Charleston Law student helps establish national scholarship for LGBTQ+ law students

FEBRUARY 1, 2021 — The National LGBT Bar Association recently announced three annual scholarships for LGBTQ+ and Ally Law Students. Judi O’Kelley, chief program officer of the association, credits Charleston School of Law student Emily Hansbarger with first championing the idea as co-chair of the LGBT Bar’s Law Student Congress.

“We are grateful for her taking the initiative and giving us an opportunity to run with a really great idea,” said O’Kelley.

Hansbarger said her main goal while serving on the board was to establish this scholarship.

“There are only a few LGBTQ+ scholarships in the country for law students,” she said. “There are diversity scholarships that are offered to LGBTQ+ students, but they are also offered to any other diverse student. I believe having a more accessible LGBTQ+ scholarship will create more opportunities for LGBTQ+ students to attend law school.”

O’Kelley said the scholarships reinforce the association’s overall goals. “We want to support diversity in all forms in the legal profession and legal education,” she said. “We know that LGBTQ people have disproportionately lower income and are struggling with poverty, particularly transgender people, compared to non-LGBT people and that can provide barriers for educational advancement.”

The LGBT Bar will award three $2,500 scholarships each year to an incoming 1L student, a rising 2L student, and a rising 3L or 4L student.

“These scholarships are available to anyone with a demonstrated commitment to LGBT equality, not just LGBT people,” said O’Kelley.

Applications must be received by April 1, 2021 and will be evaluated by June 1, 2021. For more information, visit

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