Scholarship



THE BLANCHE E. BRAXTON
BAR SCHOLARSHIP


The Blanche E. Braxton Bar Scholarship is named in honor of Blanche E. Braxton, the first African American woman to be admitted to the Bar in Massachusetts. In 1921, Attorney Braxton graduated from the Portia School of Law (currently New England Law Boston) and in 1923, Attorney Braxton became the first African American woman to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. She was also the first African American woman to practice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

The goal of the scholarship is to promote diversity in the legal profession in Massachusetts by providing financial assistance to a member of the MBWA during studies for the bar exam administered by the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners. This scholarship is made possible through the generous donations and fundraising efforts of MBWA members and friends.

Each year, the scholarship is awarded to female law students of color who have demonstrated outstanding academic excellence, a commitment to public service, and a dedication to the advancement of marginalized people through the legal process.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following criteria:
  • A member of MBWA at the time of application (membership is free for students);
  • A 3L or 4L;
  • Enrolled at a law school for the 2023-2024 academic year; or
  • Law school graduates who graduated on or after May 2021, registered to take the July 2024 Uniform Bar Exam and Massachusetts Law Component, and are not licensed to practice law within any U.S. jurisdiction; and
  • Available to attend the annual Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration (attendance at the ceremony is required)


Award and Selection Process

MBWA will award two (2) bar scholarships in celebration of Blanche E. Braxton, the first Black woman to pass the Massachusetts Bar Exam at its annual Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration. Each scholarship recipient will receive a one-time $2,500.00 scholarship to assist with the costs and related expenses associated with the bar exam.

The scholarship award recipients will be selected by a review committee composed of MBWA members, who will evaluate applicants on the following criteria:
  • Academic Excellence;
  • Community Involvement;
  • Dedication to the Advancement of Minoritized People, especially Women of Color, through the Legal Process;
  • Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion within the Legal Profession;
  • Plans to Practice Law in Massachusetts after Law School.


Application Requirements

Applicants must submit all of the following:
  • Completed a Blanche E. Braxton Scholarship Application, providing complete answers;
  • Resume;
  • Current transcript;
  • Class registration or other proof of enrollment for the 2023-2024 academic year;
  • Essay of 500 words or less discussing applicant’s academic, personal, and professional accomplishments, the importance of having Black women attorneys in the legal profession, and how she intends to contribute to the legal profession in Massachusetts.


Submission Deadline

MBWA will begin accepting applications for the Blanche E. Braxton Bar Scholarship soon. Scholarships recipients will be notified in advance and officially announced at the Annual Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration, to be held in person on June 1, 2024. MBWA will be accepting scholarship applications through Saturday, June 1, 2024. Scholarship recipients will be notified in advance and officially announced at the Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration. Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.


ABOUT BLANCHE E. BRAXTON


The Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys (“MBWA”) is proud to offer the Blanche E. Braxton Bar Scholarship named in honor of the first African American woman to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. In 1921, Attorney Braxton graduated from the Portia School of Law (currently New England Law Boston) and in 1923, Attorney Braxton became the first African American woman to be admitted to the bar in Massachusetts. She was also the first African American woman to practice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.



Featured Scholarship Sponsors




Holland & Knight has generously renewed its support of the Blanche E. Braxton Bar Scholarship. This generous sponsorship was made possible through the firm’s Women’s Initiative, which is dedicated to the recruitment, retention and advancement of women attorneys. This initiative also enhances professional opportunities both in and outside the firm for women lawyers, encouraging all of the firm’s attorneys to be active leaders in professional and civic organizations in the communities in which they live. We thank Holland & Knight for their generous support as the MBWA continues to provide financial assistance to support graduating law students during bar exam studies.




The Women’s Bar Association (WBA), Middlesex County Committee spearheaded a fundraising initiative in 2020 to support the Blanche E. Braxton Bar Scholarship. As a result of the WBA’s generous donation, the MBWA has been presenting two scholarship awards during the annual Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration. We thank the WBA for their generous support as the MBWA continues to provide financial assistance to graduating law students during bar exam studies.