For Zachary Scott, 2L at the S.J. Quinney College of Law, the highlight of his law school experience has been his class – the class of 2022.
“Even though half our law school experience has been remote, the relationships that I’ve built with my peers will last forever,” said Scott.
Scott has also enjoyed the relationships he has developed with his professors.
“Before COVID-19, I would regularly stop by my professor’s offices to just say hello or get their insight about what may be going on that day. It was great. Everyone is bright and has different ideas. That’s what makes law school so rewarding for me. You really get to see how other people see the world,” he said.
As a first-generation African American college graduate who grew up in a single-parent household, there were few expectations placed upon Scott to succeed. Yet, despite this, Scott has attended college with both academic and athletic scholarships, graduated early with two bachelor’s degrees, received a master’s degree, and is now pursuing a legal education at the S.J. Quinney College of Law.
Despite these impressive accomplishments, Scott recounts that he did not learn to apply himself effectively until the end of his undergraduate studies.
The change, he said, was a result of having a few of the right people in his corner at the right time. These people eventually helped Scott decide to attend law school and specifically, the S.J. Quinney College of Law.
“Knowing that I could receive a top tier education with the comfort of being around people I love. It was a no brainer,” remarked Scott.
And even though Scott finds most of his time occupied with his studies, he is actively involved outside the classroom as well.
For example, Scott has held leadership positions in the Minority Law Caucus, First-Generation Student Organization, and the Social Justice Student Initiative. Through these student organizations, Scott has been able to support and advocate for his diverse colleagues, an experience he describes as empowering.
Beyond Scott’s activities with student organizations, he also dedicates his extra time to promoting diversity in the law school and in the graduate schools.
“Diverse representation of all races, genders, and ethnicities promotes a more effective and impactful atmosphere. Because I believe in this, I advocate for Utah’s ethnic communities,” Scott said.
Scott serves on the University of Utah’s Graduate School Diversity Council, a group seeking to improve the graduate school experience for diverse individuals. Scott is also a member of the Utah Center of Legal Inclusions’ Progress Tracking Committee which dedicates itself to advancing the goals of equity and inclusion in Utah’s legal profession.
Scott’s main purpose in participating in these groups is to improve the education experience for others.
“There are a lot of barriers for diverse students. I have felt the direct benefit of Utah’s minority centric organizations and I want to pay it forward. I feel that in Utah, and especially in Salt Lake, I can have an impact and help remove those barriers for others,” he said.
Scott also volunteers his time at the University’s “Famtorship” program. The program pairs diverse undergraduate students with recent graduates and graduate students. Through the program, Scott has been able to mentor both first-generation and minority students who aspire to attend graduate school.
Scott’s impressive work resulted in a scholarship award from the Utah Minority Bar Association. He was recognized at a virtual banquet in November, along with U students Ana Amitay Flores, Kari James and Sarah Martinez.
Reflecting on his scholarship award, Scott encouraged other diverse students to attend the S.J. Quinney College of Law.
“Law school is a smart move. Law school makes you think in different ways that you can’t learn in any other program. If there are any diverse individuals seeking to apply to law school or even graduate school, please call me because I’d love to help and get you squared away.”
Editor’s note: Zachary Scott was recently awarded a scholarship from the Utah Minority Bar Association (UMBA). The UMBA awards scholarships based on the applicant’s academic achievement, record of service to racial and ethnic communities, and potential to positively impact and represent Utah’s racial and ethnic communities in their future legal career. This year, four students from the S.J. Quinney College of Law were awarded scholarships from UMBA. This is the second profile in a series.