Nov. 13, 2017 - Law school can represent a substantial financial investment. But Marianne Xu, a second-year student at the University of Houston Law Center, found her financial burdens much lighter after receiving a scholarship from the Spouses of Houston Barristers.
The organization was founded in 1957 as part of the National Association of the Bench and Bar Spouses, an arm of the National Bar Association, and has become an established part of the Houston legal community during the past 60 years.
"For over half a century, SHB has been an organization of civic minded women, dedicated to supporting the Houston-area legal community and promoting a more diverse and inclusive legal profession," the organization states in describing itself on its website. "The expressed purpose of this organization was to promote a closer union and more intimate relationship among the wives of the Houston lawyers and to enhance the image of the legal profession through civic, cultural and social services.
"Over the years this organization has been successful in carrying out those purposes. Significant gains have been made in enhancing the legal profession through the efforts of this organization."
Xu said receiving the scholarship for her 2L year has provided motivation to continue working hard as a law student.
"I entered 2L year with more confidence, clarity, direction – more courage, really," she said. "The scholarship was the encouragement I needed to keep going. I'm now more motivated to succeed, to not only support myself and my family but also to pay it forward. I'd really like to take advantage of all the opportunities in the legal profession to improve my local community and make a contribution."
Xu graduated from Wellesley College near Boston, with a major in French in 2011. She taught French and Mandarin before pursuing a Masters of Education degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013. She then worked in capital campaign fundraising for a Boston charter school and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. This past summer, she served as a judicial intern in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.
"I've always wanted to attend law school and be a lawyer but had to take several detours to find a way to support myself financially and pay for law school," Xu said. "The Law Center was my No. 1 choice with lower tuition rates than a lot of the other schools I was looking at. And it was located in Houston, which is one of the top legal markets in the country."
In the summer of 2018, Xu will work as a summer associate at Latham & Watkins LLP's Houston office, where she hopes to further develop her skills in transactional law. But for now she is enjoying her time at the Law Center, despite what has been a hectic year so far.
"2L year is extremely busy but definitely not boring," Xu said. "Classes are still intellectually stimulating, and I continue to be impressed by the caliber of the law school's faculty and administration. I'm very grateful for SHB, whose members genuinely care about supporting the next generation of lawyers. I hope I can do the same for others one day."