The Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation (OWLS) awarded Willamette Law 3L Traci McDowall an Armonica Grant at a luncheon near the end of November.
Armonica Grants of $1,000 are awarded annually to third- or fourth-year law students at any of the three Oregon law schools. Recipients must demonstrate a commitment to the Foundation’s goals through their personal volunteer or educational experience.
The grants are named after Armonica Gilford, late Foundation board member, who was the Oregon Department of Justice’s first African-American female assistant attorney general. She was known for serving as a mentor to many law students and lawyers.
In addition to receiving the grant, students who win are matched with a judge who serves as a mentor for the academic year. McDowall, whose goal is to break the barriers that many young women face in pursuing their dreams, was matched with Justice Meagan Flynn of the Oregon Supreme Court.
“The award helped me cover the costs of my last semester, and I am looking forward to working with my mentor as I get ready to transition out of school,” McDowall said. “I anticipate there will be challenges as I make this transition, and I am thankful to have a mentor who is willing to help me with them, especially one who is well accomplished and can relate to my life as a parent.”
McDowall said the costs of law school can sometimes be overwhelming. She has two young children and commutes two hours from home to attend law school in Salem.
“The prospect of receiving some help with purchasing books was really appealing,” she said, “and I knew it would be really helpful to my family.”
McDowall plans to take the bar exam in July and upon passing, become a practicing attorney in Lincoln County, Oregon.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.