Sarasota County Bar Association/Richard Garland Diversity Scholarship Program – Deadline is March 1, 2014


Sarasota County is located on Florida’s GulfCoast between Tampa and Ft.Myers, and includes the municipalities of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Venice and North Port. Sarasota County is under the jurisdiction of Florida’s Twelfth Judicial Circuit. The Sarasota County Bar Association is a voluntary not-for-profit association of attorneys with over 800 members. As a leader of the local legal community, the Sarasota County Bar Association advances professionalism, promotes practice development, encourages public service, fosters fellowship and supports access to legal services for all. It is dedicated to the promotion of diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in the field of law and for all members, and prospective members, without regard to race, color, age, religion, gender, ethnicity, origin, sexual orientation, physical disability or socioeconomic background. Further information may be obtained by visiting the Sarasota County Bar Association website.


The Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Scholarship Fund is intended to provide an internship opportunity for first through third-year law students of under-represented minority backgrounds (e.g. race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, or socioeconomic background), who have an interest in practicing law in Sarasota County upon graduation, to obtain summer placement in private law firms and governmental agencies in Sarasota County. The Scholarship Application is open to those aforementioned law students enrolled in Florida law schools and those enrolled in out-of-state law schools, but who have or having had family, school, or community ties to Sarasota County; are interested in practicing law in Sarasota County.

The Diversity Scholarship aims to foster an employment and collegial relationship between the law student/s and the legal employer/s and consequently enhance the diversity of the Sarasota legal community. At the conclusion of the student’s summer employment, the law school where the student matriculates will receive scholarship funds of up to $5,000.00 per student, to be used by the student for his/her law degree. The Diversity Intern also earns wages from the Employer.

The SCBA Diversity Committee assigns an attorney mentor to each Diversity Scholarship Intern. Along with the Internship Employer, the SCBA mentor coordinates the activities promoting the Diversity Scholarship Intern’s professional development during the internship period. The Diversity Scholarship Intern and the Diversity Scholarship Employer will be welcomed and recognized, respectively, at a reception by the SCBA and representatives from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

Information regarding housing alternatives may be obtained from the SCBA Diversity Committee.


Becoming a Florida Bar Certified Legal Intern (CLI) may increase your employability among a greater number of potential employers. A CLI may appear in any court or before any administrative tribunal in Florida while under the supervision and written approval of a licensed attorney. A CLI may also engage in other activities such as preparing pleadings, briefs, abstracts and other documents and may also participate in oral arguments in appellate courts.

Obtaining your CLI designation is strictly voluntary and is not a requirement to qualify for the Richard R. Garland Diversity Scholarship. However, becoming a CLI will enable you to accept employment with a wider variety of potential employers, particularly government employers such as the State Attorney’s Office and the Public Defender’s Office, which typically require their applicants to be CLIs. Due to the time it may take for the Florida Bar to review and process CLI applications, it is recommended that you start this process as soon as possible if you wish to become a CLI. More information about the application process and the requirements for obtaining your CLI designation can be found here. 


Students are selected for the scholarship in a three step competitive process: a) a panel of attorney members of the Sarasota County Bar Association Diversity Committee reviews and ranks the applications considering financial need and personal merit; b) participating legal employers conduct job interviews of the top ranked students to determine the most suitable for employment; c) the Community Foundation approves the students selected. 


A needs analysis is conducted considering the total cost of education, the expected parent and/or student contribution, and other grant and loan funds awarded to the student. Scholarship finalists may be contacted either by letter or telephone and asked to provide additional information to the Foundation on other grants or loans awarded by schools and other funding sources. This data will be used in determining the amount of certain awards. This information will be held in strictest confidence. 


All applicants are notified in writing whether or not they receive an award. Recipients will be notified by the Community Foundation in April 2014. Payments are mailed directly to the school’s financial aid office prior to the beginning of each school year. 


To apply, students must submit the application form and enclose any additional required attachments. Completed applications must be in the Community Foundation office by March 1, 2014. Applications MAY NOT be faxed or e-mailed. If first semester grades of a 1L applicant are not available by deadline March 1, 2014, the 1L applicant authorizes his/her law school to promptly release his/her transcript to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County as soon as grades are made available by the law school registrar.