Rising 3L Kimberly Cross Wins Top Prize in BWLA’s Spring Essay Scholarship Contest

Kimberly Cross, a rising third-year student at UIC John Marshall, won first place in the Black Women Lawyers’ Association Spring Essay Scholarship competition. Cross won the grand prize of a $5,000 scholarship. Her essay focused on racial disparity in the prosecution of cannabis use.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the Black Women Lawyers’ Association as a recipient of this scholarship,” Cross said. This will enhance my goal towards a successful legal career to transform lives, effectuate real change and be a vehicle of growth and support for at-risk youth.

Cross is the current president of the Law School’s Black Law Students Association; a graduate assistant for the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion; as well as an ambassador for the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education. She was also a competitor in the Thurgood Marshall Moot Court competition and won Best Respondent Brief.

This scholarship was sponsored by the Black Women Lawyers’ Association Scholarship Fund, which endeavors to encourage African-American women in the law through support in their legal education and to promote diversity in the legal profession. In order to be eligible for the contest, students were required to complete an essay; attend an ABA-accredited law school as a 1L, 2L or 3L evidenced by a letter of good standing from the school’s registrar; and complete an interview with the BWLA Scholarship Fund Board of Directors if selected as a finalist.

Since its inception in 1987, BWLA’s mission has been to identify and address issues unique to African-American women lawyers, judges and those in academia. They also aim to improve the administration of justice by increasing the participation of African-American women and other minorities throughout the legal system and advancing civil and human rights.


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