The Columbus Bar Foundation has issued a challenge to Columbus lawyers: The Foundation will match each Columbus lawyer’s donation to the Law and Leadership Institute made before February 15, 2017, up to a total of $20,000. Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur has already pledged $7,500 to the 2016-17 challenge, and other law offices are conducting their own LLI fund drives.
This is the third year in which the Columbus Bar Foundation has made a challenge grant. Last year, lawyers responded with over $50,000 in donations to LLI. Together these gifts plus the Foundation’s $20,000 matching grant funded 35 students from underserved neighborhoods to participate for the year in LLI’s enrichment programs.
The generosity of the Columbus legal community is changing lives. Columbus LLI graduates are on their way to become lawyers and leaders. Out of the 57 Columbus LLI graduates from 2012-2016, all but one went to college. 96% of the Columbus LLI graduates who have stayed in touch with LLI remain in college, and LLI is in touch with 87.5% of these graduates, according to LLI President Steve Jemison, former vice president/general counsel of Procter and Gamble.
Alexis Apparicio is one of these LLI graduates. Now in her senior year at Ohio University, Ms. Apparicio has already applied to attend law school next fall. In addition to her strong academic record, she serves as a Senator on the university's Student Senate, president of her sorority, president of the local NAACP chapter, and a mentor to incoming OU students.
Alexis credits LLI on her Facebook page as contributing to her success. “LLI’s preparation in legal writing, public speaking, and acting professionally sets you apart from your peers when you want to secure a job or a research opportunity, “ she notes. She points, as particularly helpful, to LLI’s mock trial program, writing preparation seminars, the senior forum on public policy, and preparation in professional approaches. Her internship at the Benesch law firm provided an opportunity to watch how legal professionals interact.
On LLI, President of the Columbus Bar Foundation, Tom Hill, recently said “Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘If we are to reach real peace in this world . . we shall have to begin with children.’ That’s what the Law and Leadership Institute does – it begins with the children. From the humblest and most challenging of beginnings, children who have the talent, who work hard, and who are shown the way can become our future leaders who will light the way. The Law and Leadership Institute shows young people the way. It gives them the inspiration – “I can do this.” There is no cause more worthy of your support than this.”