Three members of UCLA School of Law’s first-year class have been honored with the inaugural Susman Godfrey Prize, which recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of law students of color across the nation. Regina Campbell ’23, Kaysie Gonzalez ’23, and Galyn Sumida-Ross ’23 together make up a quarter of all winners, who come from an array of top law schools, and UCLA Law is home to the largest number of honorees.
The prize was launched this year, according to Susman Godfrey, “as part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to enhancing diversity in the legal profession and with the goal of increasing the pipeline of diverse attorneys interested in civil trial litigation.” Students of color in their first or second years of law school were nominated by their professors or administrators, and they were selected after participating in virtual interviews with lawyers at the firm. They earned $2,500 and an offer of a Summer 2022 clerkship at any of the firm’s offices.
“We are thrilled to recognize these law students and shine a light on the incredibly talented diverse young lawyers coming up the ranks,” says Susman Godfrey Co-Managing Partner Kalpana Srinivasan in a statement. “The practice of civil trial litigation will benefit greatly by having more lawyers of color, and we developed the SG prize with that aim in mind.”
“What really stands out about UCLA Law is not only the brilliant students and faculty but the incredibly supportive and encouraging community. That’s why I think UCLA’s students were able to stand out amongst some of the brightest law students in the country,” says Campbell, who serves as co-president of UCLA Law’s trial team. This summer, she is working at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman and will be a Susman Godfrey 1L Diversity Fellow.
Sumida-Ross is a student in UCLA Law’s Epstein Program for Public Interest Law and Policy and is working at the Inner City Law Center’s Homeless Veterans Project this summer, as part of a fellowship that she earned through the Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles and the ICLC. “I appreciate that Susman Godfrey created a diversity prize that is open to students like myself who are committed to pursuing a career in public interest law,” she says.
“I am honored to receive the Susman Godfrey Prize alongside my outstanding friends, Regina and Galyn. We owe a special thank-you to Professor LaToya Baldwin Clark. The fact that three of her students were selected for this prize is a testament to how she champions her students inside and outside of the classroom,” says Gonzalez. She is working as a research assistant for UCLA Law faculty members this summer and, like her fellow honorees, credits Baldwin Clark for welcoming her to the law school and supporting her application for the prize.
“I am so proud of Kaysie, Regina, and Galyn for winning this award,” Baldwin Clark says. “This honor is a testament to the work they have already begun during their law school careers – and to the impact they will make as UCLA Law alumnae.”