The Dr. J. Clay Smith Jr. Scholarship aims to promote diversity in the legal profession and to encourage racial and ethnic minority students to pursue a legal education and complete law school. The Foundation of the FBA awards a $15,000 scholarship to a first-year law student, disbursed over three years of the student’s enrollment at an ABA-accredited law school. The recipient will also receive a complimentary FBA student associate membership.
The Diversity in the Legal Profession Scholarship is named in memory of Dr. J. Clay Smith Jr., the Federal Bar Association’s first African American president. Dr. Smith’s long career in public service included serving as associate general counsel for the Federal Communications Commission, commissioner and then interim chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and dean of Howard University School of Law. He is the author of Emancipation: The Making of the Black Lawyer, 1844–1944, published in 1993 with a foreword by Thurgood Marshall, the Supreme Court’s first African American justice. In September 1981, Dr. Smith presented to the Washington Bar Association a paper he wrote about Louis Mehlinger, a senior attorney with the Department of Justice and the first black member of the FBA (1944). “As the twentieth century closes and as the twenty-first century is born, the Federal Bar Association must continue to be faithful to the principle of race and sex diversity in its leadership ranks at the local and national levels.”
The Foundation wishes to continue Dr. J. Clay Smith Jr.’s legacy by encouraging racial and ethnic minority students to apply for this scholarship. Applicants must exhibit high character and professionalism in their personal, professional, and academic lives as demonstrated in application materials. Applicants must submit this application, a personal essay, college transcript, law school enrollment verification, and two letters of recommendation (these may include a letter from a professor).
The deadline to submit this scholarship application and the required documentation to the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association is November 30. You may submit the application via e-mail to foundation@fedbar.org. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Click Diversity in the Legal Profession Scholarship for more information.