First-Year Students Receive Top Scholarship for Leadership

Meet 5 of the Latest Karsh-Dillard Recipients
Cameron Beach, Maximo Martinez, Laura-Louise Rice, Zachary Hayburn and Toni Lynn Woods Maignan Jr.

Cameron Beach, Maximo Martinez, Laura-Louise Rice, Zachary Hayburn and Toni Lynn Woods Maignan Jr. are among this year’s class of Karsh-Dillard Scholars. Photos by Julia Davis

August 29, 2022

With experiences ranging from local journalism to working to protect maternal rights to helping immigrants fill out paperwork, this year’s Karsh-Dillard Scholars at the University of Virginia School of Law are bringing myriad backgrounds to their legal studies.

The full-tuition scholarships, given to top J.D. candidates with demonstrated leadership qualities, are funded as part of a historic gift by Martha Lubin Karsh ’81 and Bruce Karsh ’80, who contributed $44 million to the Law School in 2018. The awards also bear the name of the Law School’s fourth dean, Hardy Cross Dillard ’27.

First-year students Cameron Beach, Zachary Hayburn, Maximo Martinez, Laura-Louise Rice and Toni Lynn Woods Maignan Jr. are among this year’s scholarship recipients. They spoke about their experiences prior to law school and why they chose to pursue a J.D. at UVA Law.

Cameron BeachCameron Beach

Hometown: Glenview, Illinois

Education: B.A. in political science, Duke University

Notable work/educational experience: During my undergraduate years at Duke, I had the opportunity to work as a local journalist covering the Durham courthouse. Part of that experience was simply listening and learning — I sat, observed and covered stories everywhere, from the mundanities of traffic court to a high-profile murder trial. That experience led me to covering sexual assault on campus, which opened my eyes to many of the laws and de facto practices that affect a woman’s ability to report.

Why study law? Becoming intimately familiar with the way a courthouse functions — and witnessing the everyday injustices experienced by many of those within its walls — made it clear to me that writing about the justice system was not enough. I needed to be inside.

What would you like to do with your law degree? I’m keeping an open mind about what fields might spark my interest at UVA, but I would love to get back into the world of journalism, maybe as a defender of a free press. I’m also interested in antitrust and will hopefully work for the government at some point during my three years here!

Zac HayburnZac Hayburn

Hometown: Granville, Ohio

Education: B.A. in international studies and comparative religion, Miami University

Notable work/educational experience: One of my favorite educational experiences was an Arabic immersion program through Middlebury College. We, the students, were isolated (as much as possible) from interacting with other languages, including English, and had to take a “language pledge” that barred us from using languages other than Arabic at the risk of expulsion from the program. As a beginner in Arabic at the time, getting adjusted to communicating entirely in extremely basic, elementary terms was very humbling and led to some funny interactions with students and staff where, in the middle of a conversation, I literally had no other words to say.

Why study law? I’ve always considered myself a patriot, so when I saw the events of Jan. 6 in and around Washington, D.C., near where I resided at the time, I felt a powerful call to duty to prevent such an event from ever occurring again. Experiences that day and during my upbringing made me appreciate the immense influence the law can have on our society. I believe just legal means are the most effective conduit to healing the deep divides in our country. I hope I can play a part in delivering them to achieve that end, however large or small that part.

What would you like to do with your law degree? As of now, my goal is to practice appellate litigation. I believe that preventing events such as Jan. 6 is tied to sound constitutional theory and practice. Appellate litigation would allow me to contribute to such an end by putting me in a role where I could play an active part in shaping constitutional theory. Appellate litigation also offers challenges across different mediums of advocacy, affording me opportunities to grow and hone a wide variety of skills, which I find exciting. With that being said, I’m open to any opportunities or areas of practice that I feel would help me positively contribute to society and grow my skills as an attorney.

Maximo MartinezMaximo Martinez

Hometown: El Paso, Texas

Education: B.A. in business administration, Texas Tech University

Notable work/educational experience: I was given the opportunity to work for a Big Law firm through the SEO Law Fellowship program. I learned the day-to-day duties of a typical transactional lawyer and litigation lawyer. I also explored the different areas of law available at the firm. I collaborated with law school students on different projects and gained a better understanding of law school life.

Why study law? Back in high school and in my early years of undergraduate studies, I helped Mexican immigrants from my hometown obtain their American citizenship by directing citizenship classes and filling out U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services forms. I found the work very fulfilling but frustrating at times when legal problems arose and students couldn’t afford a lawyer. Studying law felt like the best investment for my future career after realizing I could channel this fervor into a profession.

What would you like to do with your law degree? I am not entirely sure what I would like to do with my law degree. I might use my accounting background to enter tax law, or I may pivot from what I learned through citizenship classes to enter immigration law. I envision myself using my law degree for private practice or government work, yet I am confident it will take my law school experience to guide me through my ultimate decision.

Laura-Louise RiceLaura-Louise Rice

Education: B.A. and B.S. in medical humanities and public policy, University of South Carolina

Hometown: Lexington, South Carolina

Notable work/educational experience: I interned with the Birth Outcomes Initiative at South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services during the summer before my senior year. This experience opened my eyes to the systematic failures and injustices that many women face in accessing and obtaining quality maternal and perinatal care. Due to bureaucratic and legislative red tape, many of these injustices go overlooked and women and families are left to suffer accordingly, especially women who look like me. Following that internship, I worked for a lobbying firm that highlighted the importance of having a voice in the rooms where decisions are made, and the obligation to use that voice to speak up for the issues that matter to your community along with the power and responsibility that your voice holds.

Why study law? My dad always taught me that when given the spotlight, it is our duty to take that light and shine it on others, particularly those who walk alongside and behind us. I believe studying the law gives me the power to shine a light on injustices in our society and demand for justice to be served, especially for those systematically ignored and overlooked by our criminal justice system. In addition, after catching the “government bug” in high school, I became fascinated by the Constitution, civil rights and the power of courts, and always knew that a career in law would best suit my interests.

What would you like to do with your law degree? I have an open mind as I pursue a career in the law. I would like my career to center on my personal mission of giving a voice to those who cannot speak up for themselves, regardless of the sector. My dream is to start a health justice nonprofit organization that provides legal aid on health justice issues and engages in advocacy on the local, state and federal level.

Toni Lynn Woods Maignan Jr.Toni Lynn Woods Maignan Jr.

Hometown: Easton, Pennsylvania 

Education: B.A. in economics, Columbia University

Notable work/educational experience: This summer, I worked as an SEO Law Fellow in the summer associate program at Kirkland & Ellis’ Washington, D.C., office. Before that experience, I worked as a legal analyst at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., supporting the merchant banking and asset management division for two years. In 2020, I graduated from Columbia University as a Multicultural Affairs Graduation Cord Award recipient and a John W. Kluge Scholar with a major in economics and a special concentration in business management.

Why study law? As a member of several minority identity groups in the U.S., I have always felt it necessary for me to understand the law of the land and how the country works. Studying law has always seemed like the best way to know my own rights and to be able to advocate for myself and others. Although my legal career has just begun, I am more sure than ever that my belief is true.

What would you like to do with your law degree? In the short term, I would like to work as a transactional attorney in Big Law in Washington, D.C. I am excited about what else the future will hold for me, but I know that the possibilities are endless with a law degree.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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