Mercer OUTLaw Students Receive Scholarship to Attend National Lavender Law Conference in Philadelphia

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MACON – Nine students from Mercer Law School’s OUTLaw student organization attended the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Bar Association’s 31st annual Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair held Aug. 7-9 in Philadelphia.

This year, Mercer Law’s OUTLaw group received the Kay Young Scholarship from the Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, which allowed nine students to attend the conference. The scholarship provides funding to highly accomplished law students to attend Lavender Law.

“The Atlanta based Stonewall Bar Association awarded Mercer OUTLaw a scholarship to attend the Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair because of OUTLaw’s advocacy efforts for LGBT individuals. I am thankful for the opportunity to share the Lavender Law experience with eight other Mercer OUTLaw members this year,” said Teresa Pardiñas, president of OUTLaw, who also received the Kay Young Scholarship in 2018 to attend the conference. “Lavender Law inspired the advocates in each of us, brought us together as a team and helped us shape our goals for Mercer and OUTLaw. The tradition of attending Lavender Law will continue so that future OUTLaw generations can experience the same substantive and meaningful workshops, networking and time with their peers.”

Not only did the event provide networking opportunities, but it also included career-building workshops including LGBTQ law-related panel discussions, legal overviews and career counseling.

“I have never experienced such an inclusive and accepting environment as I did at Lavender Law. LGBTQ and ally law students and legal professionals come together from across the country to discuss and work through real issues facing the community. It’s truly uplifting,” said second-year student Sydney Segers, OUTLaw ally, alumni outreach chair and an ally of the LGBT community. “As an ally, the weekend was such a rewarding experience. I was given tips and information on how to strengthen my role as an ally, not just at the workshops, but in my interactions and conversations with other attendees. I hope to use my experience at Lavender Law to become a better ally, supporter and lawyer.”

The Stonewall Bar Association of Georgia, which provides the Kay Young Scholarship, was founded in 1995 to develop a coalition of legal workers to utilize their professional expertise to support the rights of the LGBT community and oppose discrimination based on sexual or gender orientation. The scholarship is named in honor of Young, the late SBA board member and accomplished attorney.

The National LGBT Bar Association provides programming like Lavender Law for LGBT and ally legal professionals. It aspires to improve the quality of life for LGBT legal practitioners until the time they are recognized without discrimination, stigma or negative bias.

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Billie Frys