients. Getting recognized with this scholarship will hopefully shed some light on those issues and will allow me to be able to talk more about the needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors."

At Boston College, Schaal served as note editor for the Journal of Law and Social Justice, was named a Legal Public Service Fellow by the Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy and was named a Legal Fellow by the Massachusetts Bar Foundation. She was also a member of the Supreme Judicial Court Pro Bono Honor Roll.

"I am recommending Lauren with much enthusiasm and without any reservation," wrote Kari E. Hong, assistant professor of law, in her letter of recommendation. "Indeed, it is difficult for me to think of any prior student who would be a better fit for this fellowship. Lauren is a brilliant student who will go on to be an outstanding attorney."  

Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Schaal is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she received a degree in political science and communication studies in 2013.

About the MBA's Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship

The MBA's Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. Scholarship awards a $10,000 scholarship to a third-year law student currently attending a Massachusetts law school who is committed to providing legal assistance to underrepresented individuals and communities in Massachusetts upon graduating. Candidates applying for this scholarship must meet the qualities that the MBA values and finds essential in those who will become practicing attorneys. In particular, applicants must (1) demonstrate a strong and specific commitment to serve the public interest, (2) have a proven record of hard work and academic accomplishment, and (3) have demonstrated integrity and honesty.