Katie K. McLaughlin
Mandela freed the people. Obama brought them together. O’Connor sat on the bench for them when she was expected to sit on the sidelines. Sotomayor showed us that anyone from anywhere can do anything.
Long before they were Presidents or Justices, they were first-year law students with dreams of unity, equality, and freedom. Rising from humble roots, they overcame all odds to begin their legal educations, and the world has never since been the same.
Every lawyer has a unique story of the motivations and circumstances that called them to the law. As a young girl growing up in rural northeastern Minnesota in an economically depressed and medically underserved area, I looked up to those in my community and beyond who fought tirelessly to help others improve their quality of life. The values of service and justice were instilled within me. With recognition of the law as a vocation into which professionals enter for the fundamental purpose of advocating, I decided to pursue a legal education not for myself but on behalf of others. As a hopeful 1L, I dream of a world in which no person’s ability to achieve his or her potential is limited by a lack of access to quality, affordable health care.
Because of Presidents Obama and Mandela and Justices O’Connor and Sotomayor and every other predecessor, I enjoy the luxury of believing that perhaps I, too, can change the world through the law. This scholarship means that dream stays alive and the vision in sight.
“Working in the legal field, I have the great privilege of witnessing people make a difference in the lives of others every day. I have come to believe that one lawyer really can change the world. BARBRI and the ABA are dedicated to empowering individuals to do just that. Words cannot express how grateful and humbled I am to be so generously supported by BARBRI and the ABA in pursuit of my dreams.”
Katie K. McLaughlin