Two students of the UC Berkeley School of Law received the Latham & Watkins Diversity Scholarship for their efforts in promoting diversity in the field of law.
Students Criselda Haro and Cristina Sepe were among this year’s six recipients, who include students from USC, Harvard University, Columbia University and Georgetown University. The award, sponsored by international law firm Latham & Watkins LLP, includes a $10,000 grant and aims to increase the number of attorneys from diverse backgrounds working in global law firms.
“No doubt that the other applicants were as deserving as myself, but they can be assured (the scholarship) will be put to good use,” Sepe said.
Sepe completed her undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where she was involved in the Cap and Gown society, which aims to develop the leadership of women in the university. Sepe now serves as the co-chair of the Women of Color Collective, a campus group dedicated to promoting issues of color and gender to the public and offering personal and professional advice to women of color.
“I knew that she was committed to diversity and advancing the role of women in law,” said Rebecca Glass, an attorney with U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer who supervised Sepe in an internship. “It’s the reason that I really admired her.”
Haro, who works with Sepe as treasurer of the WOCC, said that her parents’ hard work has been a source of inspiration. Her father worked a string of low-income jobs since immigrating to the United States in the 1970s, including as a factory worker, a gardener and a bus boy. Haro’s mother sold chili door-to-door to make ends meet.
“(The award) is something that I can share with my parents, a way of expressing what they have helped me achieve in terms that they can understand,” Haro said.
Sepe said that she will put the scholarship to good use. She will begin working with San Francisco law firm Arnold & Porter this summer and said that she hopes to aid in the recruitment of women of color to the firm.
“We inadvertently carry biases about a woman’s place in the professional world that we have to work against,” Sepe said. “I want to help fight against them.”
Haro, who will spend her summer at Los Angeles law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, said that the award has given her the opportunity to give back to her community.
“Generally, low-income communities I’ve seen show what a lack of access to legal services can do — the profession is often removed from those most in need of it,” Haro said. “Latham & Watkins are helping me bridge the gap.”
Contact Eoghan Hughes at [email protected]