Third-year law students Tiffany De'Ann Richardson and Paul Singleton recently received scholarships from the Arizona Black Bar, in honor of a late judge, community leader and civil-rights activist.
Richardson, who will be the student graduation speaker at the College of Law's Convocation on Dec. 19, and Singleton, who will graduate in May, received the Hayzel B. Daniels Scholarships. Richardson received a $2,900 scholarship, and Singleton received a Kaplan PMBR Scholarship.
The Bar award pays homage to the late Honorable Hayzel B. Daniels, the first African-American admitted to the practice of law in Arizona. Judge Daniels fought to desegregate the Phoenix public schools before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the "separate but equal" concept in the landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education. During a long and well-respected legal career, Judge Daniels gave generously of his talents for the betterment of all people, according to the Arizona Black Bar.
"These two students represent the best of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law," said Dean Paul Schiff Berman. "Even though their own personal budgets are tight, they have repeatedly chosen to pursue public-interest opportunities to serve the community. Accordingly, they are ideal recipients of an award that honors Hayzel B. Daniels."
To continue the legacy of Judge Daniels, the Arizona Black Bar provides financial scholarships to African-American law students in Arizona who intend to practice in the state.
"We realize the financial burden that comes with becoming a member of the state bar," said Monyette Green, president-elect of the Arizona Black Bar. "Thus, our organization has identified a need that no other organization provides, scholarships to assist graduating law students in paying their Bar-course preparation fees.
"Tiffany and Paul demonstrated financial need but, more importantly, they expressed a commitment and dedication to learning the practice of law here in Arizona. We are proud to include each of them in our family of scholarship recipients," Green said. "We believe that Tiffany and Paul will contribute greatly to the legal community upon passing the Bar."
Richardson, the youngest of four children raised by a single mother, decided at a young age to become a criminal defense attorney. She studied hard, and remained at the top of her class all through school, earning a B.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Michigan. After one year at the James E. Rogers College of Law at the University of Arizona, Richardson transferred to the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law.
In her essay for the Hayzel B. Daniels Scholarship, Richardson said she plans to use her law degree as a tool to achieve justice for all. She plans to work as a Public Defender in Maricopa County and hopes to become the first African-American woman in the office of the Maricopa County Public Defender. Ultimately, her goal is to be the first African-American woman on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Singleton won the 2007 Cohen Professionalism Scholars Competition for an essay he wrote about integrity. In it, he presented a dreamlike scenario, where he is forced to choose between one of two doors, one that shows his future if he chooses to take a lucrative corporate law job that could help his family climb out of poverty and the other that shows how he could help his community with a career that may be less lucrative.
Singleton picks one, and although he doesn't reveal which one, he smiles and crosses the threshold, knowing he made the right decision.
Both students have been active in the College's John B. Morris Black Law Student Association.