Sophia Barclay 1L has won a prestigious scholarship from the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA) and will be honored at the BMMA’s May 19 annual gala.
The Honorable Theodore T. Jones Jr. Scholarship is awarded annually to a law student who demonstrates a commitment to leadership. It is named for the former Court of Appeals judge, who was appointed in 2007 and served until his passing in 2012. Judge Jones had previously served on the New York State Supreme Court, where he oversaw the high-profile 2005 New York City Transit strike case. During the Vietnam War, he was a Captain in the U.S. Army.
When applying for the award, Barclay submitted an essay titled “A Leader Inspires,” chronicling her commitment to community service as an undergraduate at Brooklyn College and during her first year at New York Law School (NYLS).
She wrote about being born 38 years after Thurgood Marshall was the lead attorney in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, 29 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and 23 years after Katherine Johnson conducted technical work at NASA and assisted the Apollo 11 flight to the moon.
“Thurgood Marshall inspired African Americans like myself to learn more, Martin Luther King Jr. inspired us to dream more, and Katherine Johnson inspired us to be more,” she wrote. “A leader inspires.”
Barclay has served as a team leader for the volunteer organization New York Cares and has organized events to fundraise for cancer research and women’s health issues and to add art to Brooklyn public schools. As a member of the New York Public Interest Research Group, she led a committee on hunger and homelessness and registered voters. Barclay has also volunteered with the Housing Court Navigators Program, which assists unrepresented litigants in housing court, and the Center for the Integration and Advancement of New Americans, a non-profit that provides social services to new immigrants.
Barclay is already making her mark on NYLS. During the 2017–18 year, she will serve as Secretary of NYLS’s First Generation Professionals student group. She will also be Co-Fundraising Chair of NYLS’s Black Law Students Association and will serve as the liaison between NYLS and the Courtroom Advocates Project, a program by Sanctuary for Families that allows law students to help victims of domestic violence navigate court proceedings. Barclay hopes to pursue a career in Family Law.
“As a law student, my involvement allows me to inspire others like myself to succeed within law school without limitations or the barriers that they may feel are created as a minority and a first generation professional,” she wrote.