O’Melveny Worldwide

O’Melveny Awards Scholarships to 15 Exceptional New York City High School Students

December 3, 2020


NEW YORK—December 3, 2020—O’Melveny awarded scholarships to 15 students from five New York City public high schools at its 18th Annual New York Scholarship Awards ceremony, held virtually last night.

Every year, O’Melveny’s New York Scholarship Program honors public high school students—this year, three 12th-graders from each borough. An O’Melveny committee selects the winners through applications and interviews conducted in collaboration with the Fund for Public Schools, the NYC DOE’s nonprofit partner managing the scholarship program. The awards recognize students who show tremendous promise in the face of significant challenges to realizing their college and career aspirations.

“O’Melveny’s long-standing partnership with The Fund has left an enduring mark on our City’s public schools, helping to pave a path to college and careers for hundreds of students,” said Julie L. Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of the Fund for Public Schools. “Now more than ever, a scholarship award can make a big difference and we’re grateful to O’Melveny for continuing to support our students in this critical transition.”

“Each year, we work with dedicated principals, teachers, and counselors at each of our partner schools to identify and award three students at each school who have demonstrated academic excellence, distinctive leadership, community involvement, and personal growth throughout their high school careers,” said O’Melveny partner Jeff Kohn, who opened the awards ceremony. “That’s an incredible combination of accomplishments for students of such an early age and it’s our honor to recognize their hard work, and encourage them as they move on to college.”

Since 2003, O’Melveny has awarded scholarships to 275 remarkable students in the five boroughs. In addition to monetary aid, the program offers college-readiness workshops and mentoring from O’Melveny employees, who volunteer to support and guide the students through the college-admissions process and beyond.

Peteso Barlee, a 2012 scholarship recipient who fled Monrovia, Liberia, to escape the horrors of a civil war, was the evening’s keynote speaker. A Hunter College graduate, Peteso, who had planned to travel to Indonesia as a Peace Corps volunteer before the pandemic, is now fighting for the needs of New York City’s homeless—for housing, employment, and healthcare—as a case manager at the Jericho Project.

O’Melveny firm chair Bradley J. Butwin closed the ceremony, exhorting the students to “do your best in college, learn as much as you can, and keep focused on the infinite possibilities that await you as graduates.”

O’Melveny’s New York Scholarship Awards are part of the firm’s nationwide scholarship program, which includes the Warren Christopher Scholarship Awards, launched in 1993 to honor the firm’s then-Chairman as he began his service as US Secretary of State under President Clinton. The program was expanded to New York City in 2003, when the firm began a partnership with five public high schools: Benjamin Banneker Academy in Brooklyn, Bronx Leadership Academy, Curtis High School in Staten Island, The High School for Arts & Business in Queens, and Thurgood Marshall Academy in Manhattan.

Additional facts:

  • Worldwide, O’Melveny has contributed or committed more than US$10 million in scholarships for students in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Shanghai, and Beijing.
  • O’Melveny Scholars have graduated from Barnard College, Boston University, Bowdoin College, CUNY, Cornell University, New York University, University of Pennsylvania, and Vassar College, among others.
  • Many O’Melveny Scholars have established rewarding careers in the public and private sectors, including one who became a lawyer at O’Melveny.

About O’Melveny

It’s more than what you do: it’s how you do it. Across sectors and borders, in board rooms and courtrooms, we measure our success by yours. And in our interactions, we commit to making your O’Melveny experience as satisfying as the outcomes we help you achieve. Our greatest accomplishment is ensuring that you never have to choose between premier lawyering and exceptional service. So, tell us. What do you want to achieve? Visit us at www.omm.com or learn more in our firm at-a-glance, year-end highlights, and on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

About the Fund for Public Schools

Since 1982, The Fund has secured unprecedented investment from foundations, businesses, and individuals, raising more than $532 million for the city’s approximately 1,800 schools and 1.1 million students. By partnering directly with the NYC Department of Education, The Fund supports some of the most high-impact programs in 3K-12 education at the largest school district in the country by piloting innovative projects; accelerating promising, outcome-driven initiatives; and responding strategically to emerging needs across New York City public schools. To learn more, visit www.fundforpublicschools.org.


Christopher Rieck
O’Melveny & Myers LLP
+1 212 326 2218