Miami-based law firm Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, P.L. will offer its second annual H.T. Smith Legal Studies Scholarship to support minority law school students. Last year, the scholarship was established to create a more diverse workforce and the South Florida legal industry. The scholarship winner will receive $10,000 in financial assistance to attend a Florida law school, a summer clerkship at Kluger Kaplan and the student will also be considered for an attorney position at the firm.
The scholarship was named after H.T. Smith (pictured), founding Director of the Trial Advocacy Program at Florida International University (FIU) College of Law. Eligible universities include the University of Miami, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, St. Thomas University, Florida State University and the University of Florida. Preference for the H.T. Smith Legal Studies Scholarship award is given to students entering their second year of law school who come from traditionally underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups and are actively involved in giving back to the South Florida community through volunteer efforts or participation among local organizations.
“Kluger Kaplan recognized that the legal community must do more to create opportunities for minority groups,” Alan J. Kluger says, founding partner at Kluger Kaplan. “The H.T. Smith Legal Studies Scholarship is intended to support minority law school students who have a strong connection with the South Florida community while encouraging other firms to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal industry.”
Last year, the first scholarship Kluger Kaplan awarded was to Briana Harris, a second-year student at FIU College of Law in Miami, Florida, with the H.T. Smith Legal Studies Scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year. Harris will be joining the firm as a summer associate this year.
“Advancing diversity, inclusion and a feeling of belonging in our legal community requires intentional, coordinated, positive, action,” Smith says. “Kluger Kaplan is providing a blueprint for other law firms to create similar programs and sending a message that this type of holistic support for the advancement of racial justice will not happen by accident. It will only happen if people act with intentionality.”
Smith is a nationally-renown trial lawyer who became Miami’s first African American assistant public defender, first African American assistant county attorney and the founding president of the Black Lawyers Association. Smith’s entry into private practice marked the launch of Downtown Miami’s first Black-owned law firm. Smith also led the Boycott Miami Campaign in response to local politicians snubbing Nelson Mandela when he visited Miami in 1990.
To apply for the scholarship, applicants must submit their résumé, current school transcript and a 500-word personal statement discussing who they are and why they are applying to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “H.T. Smith Legal Studies Scholarship.” The deadline to submit for the 2022-2023 academic year is June 1, 2022.
Finalists will be requested to join the Kluger Kaplan law firm for an interview. Scholarships will be funded directly to the recipient’s law school and applied towards the student’s tuition for the Fall 2022-2023 academic year. Any balance will be given directly to the student if there is another scholarship that covers their tuition.
Contact Laura Klein Recondo at email@example.com with any questions regarding the scholarship or application requirements.