Awarded by Ropes & Gray, the scholarship recognizes exceptional students from diverse backgrounds and offers hands-on experience as a summer associate.
William Perez (’20) has received a Roscoe Trimmier Jr. Diversity Scholarship from Ropes & Gray. He will be given a financial award to assist with his tuition and will take part in the firm’s summer associate program, working on transactional law matters including private equity law and mergers and acquisitions.
Roscoe Trimmier Jr. was the firm’s first African American partner and advocated for more diversity within the organization. According to Ropes & Gray, “the scholarship was established in 2015 to commemorate Mr. Trimmier’s legacy and advance diversity at the firm by attracting exceptional talent from backgrounds that are historically underrepresented in the legal profession.” Awarded to five second-year students each year, selection for the 2019 Roscoe Trimmier Jr. Diversity Scholarship is based on “leadership skills, commitment to excellence, and high levels of achievement” among diverse law students.
Perez, a Los Angeles native whose mother is from Hong Kong and father is from Puerto Rico, knew since the third grade that he wanted to become a lawyer. After studying history and political science at Washington University in St. Louis, he came to the east coast to fulfill his childhood goal and start a legal career in Boston.
“I wanted to come to a place I’d never lived before and see what the community was like,” Perez says. “I liked it enough that I decided to accept a fellowship here.”
Perez says he hopes to be a corporate attorney, responsible for the “big deals that you see in the Wall Street Journal.” He credits the BU Law Career Development & Public Service Office for directing him toward scholarships to help him achieve that goal—eventually leading him to the Roscoe Trimmier Jr. Scholarship. His summer at the firm will give him plenty of hands-on experience, getting him one step closer to becoming the corporate lawyer he set out to be.
According to Perez, he will also participate in programming specifically for scholarship recipients, and the firm has already invited him to events where past and current Roscoe Trimmier Jr. scholars can meet and “make a little community within the larger office.”
Perez takes the guidance and mentorship already offered to him by both BU Law and Ropes & Gray and pays it forward to his fellow students. As a second-year student, he recognizes that the first year of law school is often the most challenging, so he has taken it upon himself to lend extra support to current 1Ls. He helps his peers with anything from introductions to people he has met through student groups like the Latin American Law Student Association and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association to simply talking with someone when they are having a hard time.
“I think it’s really important to have a connection with people and help them through what’s probably going to be the hardest year of law school,” Perez says.
He also wants to give back to the Boston community. After a class trip to housing court to observe the interactions between landlords and residents facing eviction, he knew that he could help people out of those situations.
“Watching people who are very low income defend themselves without any knowledge of the legal system was really hard,” Perez says. “I just want to be able to give back and help those people who haven’t had the opportunity to understand what the system is like.”
Perez looks forward to having that chance by way of the scholarship. He hopes that his summer work with Ropes & Gray will give him the experience needed to practice corporate law with a firm so that he has access to resources for pro bono work.
“I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” Perez says. “It’s such an amazing thing to see a push toward [greater diversity], although there is still so much that can be done.”
Reported by Shea Robinson (COM’21)
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