Since it was founded in 1962, Women Lawyers of Sacramento has encouraged women to enter and excel in the legal profession. In furtherance of this goal, WLS provides several scholarships to deserving law students in the Sacramento area. Many scholarships are available to first and second year law students, while another is exclusively for graduating law students to assist with expenses related to study of the California bar examination.
Each year, WLS awards at least four scholarships. The exact number of scholarships and the amount of funds per scholarship is determined each year by the Foundation Board of Directors and is based on ArtFest proceeds.
The WLS Scholarship
WLS awarded the first WLS Scholarship in 1966, when it awarded $250 to Barbara McCallum. Ms. McCallum was a student at McGeorge School of Law who later served as president of WLS. The WLS Scholarship is awarded to a financially needy first or second year law student whose achievements are consistent with WLS’s goals of advancing the position of women in law and society, but who may not meet the criteria applicable for WLS’s other scholarships.
The Margaret A. Flynn Scholarship
In 1983, WLS established the Margaret A. Flynn Scholarship in honor of Sacramento County’s first woman judge. Her appointment to the Sacramento County Municipal Court bench in 1964 was the result of WLS’s first organized effort to get a woman appointed to the bench. A graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law, Judge Flynn served as Deputy Legislative Counsel, Principal Research Attorney and Clerk of the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District. Judge Flynn had a quick mind, an assertive manner and little patience for red tape detail. The Margaret A. Flynn Scholarship is awarded to a financially needy first or second year law student who has engaged in exemplary community service. Special consideration is given to candidates whose community service has benefited women and/or children.
The Frances Newell Carr Scholarship
In 1992, WLS established a scholarship in honor of Justice Frances Newell Carr. The daughter of migrant farm workers, Frances Carr often switched schools and quickly learned to take advantage of whatever educational opportunities were available. Naturally competitive, she learned to cut more grapes than anyone else by the time she was ten years old. She decided to become a lawyer because “all the important men were always lawyers.” She worked her way through college and law school, graduating from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1948. She and another woman classmate had difficulty finding employment until they found a lawyer who offered to let them both work full-time for a single $200 a month salary. Frances Carr was a founding member and the first president of WLS. In 1975, she became the first woman appointed to the Sacramento County Superior Court. Five years later, she was elevated to the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, where she served until her death in 1991. The Frances Newell Carr Scholarship is awarded to a financially needy first or second year law student with an outstanding academic record. Special consideration is given to candidates who have overcome personal adversity.
The Virginia S. Mueller Scholarship
In 1997, WLS established a scholarship in honor of Virginia S. Mueller, a trail-blazing Sacramento lawyer who has worked tirelessly to advance the position of women in the legal profession. This scholarship is available to third year (fourth year evening) students studying for the bar examination. Virginia Mueller has practiced law for over half a century, having become a member of the California Bar upon graduation from Cornell University Law School in 1946. In 1959, she was hired as the first woman Deputy in the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. She was hired, District Attorney John Price recalls, in spite of her gender; she simply was clearly the most qualified candidate. Virginia Mueller was a founding member of WLS and served as its second president. Through her leadership positions in WLS, the National Asociation of Women Lawyers and many other organizations, Virginia Mueller has vigorously worked to end all forms of discrimination against women. Special consideration is given to candidates who have worked to expand opportunities for historically disadvantaged persons.
The Karen Pedersen Stevens Scholarship
In 2008, WLS established a memorial scholarship in honor of Karen Pedersen Stevens. A passionate advocate for women’s rights, Karen Pedersen Stevens was instrumental in helping the Senate Judiciary Committee draft California’s “no-fault” divorce law. In 1973, she graduated from McGeorge School of Law, and immediately began her involvement in promoting women in the profession. Karen Pedersen Stevens was a founding member of California Women Lawyers, and she later served as a president of Women Lawyers of Sacramento. Her service and dedication to the legal community included her involvement on the Attorney General’s Women’s Rights Task Force, State Bar’s board of governors, California Young Lawyers’ board of governors, and UOP McGeorge School of law board of directors. In 2007, SCBA selected Karen Stevens as the posthumous recipient of the Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award. The Karen Pedersen Stevens Scholarship is awarded to a financially needy first or second year law student who either has an interest in pursuing a legal career in family law and/or an individual who has provided assistance to women and/or children. Special consideration is given to individuals who have a desire to start their own family law practice.
The Jean C. McEvoy Scholarship
In 2013, WLS established a memorial scholarship in honor of Jean C. McEvoy, President of Women Lawyers of Sacramento in 2002. Jean McEvoy was a fervent advocate of supporting rights and opportunities for women locally and internationally. A private attorney with exceptional legal skills, she was known for being compassionate and committed to assisting people in need as she strongly advocated for conservatees and minor children in guardianships. She skillfully guided clients through estate planning and probate matters. Jean McEvoy was unparalleled in her encouragement of other women in their professional careers. In 2010, Jean McEvoy was the recipient of the organizations’ highest honor, the Francis Newell Carr Award. In 2013, the Sacramento County Bar Association selected Jean C. McEvoy as its posthumous recipient of their Distinguished Attorney of the Year Award. The Jean C. McEvoy scholarship is awarded to a financially needy law student currently in the first or second year, with an interest in pursuing a legal career in either probate or elder law, and/or has a demonstrated interest in assisting seniors and children in achieving stability in their lives. Special consideration will be given to individuals who have entered law as a second profession and/or began law school at the age of 35 or later in life.