KNOXVILLE -- Thanks to a Nashville law firm, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, College of Law will receive a $100,000 endowment to help law students and advance the principles of equality preached by civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.
Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis is expected to announce the Diversity Endowed Scholarship on Jan. 13 during its inaugural luncheon to celebrate King's legacy.
"Waller Lansden is proud to endow a law school scholarship so that the legacy of Dr. King's work for justice can continue," law firm chairman and UT law alumnus, John Tishler, told the Tennessean.
The initial endowment will generate about a third of a full, three-year scholarship. The scholarship is renewable each semester for the three years the recipient attends law school. When the student graduates, the scholarship will be awarded to a new student.
In granting the scholarships, the college will consider ethnic and cultural backgrounds or life experiences, career goals, social or economic disadvantage, disability status, age, race or gender.
UT College of Law Dean Doug Blaze will accept the endowment at the private luncheon for 500 Nashville attorneys, public officials, and business and civic leaders.
The scholarship will be presented in future years at the King luncheon to incoming UT law students. The firm hopes to make the luncheon an annual event to coincide with the observation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and to inspire Tennesseans to make community service a part of their lives.
"UT Law is proud of its strong relationship with the firm, and we are pleased that its commitment will support our goals of remaining accessible and affordable to future generations of lawyers," Blaze said. "We are thrilled to be working together with Waller Lansden to ensure that the law school and legal profession reflect the rich diversity of our state and nation."
The luncheon's theme, "The Legacy: It's Our Turn," was created to direct attention to the need for corporate and personal community service, ideals King embodied through his words and actions.
Waller Lansden, with offices in Nashville and Birmingham, helps businesses and individuals throughout the United States and abroad achieve financial and strategic goals in a wide range of transactional, regulatory and litigation matters and is a trusted adviser to many of the leading companies in the highly regulated healthcare industry. Fifty-four of the firm's partners are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America 2010.