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Posted Sept. 21, 2010

Boluda '12 Awarded Womble Carlyle Scholarship

Jessica Boluda

Jessica Boluda ’12 is one of only 10 winners nationwide of the Womble Carlyle Scholarship awarded annually to second-year law students. 

The scholarship provides $8,000 spread over a student’s second and third years of law school, and the firm invites recipients to work as associates in one of its 11 offices.

“I was really happy, thrilled to have both the scholarship and the offer of employment,” Boluda said.

Since 2004, the Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, law firm has awarded scholarships to minority law students in the southeast to increase the participation of underrepresented groups in the bar.

Boluda, a Cuban-American, interviewed at the firm’s offices in Durham, N.C., on Aug. 21 and was awarded the scholarship the following week.

Boluda excels at community service, one of the award’s criteria. “I come from a military family,” she said. “Serving the community is really important to me.”

Boluda was heavily recruited by the Law School because of her record of community service, said Jason Wu Trujillo, senior assistant dean for admissions. Yared Getachew, assistant dean for public service, praised Boluda’s scholarship and said Womble Carlyle has a long history of service to underrepresented communities.

Yared Getachew

Yared Getachew

“The Law School is immensely grateful to Womble Carlyle for its continued commitment to service and its selection of Virginia Law students for this prestigious scholarship,” Getachew said. “Jessica will take to Womble Carlyle an impressive record of service and an unyielding pursuit of excellence.”

Boluda said the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center was extremely supportive throughout the application process, and credited Getachew with writing a letter of recommendation and helping her put together her resume. 

“I am grateful to have the PSC backing me up,” she said.

Last winter, Boluda completed about 60 hours of pro bono work in the legal department of the Young Women’s Christian Association in Annapolis, Md. She helped the attorneys there work to get protective orders for victims of domestic violence.

Pro bono work helps students get real-world experience in a short amount of time while working on important issues, Boluda said.

“I got to do client interviews, and the attorneys helped me figure out what are the right questions to ask somebody in a client interview, and identify the information needed to build a strong case,” she said.

Boluda was also a Public Interest Law Association fellow in the summer of 2010, working in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. She volunteers with Street Law, a student-run organization in which law students teach legal issues to 12th grade students at local high schools, and has worked with CONSource, a clearinghouse for information on the Constitution.

When she has spare time, she plays for UVA’s club soccer team. Boluda cited several reasons for coming to UVA, not the least of which is Charlottesville’s slower pace.

“I enjoy being outside the city,” she said. “I’m confident that I’m going to be working in [Washington] D.C. the rest of my life, so it’s nice to be here for now. Charlottesville is a great town.”

The variety of concentrations that the Law School offers is also a plus. “I’m like a kid in a candy store,” Boluda said. “There are just so many things that I want to try. I know I’m in the right place. Law school was definitely the right choice for me, but I don’t know where it’s going to take me.”

Reported by tim arnold