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In July, 801 legal professionals showed up to take the Colorado Bar Exam; earlier this month 583 of them found out they had passed. One of the 73% who passed was Mercedes Pineda, a young woman who received our Minority Living Expenses Scholarship earlier this year.

Pineda received her BS in Labor and Industrial Relations from Cornell University in 2010. While considering whether she wanted to attend law school, she worked as a Legal Assistant at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington, D.C. Then in 2013, she “took that leap.”

She first met CLI’s Executive Director Karen Hester as a 1L at University of Colorado School of Law when she participated in the Colorado Pledge to Diversity program. “[Karen] has been a wonderful resource. She helped connect me with my mentor,” Pineda said.

Pineda continued to attend CLI events as a student and initially found out about our scholarships from the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, which has a strong relationship to the Latino Law Students Association of which she was a board member.

“In general, being a minority student, you already have so many factors stacked against you. It’s always tough to make ends meet … [this scholarship] was the perfect opportunity . . . I was able to focus on spending the appropriate amount of time on studying for the bar.”

Pineda had worked as an unpaid intern for all of 2015, first for the Colorado Court of Appeals, then the EPA Office of Civil Rights in D.C. (where she received the Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Public Service Fellowship), and finally at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Denver. This fall she secured an associate’s position in the labor employment law group at Sherman and Howard in Denver.

“I’m really interested in the policy aspect of labor and employment law and am hoping to get involved in that [in the long run].” Now that she has passed the bar exam, she’s one step closer to fulfilling her dream.

Mercedes Pineda has inspired us to move closer to our dream too. We have set a goal of doubling our impact on diverse law students with donations made through Colorado Gives Day this December 6ththe day when donations go further.

Will you help us grow our scholarship fund to support students like Pineda in starting their career off strong? Donors can schedule donations in advance starting November 1st.