The New York office of international top 20 law firm Reed Smith LLP has selected Moez Kaba of Columbia Law School as the first recipient of its newly launched Reed Smith Fellowship. The Fellowship is awarded to a law student who has overcome adversity to pursue a law degree. The selection of Kaba, who is entering his second-year at Columbia Law School this fall, was announced today. Kaba, whose family emigrated from Pakistan shortly before his birth, is not only an extraordinary student but has also dedicated himself to helping others both here and abroad.
Kaba’s story is one of triumph over obstacles: he was born a few months after his parents’ arrival in this country, and his earliest memories are of their struggle to establish themselves and make a life for him. His mother swept floors and his father lifted boxes in a factory in order to make ends meet. Kaba attended an economically disadvantaged elementary school, but through his sharp intellect and determination was able to attain high academic and community honors. In addition to having been awarded the State of Illinois Award for Most Promising Future Leader from the Asian-American Community, he was valedictorian of his class at Cornell University. In his first year at Columbia Law School, Kaba was both a Teaching Fellow and a Kent Scholar (the highest honor given by Columbia to law students).
In addition to his service to numerous community organizations, he has served as a Youth Director for the Midwest Chapter of the Aga Khan Foundation and currently oversees efforts to encourage and facilitate community service activities among youths around the nation. Kaba also serves as Chair of both the Muslim Law Students Association and the Youth Justice Association at Columbia Law School
“Moez has displayed remarkable talent and perseverance, not only by achieving a superlative academic record both as an undergraduate at Cornell and now at Columbia, but also through his considerable efforts to serve the community, ” said Andrew Messite, Reed Smith partner and member of the firm’s Diversity Committee.
“Moez truly embodies what this Fellowship is all about,” added Greg Jordan, Reed Smith’s managing partner. “His story demonstrates the type of determination and drive our Fellowship attempts to reward.”
“Reed Smith seems to me to be a wonderful place to work and learn. I am honored to have received the Fellowship and am inspired by the commitment this firm has to diversity. Reed Smith is a true meritocracy that not only accepts but embraces and cultivates diversity of thought, personality and identity, ” Kaba said.
The Reed Smith Fellowship for New York City will provide Kaba with a $15,000 tuition scholarship and summer employment after completing his second year of law school. Applicants must have a B+ average in their first year law school course work and submit an essay detailing how they have overcome adversity in their lives. They must also demonstrate commitment to the community and involvement in extracurricular activities.
The New York City award is modeled on a similar scholarship created last year by the firm’s Pittsburgh office with the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Pittsburgh’s second recipient, Kevin Jayne, was announced this week.