Osgoode Hall Law School recently announced a new bursary organized by alumni working at the law firm, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP. The bursary, eponymously named the Davies Fellows Award, “aims to break down barriers to legal education” and is a $1.2 million bursary established for a first year low-income, high-potential student enrolled in the school’s juris doctor (JD) program.
Osgoode’s Student Financial Services Coordinator, Nadia M. Narcisi, explains eligibility and the means to apply to the bursary, “In order to be eligible for any financial need-based entrance scholarships, prospective applicants to Osgoode need to complete an Osgoode Financial Statement at the time of their admissions application.”
Additionally, given that the Davies Fellows Award aims at creating equitable access, Narcisi also highlights that, “When assessing and deciding on financial need based entrance scholarship recipients, the Financial Statement is taken into account, as well as the full admissions file. The admissions file is where one’s identity would be disclosed and taken into consideration.”
As the person that selects the recipients, Narcisi is happy to add another scholarship to the roster, stating, “I know it will make a huge impact on the lives of the lucky students who receive it from year to year.”
The purpose of the award is to create better access to legal education by overcoming financial obstacles often related to means, gender, race and cultural inequalities, and other physical, mental and/ or learning challenges.
In a news release, Patricia Olasker, the President of the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Board of Directors stated, “the initiative by Osgoode alumni at Davies reflects the law firm’s commitment to creating a more inclusive legal profession by removing barriers that stand in the way of students of exceptional promise. Our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion is a core value of our firm, and the creation of the Davies Fellows Award is an impactful way for us to turn our values into action.”
While the Davies Fellows Award is an entrance scholarship, it may be carried into the student’s second and third year if they continue to demonstrate high academic standing, promise and financial need.
This is not the first time that Osgoode has taken efforts to create equitable access to education. For example, Raise the Black Bar aims to help Black students achieve higher education in legal studies. Osgoode Hall also provides a free LSAT prep course for low-income students who demonstrate high potential. Osgoode was also the first Canadian law school to adopt holistic admissions policies.
To quote Osgoode Hall’s Dean, Mary Condon, “Osgoode has been a leader in making legal education more open, inclusive and diverse.”