Tiffany Onyemaobi, one of the 2010 recipients of the inaugural Donald Hubert Endowed Memorial Scholarships for Legal Diversity at The John Marshall Law School, shares some of her thoughts on what it means to win the scholarship. Established to honor the late Donald Hubert – an esteemed Chicago trial lawyer and civic leader – the scholarships are intended to attract applicants to the law school from diverse backgrounds and experiences who show promise of best embodying Hubert’s dedication to service to the community and the profession.
I began my college career with the intent to attend graduate school for chemistry and psychology. I had tailored my interests around helping people, and at that time, the study of the chemical and mental composition of individuals seemed most conducive to both understand and solve human problems.
In my junior year of college, however, I realized that it wasn’t enough. I did not only want to do research, I wanted to become a catalyst for change. I wished to solve disputes and become an advocate for people who did not have a voice. As I looked back on my childhood experiences in the Englewood area witnessing poverty and oppression, I realized that all of my desires led me to the legal profession. My subsequent research into the field made me solidify my career choice. I took a year off from school after my May 2009 graduation and began to prepare for this experience by preparing for the LSAT and researching schools to which I would apply.
I was initially attracted to The John Marshall Law School because of its large alumni network and its reputation for hard-working, dedicated attorneys. After college, I wished to return to Chicago because of the vibrant nature of the large, exciting city, my familiarity with the area, and the large legal community. I worked as an Americorps VISTA in Chicago for a year prior to my first year of law school and I wished to stay in the area.
John Marshall seemed like a perfect fit for me, and I talked to admissions officers to find out more about the school. I had already accepted the offer of admission to The John Marshall Law School before I had received the offer to accept the Donald Hubert Memorial Scholarship. Being a Hubert Scholar is an extraordinary opportunity that brings me unimaginable joy. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to study the law without the financial constraints that many people have upon attending law school. This gives me the time that I need to focus in on my studies, and make the grades that I need to succeed in this program.
Most importantly, I have the opportunity to carry on the legacy of a great, hard-working, dedicated legal professional. Donald Hubert’s legacy has made it possible for me to write this letter today, and I will be forever grateful for that. It is my wish that I live up to being the scholar that Donald Hubert would want me to be. Donald Hubert dedicated his life to giving a voice to the voiceless, and I am determined to carry on his legacy by doing the same.