Southern District of Illinois to fund scholarships to SIU law students
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois will fund law school scholarships in an effort to support the area's legal community.
The federal court plans to award more than $18,000 to a law school student attending Southern Illinois University.
All district judges agreed to use funds for a scholarship to the Carbondale-based law school, Judge Staci Yandle told the Record.
The money comes from fees charged to attorneys for temporary admission to the district. The separate, free-standing fund has certain restrictions on its use.
"We took a look at what we had in this fund, and came up with the idea of funding this scholarship for the only law school in the district," Yandle said.
She explained the judges certainly want lawyers from southern Illinois to stay in the district, which encompasses 38 counties in the state.
"It is good use for it and good for the court to support the legal community, to be impactful," Yandle said. "Any time we can support the law school that is in our district, impact an education, that is a good thing."
The district court has entered into the partnership with the Southern Illinois University Foundation to establish the law school scholarship fund.
Initially, this is a one-time gift of $18,250. The university foundation will act as a custodian for the money, while the dean of the law school, or a committee, will determine the recipient.
While financial need will be one criteria, the recipient must be a current student in the SIU School of Law, Yandle said.
Recipients also must be from the southern district, in the top half of their class, commit to pro bono work and submit an essay on the role of lawyers in society.
It has not yet been decided whether to continue to fund the scholarship beyond the initial amount handed over.