Congratulations to the recipients of this year's Bennett Jones Future Leaders in Law Scholarship Program. This Program was created by the firm to provide financial support and mentorship to first-year law students who have a demonstrated interest in business law and identify as members of the Indigenous or Black communities, and/or are among the first generation of their immediate family to undertake post-secondary education.
Selected after a rigorous review process, the 2023 recipients of the Bennett Jones Future Leaders in Law Scholarship are:
Annie Sahagian, McGill University: Annie's identity and family history is shaped by her grandparents' survival of the Armenian Genocide, and she continues to maintain strong ties to her Armenian heritage. Annie grew up in Syria where she and her family endured 5 years of the Syrian War in Aleppo before immigrating to Canada as a refugee in January 2016. In her application, Annie emphasized her deep sense of responsibility to contribute to her community, and her long-standing drive to survive, persist and succeed since coming to Canada.
Ufuoma Akalusi, University of Toronto: Ufuoma is a first-generation immigrant in Canada. She was drawn to the practice of law following her family's experience navigating the legal system. After an error in processing their permanent residency paperwork she and her family were mistakenly issued a deportation order. Ufuoma witnessed first-hand the value and importance of having an advocate, and from there decided to become one.
James Dunn, University of Windsor: James is a first generation post-secondary student who has dreamed of becoming a lawyer from a young age. His interest in law developed because of his parents, both of whom live with both physical and cognitive disabilities. James was witness from an early age to how people with disabilities could find themselves lost in the justice system and exploited by family members. He aspires to assist people with disabilities to better understand the legal system and the mechanisms of justice available.
Each scholarship comprises $10,000 for use towards first-year tuition, and is complemented by mentorship, networking and learning opportunities. Recipients are also eligible to apply for an additional $10,000 per year for their second and third year of law school.
Bennett Jones received more than 50 applications from individuals representing Black, Indigenous and first generation post-secondary law students across the country. Each applicant shared their own powerful messages of adversity, hope and resilience as they pursued higher education.
The Future Leaders in Law Scholarship Program is aimed at reducing the barriers for under-represented groups entering the legal profession. It is part of Bennett Jones' broader commitment to establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace, reflective of the global marketplace it serves.
For more on information on the Future Leaders in Law Program and terms of eligibility, please visit our Scholarship page.
About Bennett Jones
Bennett Jones is one of Canada’s premier business law firms and home to 500 lawyers and business advisors. With deep experience in complex transactions and litigation matters, the firm is well equipped to advise businesses and investors with Canadian ventures and connect Canadian businesses and investors with opportunities around the world. Serving clients since 1922, we are proud to be the firm that businesses trust with their most complex legal matters.