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March 31, 2006

Press Contact:
Jodi Bart, UT Law, (512) 232-1408 or jbart@law.utexas.edu.
Event Contact: Eden Harrington, Director, William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law at UT Law, (512) 232-7068 or eharrington@law.utexas.edu.

Scholarship Awarded to Ciara Williams, ’07, During “Color of Justice” Program, April 10

AUSTIN, Texas — Ciara Williams, a second year student at The University of Texas School of Law, is the recipient of the Access to Justice Scholarship for spring 2006. This $1,000 scholarship is presented to a woman student at the Law School who has demonstrated a sustained and passionate commitment to promote access in the justice system, and who has overcome significant obstacles.

The scholarship is given by the National Association of Women Judges (NAWJ) and will be presented on April 10 at UT Law's Eidman Courtroom during the "Color of Justice" program jointly sponsored by the National Association of Women Judges, the Travis County Women Lawyers Association and the Women's Law Caucus.

The scholarship will be formally presented by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, ’88, and Judge Susan Criss, District Director of NAWJ in Texas. The program begins at 9:30 a.m. and the scholarship will be awarded at approximately 10:45 a.m. Judge Criss is responsible for producing the video “Color of Justice” that will be shown that day.

Justice Bea Ann Smith, ’75, of the Third Court of Appeals in Austin is a former president of the National Association of Women Judges and will introduce the opening panel of judges. The judges will share their experiences and the reasons why they chose careers in the law; another panel of prominent local attorneys, chaired by Judge Orlinda Naranjo, will discuss how law school prepares you for many different careers, and how to prepare yourself to attend law school.

Following the program, the panelists will join the students for lunch in small group settings to answer questions. The students attending are from Austin's Akins High School. This is the second “Color of Justice” program presented in Austin with the collaboration of the Travis County Women Lawyers Association, represented by local attorney Elizabeth Branch.

Ciara M. Williams earned her B.A. in political science from Texas A&M; before that she lived in Germany several years and attended fourteen different schools as a member of an Army family. At the Law School, she is a member of Board of Advocates and has participated in numerous mock trial competitions. She is also involved with the American Journal of Criminal Law, Street Law, and the Thurgood Marshall Legal Society. Coincidently, when she was an undergraduate, Williams worked as a summer intern for the National Association of Women Judges in Washington, D.C., an experience she credits with strengthening her resolve to become a lawyer. In 2005 Williams worked as a summer associate with the Houston firm of Beirne, Maynard & Parsons. This coming summer she will clerk for Scott, Hulse, Marshall, Feuille, Finger and Thurmond in El Paso, and Clark, Thomas and Winters in Austin.

Related Link:
National Association of Women Judges: http://www.nawj.org/