ABAW Student Scholarship Foundation

The Asian Bar Association of Washington Student Scholarship Foundation (“ABAWSSF”) provides financial assistance in the form of scholarships to students of Asian heritage currently attending law schools in the state of Washington.  For 2019, ABAWSSF will award four (4) scholarships and a fifth scholarship on behalf of the Northwest Minority Job Fair to selected law students, in the following amounts:

  • Yamashita Scholarship - $10,000
  • Sharon A. Sakamoto President’s Scholarship - $7,000
  • General Scholarship - $3,500
  • General Scholarship - $3,500
  • Minority Job Fair Scholarship - $500

The Yamashita Scholarship is named after Takuji Yamashita (1874–1959).  Mr. Yamashita was born in Japan and emigrated to the United States in the 1890s.  He graduated from Tacoma High School in two years, graduated with a law degree from the University of Washington in 1902, and passed the state bar exam.  In processing his bar application, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a decision that Mr. Yamashita was not eligible to be an American and, therefore, could not practice law.  This decision was overturned, posthumously, nearly 100 years later on March 1, 2001.

The Sharon A. Sakamoto President's Scholarship is named after Sharon Sakamoto, who served as ABAW’s first President (and one of its founders) in 1988.  Ms. Sakamoto is now retired, but her prior law practice at Aoki Sakamoto Grant emphasized meeting clients’ business, estate planning, immigration, and criminal defense needs.  In addition to being active in the local and minority bar associations, she has also served on the boards of the Public Defender and Kawabe Memorial House.

The Northwest Minority Job Fair is sponsored and funded by a consortium of private and public sector employers.  The Northwest Minority Job Fair was created in 1987. Its mission is to foster access to employment opportunities for historically underrepresented persons in the practice of law and to provide a networking forum for legal employers and minority law students.

Application Process and Requirements

To be eligible for a scholarship, you must be a law student of Asian heritage currently enrolled in a Washington State law school.  The following materials are required to apply for the scholarships:

  • 1)     A copy of your résumé;
  • 2)     Evidence of your current enrollment at an American Bar Association accredited law school in Washington State (acceptable evidence includes a copy of an unofficial law school transcript or a copy of your class schedule provided by the law school for first year law students);
  • 3)     A personal statement, no longer than one thousand (1,000) words, describing your contributions to the Asian Pacific Islander (“API”) community and your plans to contribute to the API community following graduation from law school; and
  • 4)     Two (2) references (their name, relationship to you, email, and phone number).

All application materials must be e-mailed to scholarship@abaw.org no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, October 4, 2019. Applications must be in either .PDF or Microsoft Word format.

Candidates in consideration for a scholarship will be notified on Monday, October 7, 2019 for the interview phase of the application process.  Interviews will be held on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Candidates are encouraged to attend this interview in person but a phone interview may be arranged.  Interviews will last no more than 20 minutes. 

The 2019 ABAWSSF Scholarships will be presented to selected recipients on Friday, October 25, 2019, at the ABAW/ABAWSSF Annual Gala.  Attendance by scholarship recipients is highly encouraged but not mandatory. The act of applying for a scholarship constitutes a release by the applicant of your application materials and your consent to ABAWSSF and ABAW for any reasonable publication of information contained in such materials.

Please direct any questions to scholarship@abaw.org. 

*ABAWSSF reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to change the number of scholarships awarded, the dollar amount of each scholarship, and/or to not award any scholarships in 2019.

*Please note that past scholarship recipients and immediate family members of current ABAWSSF and ABAW voting board members are ineligible for a 2019 ABAWSSF Scholarship.

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