Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program

The Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program, the Foundation’s Flagship DEI Initiative, Assists STEM-Educated Individuals from Underrepresented Racial and Ethnic Groups Seeking Admission to an ABA-Accredited Law School to Explore a Career in Patent Law in the United States. The Scholar Program Offers Selected Scholars $30,000 Tuition Grant Awards And Provides Financial And Non-Financial Assistance To Scholars During The Law School Admissions Process And Throughout Law School.

The Foundation for Advancement of Diversity in IP Law is currently seeking applicants for its Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program.  Applicants must be members of a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in the patent law profession and be seeking admission to an ABA-accredited law school in the United States.  Applications are also accepted from individuals who have been admitted to law school but have not yet enrolled.

Applicants must download, complete, and submit the application to be recognized as a Scholar.  Scholar selections are made on a rolling basis throughout each calendar year.  Applicants are encouraged to apply for Scholar recognition during the calendar year that precedes the year in which they will be beginning their law school education.  Applications that are completed and submitted during the same calendar year in which the applicant is planning to enroll in law school must be submitted before April 1 (11:59PM, EDT, March 31).

Scholar Program Overview – Scholarship, Mentoring, and Career-Readiness Assistance

The Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program provides financial, mentoring, and career-readiness assistance to individuals seeking admission to law school or who have been admitted to law school, but not yet enrolled, and who have an interest in exploring a possible career in patent law in the United States.  In addition, the Foundation currently awards a limited number of 3-year, $10,000 per year law school tuition grant awards awarded to select Scholars.  These awards are based on financial need and merit criteria.  The second-and third-year tuition grants are contingent upon satisfactory academic progress and continuing demonstrable interest in a patent law career.

Scholar Selection Criteria – Scholar Application Requirements

The following information must be provided as part of the application process and will be considered by the Foundation in determining whether to recognize an applicant as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar:

  1. Recognition as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is available to individuals who identify as members of one or more underrepresented racial or ethnic groups.  Immediate family members of a trustee of the Foundation are ineligible to receive an award from the Foundation, e.g., a spouse, sibling, child, or grandchild.
  2. Applicants must exhibit a demonstrable commitment to exploring a career in patent law and provide a personal statement explaining the applicant’s interest in the patent law profession. The statement may include personal background information that an applicant wishes the Foundation to consider.  Applicants may supplement the required personal statement with one or more letters of recommendation.
  3. Applicants must have been awarded one or more college degrees (undergraduate and/or graduate) before entering law school in one or more areas of study that would permit the applicant to secure registration to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, this requires a STEM (science, technology, engineering, or mathematics) degree.  See General Requirements Bulletin for Admission to the Examination for Registration to Practice in Patent Cases before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/OED_GRB.pdf). Copies of undergraduate and graduate school transcripts must be included with the application.
  4. Applicants must provide a resume that includes work experiences and sets out activities that reflect the applicant’s leadership skills, community activities, and other personal or professional accomplishments.
  5. Applicants must provide law school admission plans, including (1) a listing of law schools where admission may be or has been sought, (2) law school admissions status, and (3) plans for or results of LSAT/GRE (Law School Admissions Test or Graduate Record Examination) testing.
  6. Preference may be given to applicants with demonstrated financial need or special family or financial circumstances. Applicants wishing to have financial need considered must include any relevant information in the required personal statement and may submit a current FAFSA as evidence of financial need.

Scholar Application Form

To apply for recognition as a Scholar, the completed form, together with supporting documentation must be submitted to the Foundation via email, addressed to Apply@DiversityinIPLaw.org.

Scholar Selection Process 

Once an application, together with all supporting documentation, has been accepted as complete by the Foundation, the applicant will be notified by email that the application is being evaluated.  Applicants who are qualified for recognition as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar may be asked to participate in an interview with one or more representatives of the Foundation.  The Foundation reimburses applicants for travel costs associated with any in-person interview.  Selection as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is based on (1) the applicant’s demonstrated interest in exploring a career in patent law, (2) relevant personal circumstances, and (3) prior academic and non-academic achievements indicative of a high likelihood of success in a career in patent law, should such a career be pursued.

Applicants selected as Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars are notified once the selection decision is made.  The selection process is conducted on a rolling basis, throughout the year, as completed applications are received.  Applicants applying and accepted earlier in the year may take advantage of the law school application assistance benefits of the program.  Scholars who are awarded a 3-year, $10,000 per year tuition grant will be separately notified as soon as possible after March 1.

Following initial recognition as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar, the Scholar remains eligible to continue participation in the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program during the Scholar’s 2L and 3L years of law school by demonstrating (1) satisfactory academic performance (a “B” average in law school or equivalent achievement), (2) normal progress towards a law degree through full-time study, and (3) a continued demonstrable interest in pursuing a possible career in patent law.

Scholar Grant Awards and Other Scholar Assistance Programs

Once an individual is accepted as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar, the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar immediately qualifies for the following future assistance and support:

  1. The Foundation, through its partnership with nationally prominent law firms and corporations, provides each Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar with a mentor, who will provide counseling and advice with respect to the law school admissions.
  2. Grant awards to Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars up to $2,000 for the costs incurred in completing a “prep course” for the LSAT.
  3. Grant awards to Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars in the amount of out-of-pocket costs, up to $2,000, associated with the law school admissions process.  This includes the fees charged for taking the LSAT, subscription to the Law School Credential Assembly Service, score report fees, and law school application fees at individual law schools.
  4. Grant awards for out-of-pocket travel costs of up to $1,000 for on-site interviews related to the law school admission process.
  5. Grant awards in the amount of the “seat deposit” to reserve a place in the entering class for a law school to which admission has been secured. The seat deposit grant award is limited to the balance of funds available for admissions-related expenses.
  6. The total grant awards for admissions-related expenses are limited to $5,000 for each Scholar.

Upon entering the 1L law school class, the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is entitled to the following assistance from the Foundation relating to participation in the patent bar as a law student member:

  1. Appointment of one or more mentors engaged in the practice of patent law
  2. Student membership dues in the ABA IPL Section and AIPLA.
  3. Grant awards for travel and attendance costs at one or both of the Annual Meeting of the ABA IPL Section (April) or the Annual Meeting of the AIPLA (October). Total grant awards for attendance costs is capped for each Scholar at $3000 for each year during which the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar remains in the program.
  4. Grant awards for travel and attendance costs at the Foundation’s Annual Convocation of Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars Program in Washington, D.C. The Convocation affords Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars with educational and networking opportunities with leadership within the patent law and broader intellectual property law communities.

Prior to or during a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar’s 1L or 2L year, the Scholar is entitled to the following benefits related to the patent bar examination and registration before the United States Patent and Trademark Office:

  1. All costs associated with the online patent bar review course of the Practising Law Institute.
  2. Grant awards to cover all costs arising from registration-related fees for the United States Patent and Trademark Office Patent Bar Examination (g., USPTO Application Fee, USPTO Registration Examination Fee, Prometric Service Fee, and Bar Registration fee).

Prior to the end of a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar’s 1L year in law school, the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is entitled to participate in the Foundation’s Patent Internship Program, which affords the following benefits:

  1. Counseling and advising with respect to special opportunities in patent law that may be available to Scholars who are completing a 1L year in law school.
  2. Access to the application process that the Foundation sponsors through its partnerships with law firms and corporations who employ patent law professionals.
  3. Stipends of up to $5,000 to cover living expenses for Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars who accept pro bonopatent law internships through entities approved by the Foundation. This includes patent-focused internships provided by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Following a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar’s 1L year in law school, the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar qualifying for continued recognition under the Foundation’s scholar program is entitled to continuation of the following benefits:

  1. Continued mentorship opportunities.
  2. Continued grant awards (as described above) related to attendance at meetings of the ABA IPL Section or the AIPLA.

Prior to the end of a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar’s 2L year in law school, the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is entitled to:

  1. Counseling and advising with respect to patent law clerkships available to students who are completing a 2L year in law school.
  2. Grant awards for the travel costs for participating in the Loyola University (Chicago) School of Law’s Patent Law Interview Program.

Prior to the start of a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar’s 3L year in law school, the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is entitled to:

  1. Counseling and advising with respect to employment opportunities for law school graduates interested in commencing a career in patent law.
  2. Access to the listing of employment opportunities for recent law school graduates made available from the law firm and corporate partners of the Foundation.

Following law school graduation, a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar is entitled to:

  1. Permanent recognition as a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar, including recognition on the Foundation’s website.
  2. Continued membership in the Society of Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars, including the opportunity to support the work of the Foundation through the counseling, advising, and mentorship of individuals seeking or pursuing a law school education as Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholars.
  3. Access to a listing of employment opportunities for law school graduates made available from the law firm and corporate partners of the Foundation.

Administration of Financial Grant Awards to Scholars

The $10,000 tuition grants that may be awarded by the Foundation are administered in the form of a once-yearly award paid directly to and administered through the awardee’s law school.  All other grant awards accrued by a Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar may also be dispensed once yearly by the Foundation, typically in August or September of each year.  To the extent grant amounts are determined based on a Scholar’s out-of-pocket expenses, awards may be conditioned on the submission of appropriate documentation of such expenses.  The Foundation may elect to administer any grant awards in the form of a once-yearly award paid directly to and administered by the Scholar’s law school.  When the Foundation so elects to administer any grant award as a once-yearly award paid to the Scholar’s law school, the award is applied to the verifiable costs associated with normal tuition and usual fees relating to full time or part-time enrollment status (such as, but not limited to, student activity fees, law school or university fees, administrative fees) and is administered through the law school the Scholar is attending, in accordance with the policies of the school for the use and application of scholarship funds.  For grant awards that are not received in the form of a law school tuition grant, the Foundation will make the awards directly to the Scholar.  Upon request, a Scholar may receive a grant award as an advance for a qualifying expense that can be dispensed directly to the Scholar or the Foundation may elect to make payment for any qualifying expense directly to a vendor or supplier.

Changes to the Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Program

The Foundation reserves the right at any time, and in its sole discretion, to modify, add to, or eliminate one or more of the then existing terms and conditions of its Sidney B. Williams, Jr. Scholar Program, including any of the benefits for Scholars as described above.  Any such changes shall be effective as of the date notice is provided to Scholars except to the extent the notice otherwise specifies.  Publication on the Foundation’s website of any Scholar Program changes shall constitute notice to the Scholars.