THE BLANCHE E. BRAXTON
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 RequirementsApplicants 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 2022-2023 academic year; or
- Law school graduates who graduated on or after May 2021, registered to take the July 2023 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 on Saturday, June 3, 2023 (attendance at the ceremony is required)
Award and Selection ProcessMBWA 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 RequirementsApplicants must submit all of the following:
- Completed 2023 Blanche E. Braxton Scholarship Application, providing complete answers;
- Current transcript;
- Class registration or other proof of enrollment for the 2022-2023 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 DeadlineMBWA has extended the deadline for scholarship applications through May 8, 2023. Scholarship recipients will be notified in advance and officially announced at the Ida B. Wells Awards Celebration, to be held in person on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at 1:00-4:00 p.m. 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.