Mikka Gee Conway ('11) Receives Diversity Scholarship
JUNE 23, 2009—Second-year University of Minnesota Law School student Mikka Gee Conway is one of three recipients chosen from among hundreds of applicants for a 2009 Arent Fox Diversity Scholarship.
In addition to a $15,000 award, each of the winners receives a summer associate position at one of the Arent Fox locations: Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C. Already in her fourth week as a summer associate in the Washington office, Conway reports that the position is "challenging, but fascinating. I get to apply what I've learned in my first year of law school, and I'm gaining exposure to new areas of law as well."
Summer associates assist attorneys, typically by doing research, writing up findings, and providing analysis of assigned issues. Conway says that so far, she has worked on pro bono cases for individual and nonprofit clients—on projects that are litigation-related and others that are aimed at providing counsel to organizations.
Conway got a taste of pro bono research work over the January 2009 winter break, when she and other students volunteered to work with the New Orleans Legal Assistance Corp. The trip was organized by the Law School's chapter of the Student Hurricane Network, a national student-run organization that matched up law students with volunteer opportunities in post-Katrina New Orleans. Conway says that, primarily, she researched eligibility for home-rebuilding assistance under post-Katrina community block grants. The organization has since disbanded as needs in New Orleans have changed.
In her summer associate position, Conway notes, "I am using what I learned in civil procedure classes more than almost anything else so far." Professor Kirsten Nussbaumer, who taught Conway in her 1L civil procedure class, says Conway was "a stand-out student in civil procedure, and always personable and poised. In her first semester, she was already displaying a lawyerly mindset: meticulous about technical requirements of the rules, while also creative in the face of their ambiguities. I have no doubt that Mikka has what it takes to be a success in the legal profession, both now and in the long run."
Conway came to the Law School in 2008 from an assistant directorship at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Previously, she had worked at the J. Paul Getty Museum since 1998, first as a graduate intern and curator in the Department of Photographs, then manager of curatorial affairs, and finally as Assistant Director for Museum Advancement. She also completed a curatorial internship at the National Gallery of Art. She holds an M.A. from Williams College and a B.A. from Stanford University, both in art history.
The three recipients and five finalists for the scholarship will be officially recognized at luncheons on July 21, 2009, at the three Arent Fox locations.
Founded in 1942, Arent Fox LLP has a long history of commitment to diversity, pro bono work, and community involvement. The Diversity Scholarship Program, now in its fourth year, is part of a larger effort to increase the firm's diversity and attract top lawyers from diverse backgrounds.