Erica Fatima, a third-year student at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law (UIC Law), has been awarded the Women’s Bar Foundation of Illinois’s 2021 Scholarship. The $10K annual scholarship recognizes women law students who show leadership and a strong commitment to public service and the advancement of women in the legal profession.
“Erica is one of the most gifted law students I have encountered in many years,” says Professor Samuel Jones, Associate Dean for SCALES & Inclusive Excellence, one of two faculty members who recommended Ms. Fatima for the scholarship. “She exhibits a capacity for original thought and elevated advocacy skills typically observed only in seasoned attorneys. Her seemingly unparalleled work ethic, leadership qualities, and service to our campus community serve as a model of success for all law students. I salute the Women’s Bar Foundation for recognizing Erica for this very prestigious and well-deserved scholarship.”
A Student Senator to the UIC Senate and a member of the Student Bar Association’s Executive Board, Ms. Fatima has been a vocal and visible advocate throughout her career. Before attending law school, Fatima was the Deputy Press Secretary for the Georgia Department of Transportation and the first Black woman to serve as Director of Public Affairs in Georgia’s Rockdale County. During her time at UIC Law, she has worked with the City of Chicago’s Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division and clerked in the Office of the Chief Judge for the Circuit Court of Cook County Chancery Division. She is currently a law clerk in the Civil Appeals Division of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
The Women’s Bar Foundation Scholarship is only the latest recognition of Ms. Fatima’s impact as a student leader. In Fall 2020, she was among the first students selected for the Law School’s Antiracism and Social Justice Fund. Her related research and scholarship exposed and challenged systemic racism in the Federal Rules of Evidence. In Spring 2021, she was awarded the Midway Moving & Storage Scholarship in part due to her work in UIC Law’s Fair Housing Legal Clinic.
Established in 1914, the Women’s Bar Association, one of the oldest and largest bar associations in the state of Illinois, was founded to promote the interests and welfare of women lawyers and to aid in the enactment of legislation for the common good. The WBA of Illinois awarded its first scholarship in 1966 before the Women’s Bar Foundation of Illinois was incorporated as a separate not-for-profit organization in 1968.
Women law students interested in being considered for the WBF Scholarship must submit an application consisting of a background form, including a personal statement of qualification; a current resume; law school transcripts; and a letter of recommendation from a law school professor or administrator. Applications are typically due in the fall.
Learn more about the Women’s Bar Foundation on the Women’s Bar Association of Illinois website at www.wbaillinois.org.