Second-year evening students Jasmine Greene and Maya Brown have been honored by the National Bar Association Women Lawyers Division (Philadelphia Chapter) with scholarships named in honor of Justice Juanita Kidd Stout and Sadie T.M. Alexander. Justice Stout was the first African American woman in the United States to serve on a state Supreme Court. Dr. Alexander was the first African American woman to graduate from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law and the first to be admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar.
The Women Lawyers Division Foundation, which awards the scholarships each year, noted that both recipients have not just demonstrated academic excellence but that they are also, “well-equipped to make significant contributions to the community and profession.”
Greene, who works full-time as a high school English teacher in Camden, noted that Justice Stout also worked as a teacher before joining the legal profession. “Justice Stout, a previous teacher … is a representation of the potential of African American women, and for all my goals, I dedicate myself to representing that same potential,” she remarked to the WLD Foundation. “As a minority woman, I am even more inspired to be an example of success to my students, who are children of color.”
Brown, who works full-time at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, also cited the need for representation as one reason for coming to law school. “Prior to starting law school, I worked for the Philadelphia Bar Foundation in marketing and development,” she said. “This was my first real exposure to the Philadelphia legal community and the moment the statistics about gender and racial disparities in this profession became my reality. While attending meetings at BigLaw firms on behalf of the Foundation, I often found I was almost always the only woman of color in the room. I’ve always had an interest in the law, but it was the need for more people who look like me in the spaces where laws are created and upheld that brought me to law school.”
Looking ahead, both women are eager to pursue careers in litigation, and are open to the possibility of an eventual return to the classroom as law professors. “I strongly believe education, mentorship, and a strong network are the keys to success in any career,” said Brown. “If I am able to use what I have learned and achieved in my own career to help those who are, ‘next up,’ succeed, I will feel like I have not only achieved my goal, but also embodied all that Dr. Alexander stood for when she paved the way for those who followed after her.”
Pictured above, top to bottom: Jasmine Greene, Maya Brown.