A little help can make a big difference in the stressful life of a law student.
Long hours, hard classes, financial stress and demanding work are all commonly associated with law school, and for good reason.
Students interested in a successful legal career have a path laid out before them. It involves countless hours of study, reading, research, involvement in organizations, networking, clerkships and the bar exam.
The payoff at the end can be a life-changing and fulfilling career, but the years spent reaching that point often take a toll on students and young lawyers.
“The Excellence Fund offers students all kinds of support, including emergency funding to help students who face unexpected expenses such as medical bills as well as a food pantry to help alleviate hunger,” said Law School Dean Jack Wade Nowlin. “It's so important for us to support our students and help them succeed.”
The support from the Excellence Fund is felt daily by students.
“I had a friend just today that had a $300 expense come up,” law student Malik Williams said. “He's doing pro-bono public interest work. He's working the summer without getting paid for it because it's where his passion is. So, he's reaching out to the school in hopes of using the emergency fund. The fund particularly helped students in that environment who otherwise couldn't make ends meet.”
As the Student Bar Association president, a member of the board for the Black Law Students Association at Texas Tech and a student in the civil practice clinic, Williams is aware of the busy schedule and the struggles that can arise for students.
Associate Dean for Student Life Sofia Chapman also sees this every day.
“We really care about our students, and we know the challenges and hardships they can experience,” she said. “The special funding we are able to provide for students through the Dean's Excellence Fund makes a huge difference to them. It keeps students in school and allows them to concentrate on their studies. We even support extra funding for counseling so our students can be healthy, happy, and successful in their careers and lives.”
But making sure the resources needed are on hand requires support from outside the university as well.
“The generosity of our donors makes so much of this possible,” Nowlin said. “We just couldn't do it all without them.”
Williams also knows how impactful assistance from supporters of the law school can be.
“I'm grateful and appreciative to those individuals,” he said. “The funding they give provides us with more resources so we can actually function as law students and focus on our studies without having to worry so much. They pick up some of the burdens when they provide these extra resources to the school. Without them, many of us would be forced to take out additional financial aid to pay for any emergencies. We are extremely grateful for anything anybody can provide.”