Rutgers Law School is committed to improving access to legal education, and a new scholarship will ensure that this commitment continues for years to come. Funded by donations from Flaster Greenberg, PC, a law firm based in West Windsor, New Jersey, the scholarship is named in memory of Laura B. Wallenstein, a 1977 graduate of Rutgers Law School and the first woman to ever hold a shareholder position at the firm.
Wallenstein was a trailblazer as a law student, serving as editor of the Rutgers University Law Review and graduating as valedictorian of her class. In addition to becoming an equity shareholder at Flaster Greenberg within five years of joining the firm in 1980, Wallenstein spearheaded the development of an internal women’s group at the firm, later formalized to become the Women’s Initiative Committee, which to this day supports the professional development and work/life balance of the firm’s women attorneys. The launch of the Laura B. Wallenstein - Flaster Greenberg Memorial Scholarship mirrors her personal commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and, in its first year, will benefit two students from Rutgers’ award-winning Minority Student Program (MSP).
“The overwhelming majority of MSP law students are first-generation law students from underserved communities with few financial resources,” says assistant dean and MSP director Rhasheda S. Douglas. “This scholarship not only provides financial support, but it also provides encouragement for MSP students from a leading law firm in the region. This type of support has a significant impact on the lives of students who may not have had attorneys in their communities.” In addition to scholarship opportunities, MSP provides academic support, mentors, summer internship opportunities, and other resources to law students from under-represented and underserved communities.
“This scholarship is tremendously impactful, as it is the reason I am able to continue my studies,” says recipient Zahirah Sabir '24. “I had a shortfall between aid and expenses this year and, thanks to this scholarship, I was able to meet my financial obligations and continue my education, ultimately allowing me to graduate on time.”
It’s Douglas’ hope that this scholarship is just the first step in a meaningful and long-lasting partnership between the law school and Flaster Greenberg, and serves as an example to other alumni looking to give back. “Scholarships funded by local attorneys illuminate the community that remains once we transition from law students to attorneys,” says scholarship recipient Alyssa Olagbegi. “It is a reminder that someone has your back.”