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2015 Broussard Scholarship Recipients Announced

Broussard Scholarship

Nancy Arevalo, Mrs. Broussard, Steven Kazan, Rodney K. Nickens Jr., Mary Griffin

Lake Charles, Louisiana, 1929. Future California Supreme Court Associate Justice Allen E. Broussard is born. The Depression hits and seeking better opportunities, the family moves to the Bay Area. Justice Broussard sells shoes and works in a canning plant to pay his way through San Francisco City College, UC Berkeley and Boalt School of Law. While still a student, he starts his lifelong efforts to promote equal rights for African Americans in the workplace. In 1964 he becomes one of California’s first African American judges. In 1981 Governor Jerry Brown appoints him to the State Supreme Court where he served for 10 years, writing many of the courts majority opinions.

Broussard Scholarship Established in 1996

The Allen E. Broussard Scholarship Fund was established in 1996 after Justice Broussard’s death, and was incorporated as the Allen E. Broussard Scholarship Foundation in 1999. The goal of the foundation is to continue Justice Broussard’s work in the minority community by assisting law students from underrepresented backgrounds in their pursuit of a career in the legal profession.

Justice Broussard strove to expand opportunities within the legal profession. One of his goals was to increase the diversity of the profession; making sure all minorities are given the opportunity to rise and “take a place at the table,” as he was fond of saying.

Kazan Law Foundation Helps Support the Broussard Scholarships

Several of us here at Kazan Law had the privilege of working with Justice Broussard during our legal careers. We are proud that our firm’s foundation annually helps support the Allen E. Broussard Scholarship Foundation scholarship awards.

Having served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Allen E. Broussard Law School Scholarship Foundation for over a decade, I am honored each year to present three or more academically qualified students from economically challenged backgrounds with a $5,000 scholarship. This award is the largest private scholarship award for law students attending California Bay Area law schools. Three students received the award this year.

The 2015 Broussard Scholarship Recipients

Rodney K. Nickens Jr. is about to be a third year law student at UC Hastings College of the Law, studying civil rights to pursue a career as a civil rights attorney. Rodney is the co-editor-in-chief-elect of the Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal. This summer he will intern for the Executive Office of the Attorney General at the California Department of Justice.

A committed advocate for civil and human rights, Rodney promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession at Hastings, where he is a member of the Legal Education Opportunity Program (LEOP), the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), and the Hastings to Haiti Partnership (HHP). Rodney has earned several distinctions while pursuing his legal education, including being awarded the 2015 Moot Court “Best Oral Advocate” Award, being selected for the BLSA Mock Trial Team, and competing at the 2015 Thurgood Marshall Mock Trial Competition, where his team advanced to the final round of regionals.

He was honored to win his first case as a Certified Law Student at the Hastings Civil Justice Clinic in the Individual Representation practice area last year, where he represented a client in an appeal to the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board in Oakland.

A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, he earned an M.A. at UCLA in 2011 and received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Merced, where he was a member of the inaugural Class of 2005.

Nancy Arevalo was born in El Salvador. When she was eleven years old, her family moved to California’s Central Valley where her parents were farm workers. She spent many summers packing apricots and tomatoes beside them. Nancy is the first one in her family to graduate from college. She received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish Literature from UC Berkeley in 2008. She is entering her third year of law school at UC Hastings College of Law.

Before law school, Nancy worked for five years with the National Senior Citizens Law Center advocating on behalf of low-income older adults. At UC Hastings, she is involved with the Refugee & Human Rights Clinic and the Partnership Initiative & Legal Aid to Rural Communities. She also worked with La Raza Centro Legal providing immigration and employment legal services to low-income communities in San Francisco. She is Co-Chair of Hastings’ La Raza Law Students Association. She is committed to public interest law and would like to continue working on issues affecting the Latino community.

Mary Griffin is from South Central Los Angeles. In high school, Mary enrolled in a dual enrollment program at a local community college. She graduated a year early from high school, with her first two years of college completed. She started at UC Berkeley on a merit-based scholarship as a 17 year-old junior.

While at UC Berkeley, Mary was an active member of the Black Retention and Recruitment Center, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and other campus and community organizations. She graduated in 2011 with a BA in Political Science at age of 19. Mary then worked as an afterschool teacher and volunteered for Families of the Incarcerated. Mary currently is a legal secretary at Philip M. Andersen & Associates. She also serves as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate for Contra Costa County, where she works one-on-one with children in the foster care system. Mary will be starting Berkeley Law this fall, where she plans to continue serving those in need


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