Louis Stokes Scholars Program

“Changing Lives, One Student at a Time”

In June 2012, the CMBA launched the Louis Stokes Scholars Program -- a pipeline diversity initiative through which college students interested in careers in the law engage in paid summer legal internships of eight-weeks duration at Cleveland law firms, courts and legal nonprofits. Scholars are provided with volunteer mentors who are lawyers and judges who agree to mentor throughout the college years.  In addition, Scholars participate in group enrichment and networking activities through the summer including field trips to the courts and local law schools, public speaking and writing seminars and lunch and learn programs with legal community leaders.  


  • The Stokes Scholars Program received the Ohio State Bar Foundation’s Outstanding Program Award in September, 2014.
  • The National Association of Bar Executives awarded the Stokes Scholars program with the Lexis Nexis Community Partnership Award in 2013.
  • In March 2013, the Louis Stokes Scholars Program was named Best New Internship at The Expys Awards. The Expys Awards are presented by the Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education (NOCHE) and Cleveland Business Connects Magazine to recognize the best interns, mentors and internship programs in Northeast Ohio.

There is a need for pipeline diversity programs because the legal profession ranks last in the percentage of minority members compared to all other professions, a troubling fact for a profession dedicated to justice and equality.  The Stokes Scholars Program provides the missing piece in the CMBA's pipeline diversity initiatives – a college program.  The CMBA now has critical pipeline programs for high school (The 3Rs – Rights, Responsibilities, Realities; Cleveland Mock Trial Program and Stephanie Tubbs Jones Summer Legal Academy), college (Louis Stokes Scholars Program) and law school students (Minority Clerkship Program).


Ashley M. Edwards
AECOM Corporation

Paul W. Smith
Bonezzi Switzer Polito & Hupp Co. L.P.A.


To be eligible for the Stokes Scholars Program, students must be:

  1. graduates of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District or East Cleveland Municipal School District, AND
  2. currently enrolled in college or scheduled to begin college in the fall following the summer program.  Aspiring Stokes Scholars are asked to complete an application and participate in personal interviews.

Deadline Extended to April 18, 2016

Applications for 2016 are available for download here.

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Special thanks to Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, the Sustaining Sponsor of the Stokes Scholars Program!  As Sustaining Sponsor, Squire Patton Boggs has demonstrated its commitment to the program through annual support at a leadership level.

The Louis Stokes Scholars Program is a program of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, with funding support provided by the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Foundation. 

The CMBF is a 501(c)(3) organization; gifts to it are tax deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes.

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