About the Award
In December 2002, the Durham County Bar Association created a scholarship fund to honor two attorneys who were retiring from public office. This effort then developed into a way to honor the service and history of recently departed members of the Durham Bar. In 2003, the non-profit organization, the Durham Bar Foundation, Inc., was formally established to raise funds each year, to award and administer the scholarship program and to fund other charitable endeavors. In 2006, the scholarship was permanently named in memory of Richard Adam Ewers Lischer, who died on July 17, 2005 at age 33, after a brief struggle with cancer.
Adam Lischer was a member of the Fourteenth (now Sixteenth) Judicial District Bar. He was a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Washington College of Law at American University. The scholarship honors his career as a public service lawyer: following graduation he served as a judicial clerk to the honorable Linda M. McGee on the North Carolina Court of Appeals; he was awarded the Clifton W. Everett Community Lawyer Fellowship, which he discharged with Easter Carolina legal Services; for four years he served as Assistant District Attorney for Nash, Edgecombe, and Wilson Counties; as a Durham attorney he received cases from the Office of the Capital Defender.
The purpose of the scholarship fund is to provide assistance to residents and/or natives of Durham County who are attending law school, who can demonstrate a significant connection to the Durham community. Since its inception the scholarship program has enjoyed strong support from the Bar as a way of both recognizing and supporting such students. To date 22 scholarships have been awarded.
Tax-deductible donations can be made by check payable to Durham Bar Foundation, Inc, PO Box 593, Durham, NC 27702.
The Foundation’s scholarships are awarded based on three criteria: connection to Durham County, financial need, and professional or academic achievement. The award amount for 2018 is either $1000 or $1500 depending on the number of candidates who apply.
Elizabeth Tobierre is a 2014 graduate of Duke University, with distinction, majoring in History, and was a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholar. She is a 2019 graduate of Duke University School of Law, where she was a William Louis Dreyfus Scholar. She was notes editor of the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law and Staff editor of the Duke Law and Technology Review. Locally, she has interned with the Children’s Law Clinic and Civil Justice Clinic and externed with the Durham Expunction and Restoration Program. As a student she initiated and coordinated the Duke-Durham Student Internship Program with a number of city departments. She has been a mentor and tutor for five different local groups focusing on teaching children science, math, STEM careers, self-confidence and communication skills. Most recently she has been a consistent tutor at the John Avery Boys and Girls Club.
In addition to two summer legal internships, her professional experience includes two years with Teach for American in Memphis, Tennessee. Throughout her years at Duke she has been a vocal, outspoken leader of councils, task forces, and student government groups advocating for stronger relations with the Durham community. She is recommended to us by former Adam Lischer Memorial Scholarships Award recipient Laura Holland, from the NC Justice Center, and Jesse Hamilton McCoy, Supervising attorney for the Duke Law Civil Justice Clinic. While Elizabeth is out of the country today, we are pleased to share her accomplishments with you.
Joseph Garcia is a 2015 graduate of East Carolina University, where he was President of the Student Association of Latino Spanish Affairs and received the Civic Engagement Award. He is a 2019 graduate of the North Carolina Central University School of Law, where he earned the role of Dean’s Ambassador, won several Trial advocacy awards, and was on Dean’s List for the last five semesters.
He served as an intern in the Durham County Public Defender’s office for seven months last year, during which time he participated in representation of clients, VITA Tax prep clinics, taught Mock Trial to middle school students at Githens and Lowe’s Grove, mentored 1 and 2L students, and through all of this work, patiently translated Spanish to those of us less fortunate to be fluent. He has demonstrated a commitment to improving the legal environment in Durham for Latino-Americans across the justice system and has chosen Bankruptcy and Tax law as his preferred career area in order to better support this same community. JJ is here today, and we are pleased to recognize him with the Adam Lischer Memorial Scholarship Award.
Chantal Cherry-Lassiter earned her undergraduate degree from Elizabeth City State University in 1999. Before entering law school, she also earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Strayer University. She began pursuit of her law degree at Florida Coastal School of Law and transferred to North Carolina Central University after her first year, graduating last month. She was the 2L and 3L Outstanding Pro Bono Student of the Year Awards and obtained Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Certification in 2018. She also revived the school’s Civil Rights and Constitutional Law Society. She has been so active in the Civil Litigation and Juvenile Law clinics as to total over 700 hours during her academic career. For this and other work she was awarded the H. M. Michaux Award for Public Service, which recognizes the student who is distinguished by outstanding contributions to the Durham community while enrolled in the NCCU School of Law.
Her community service record is also quite outstanding, demonstrating a depth and length of involvement that is far beyond that of many law school students. She is currently a Guardian ad Litem and as the leader of the Teens in Transition program at the Durham Detention Center. She is also actively involved with organizations including Restorative Justice Durham and Organizing Against Racism-Durham. Her work experience includes paid and unpaid internships at both district and federal Public Defender’s Offices and over a year interning with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
She was recommended to the Scholarship Committee by Deria Hayes, Interim Pro Bono Director and Adjunct Professor at NC Central University School of Law, and Laura Holland, Staff Attorney with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the 2016 recipient of the Adam Lischer Memorial Scholarship Award.
Shiekel Hendricks earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from NC Central University, cum laude, in 2013. At that time, she also picked up academic achievement awards, a community service award, and was invited to membership in Alpha Phi Sigma, the Criminal Justice Honor Society. She graduated from the North Carolina Central University School of Law in May of this year. Professor Lisa Kamarchik states that her academic work product “was superior for its organization, relevant treatment of law, conciseness, preciseness, and predictive tone.” At the same time, she has excelled out of the classroom. Throughout her academic career, she has worked at least 20-hours a week to support herself while attending school full time and volunteering for more than 200 pro bono hours during law school. Her community service record is stellar. She has volunteered with children through Lawyers 4 Literacy, the VITA tax preparation program, and an unpaid internship with the Public Defender’s office in 2015. This past year she volunteered concurrently with the Juvenile Law Clinic and the Criminal Defense Clinic. Most students do not work both clinics in the same semester; her recommendation from Page Potter suggests that this “speaks to Shiekel’s work ethic and commitment to public service.”
Laura Holland earned her undergraduate degree in Public Policy from Duke University in 2009. She was #2 in her law school class, graduating Summa Cum Laude from North Carolina Central University School of Law in May of this year. She was an officer or leader in a number of service and honorary societies and was Notes and Comments Editor of the NCCU Law Review. She was a Legal Writing scholar, received the Property Book Award, and was on the Dean’s List five out of six semesters. She is a member of two honor societies, Phi Alpha Theta, History Honors Society and Phi Delta Phi International Honors Society. She is also an active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, which conducts frequent community sevice events here in Durham. Her legal industry community service is equally stellar. She volunteered with Legal Aid, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice and the Durham Senior Center. Quite a bit of this time was focused on combating collateral consequences of a criminal record. She has also worked for the legal department at GlaxoSmithKline.
Tenika Neely graduated from North Carolina Central University summa cum laude in 2014 with degrees in Political Science and Psychology and an impressive GPA of 3.9. She is currently enrolled at Wake Forest University School of Law, where she maintains a strong GPA and has been elected to several leadership positions. In addition, she is a 1L trial bar and Walker Moot Court competitor. This summer, she will intern with The Southern Coalition for Social Justice. The Coalition, located here in Durham, employs eight attorneys who focus their efforts on voting rights, criminal justice, environmental justice, and human rights. Ms. Neely joins Ian Mance, the 2013 recipient of the Adam Lischer Memorial Scholarship Award, who is a staff attorney at the Coalition.
While she is not a Durham native, the degree to which Ms. Neely is connected to our community is considerable. While playing varsity women’s basketball for NCCU she began volunteering in the community, but she extended her volunteer efforts far past those designed for the sports team. She has served at the Durham Rescue Mission, John Avery Boys’ and Girls’ Club and Genesis Home. She founded a documentary series called, “You’re One Choice Away,” which shed light on homelessness in Durham. Seeing another area of need, she also served as President of EMERGE, an organization dedicated to spreading domestic violence awareness and support to the North Carolina Central University campus and Durham community at large. She intends to stay in the community and practice criminal defense law.
She comes to us recommended by Kendra J. Eaton, Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach, North Carolina Central, and Abigail Perdue, Associate Professor of Legal Analysis, Writing and Research at Wake Forest University School of Law.
Jasmina Nogo graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009, with degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing with Honors. She currently attends North Carolina Central University School of Law, from which she will graduate in 2015, and at which she is presently in the top 5% of her class. She has received a number of academic awards as well as earning Dean’s List honors every semester. She is also a staff editor on the school’s Law Review. Concurrent with her education, she contributes 7-10 hours per week in pro-bono service. She has worked for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, Advocates for Children’s Services, and the Latino Community Credit Union, and has served as a Guardian ad Litem. These are just a few of the local agencies with which she has already forged work and volunteer relationships. She will intern this summer with the Legal Aid office in Durham. Ms. Nogo’s personal story is just as compelling as her academic record. Her family moved to Durham in 1994 from Sarajevo, Bosnia, as civil war refugees. She considers Durham home, and is most interested in the intersection of education law and immigration law.
Nana Asante was born on July 27, 1990 in Accra, Ghana and lived there until immigrating to Madison, Wisconsin in 1997. She graduated from Duke University in 2012. At Duke, she was the Undergraduate Student Leader of the Year for 2012 and was voted one of the Top Ten Most Powerful Students at Duke University as published in Dmix Magazine. She has served in a variety of leadership roles and has been consistently employed since fall 2012 with the Durham Crisis Response Center, where she is currently a Sexual Assault Advocate. She has just completed her first year at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Law. While in school, she has accumulated over 35 hours of pro bono service and is also an ongoing volunteer for the Butner Re-Entry Legal Assistance Project. In addition to a number of honoraria and leadership roles, she was a quarter finalist for her school’s Kilpatrick Townsend 1L Mock Trial Competition and was selected to become a member of UNC’s Broun National Trial team. This summer Asante will clerk for the Honorable Lori J. Christian and the Honorable Carl R. Fox.
Asher Spiller is the 2013 recipient of the Durham Bar Foundation’s Adam Lischer Memorial Scholarship Award. Mr. Spiller was born in Durham in 1983. He graduated from Durham School of the Arts. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Haverford College in 2006, graduating with Honors in Philosophy. He earned his law degree from the UNC School of Law in Chapel Hill in 2013, with a class rank of 8th, and a GPA of 3.877.
He has been involved with the NC Museum of Life & Science, Habitat for Humanity, and Eno River Park. He has also completed 45 hours of pro bono work while in law school and served as Executive Articles Editor for the North Carolina Law Review, for which he also authored an article that was selected for publication. He will clerk for Judge James A. Wynn of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2014, before which he will work with Womble Carlyle in RTP.
Ian Andrew Mance has been called a “strong investment in the community.” Mr. Mance earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Appalachian State University in May of 2003, holding a GPA of 3.36. He continued there, earning a Master of Arts in Political Science/Justice Studies in May 2005 with the highest GPA in the program, 3.975. He is currently enrolled in the University of North Carolina School of Law, where his GPA is 3.607, and where he is currently Articles Editor for The North Carolina Law Review. His roots in Durham go back to Bartlett S. Durham, for whom our city was named, and he lives in the downtown “Golden Belt” district. His work experience includes a full-time summer internship with local firm Brock, Payne & Meece, P.A. as well as four years with the American Civil Liberties Union. This summer he will work for the UNC Center for Civil Rights, after which, during his third year of law school, he will work in UNC Law’s Civil Legal Assistance Clinic. He plans to remain in Durham after law school.
Jessalee Landfried is the 2011 recipient of the Durham Bar Foundation’s Adam Lischer Memorial Scholarship. Ms. Landfried is a Durham native, and attended Durham School of the Arts. She graduated from Wesleyan University in CT in 2007, Phi Beta Kappa, and has completed her first year at Duke University School of Law, carrying a 3.17. She is concurrently enrolled in the Nicholas School of the Environment, where her GPA is 3.79. She has lived in Durham since 1989 and was recommended to us by Duke Law School Asst. Dean Kimberly Ann Bart as well as Judith Kincaid, Executive Director of Clean Energy Durham, where Ms. Landfried has worked and volunteered.
Raina Haque has completed her first year at UNC School of Law, carrying a 3.65. She graduated from Wellesley in 2007. She worked for Merrill Lynch for two years before law school, participates in pro bono clinics — 90 hours last year (low income wills, powers of attorney, etc.), and will work for BlueCross BlueShield of NC this summer. She will also serve on the Pro Bono Board at UNC, where she will act as a liaison between UNC Law Students and Attorneys who need assistance with their pro bono projects. She has lived in Durham for 25 years and was recommended to us by UNC Law Professors Maxine Eichner and Ruth Ann McKinney.
Johanna Jennings has completed her second year at Duke Law School, has a GPA of 3.44, and graduated from Rice, Phi Beta Kappa, in 2007. She volunteers with a youth home here in Durham and is involved with the Children’s Law Clinic. She has volunteered with the ACLU Cap. Punishment Project and the Texas Innocence Project. She has lived in Durham for 13 years and was recommended to the Bar by Duke Law Professors Stella Boswell and Jane Wettach.
Catherine Lee McClean is a Durham native and a 2006 graduate, with Distinction, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated this month from the Wake Forest University School of Law, where she maintained an 86 average and was recommended to us by Professor Charles Rose. Her volunteer commitment has been demonstrated through her work with the homeless shelter and through tutoring and mentoring at Eastway Elementary school.
Carolyn Wade Willer was born in Durham. She graduated from Wake Forest University, Magna Cum Laude, in 2006, and is in her second year at Duke University School of Law, where she has earned a 3.53 average, and comes to us with a recommendation from Professor and Former Dean Kate Bartlett. Her commitment to the community is evident in her work as a Guardian Ad-Litem volunteer, and a Durham County Teen Court Advisor and Mentor.
2008 Ryan Connolly
2007 LiBria Stephens, Amily K. McCool
2006 William Wickward, Amanda J. Reeder
2005 I Isaac A. Linnartz, Ann M. McEntire
2004 Suzanne Begnoche, Eugene Soar, Susan Easley
Where are they now?
2004: Suzanne Begnoche served as a staff attorney at Legal Aid-Durham and then opened her own practice serving Durham and Orange counties.
2007: LiBria Stephens opened her law office in Durham and continues to practice here.
2007: Amily McCool, MSW, JD, is the Legal and Policy Director for the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at NC State University in 2000 followed by an MSW and JD at UNC-CH in 2003 and 2008 respectively. She brings over 17 years of experience working in the domestic violence field as both a social worker and a lawyer and has worked with both survivors and offenders at different stages of her career. She has clerked at the NC Court of Appeals, worked as an assistant district attorney in Wake County for four years, focusing on prosecution of domestic violence cases, and served as the part-time DV Staff Attorney for Durham Legal Aid, representing survivors in their domestic violence protective order cases. As the Legal and Policy Director she provides technical assistance on domestic violence legal and policy issues, oversees NCCADV’s direct legal services program, prepares and conducts statewide domestic violence trainings for law enforcement, advocates, prosecutors, court personnel, and allied professionals and advocates at the state and federal levels for strengthened laws to protect domestic violence survivors and their families. In addition, Amily is a certified criminal justice instructor specializing in domestic violence and legal topics.
2008: Ryan Connolly practiced in Durham, with Pulley, Watson, King & Lischer, PA. and Crabtree, Carpenter & Connolly, PLLC, and is currently General Counsel at Netsertive, Inc. located here in Durham.
2010: Johanna Jennings joined the Fair Trial Initiative in Durham as an Osborne Fellow after graduation and is currently with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation.
2010: Raina Haque is a noted speaker about Blockchain Technology and Bitcoin. She is “writing up a guide to blockchain technology for the North Carolina Bar Association. There is a point I am making in the write up that still seems to be escaping the attention of many jurists–the lack of a nuanced definition of ‘blockchain.’ Especially with increased regulatory scrutiny, definitions are going to matter more and more.” Read her article HERE.
2011: Jessalee Landfried is currently an Environmental Attorney at Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. in Washington D.C.
2013: Asher Spiller is currently an Assistant Attorney General with the North Carolina Department of Justice, Environmental Division.
2014: Nana Asante-Smith is a Wake County assistant district attorney and a political action committee coordinator for the People’s Alliance. She has served as President of the Durham Crisis Response Center board of directors and is also the 2018 President of the North Carolina Association of Black Lawyers.
2016: Laura Holland is currently with the Southern Coalition for Social Justice.
More about Adam Lischer
Stations of the Heart is a father’s heartbreaking and hopeful story about his beloved son, in which a young man teaches his family “a new way to die” with wit, candor, and grace. As the book opens, Richard Lischer’s son, Adam, calls to tell his father, a professor of divinity at Duke University, that his cancer has returned. Adam is a charismatic young man with a promising law career, and that his wife is pregnant with their first child makes the disease’s return all the more devastating. Despite the cruel course of the illness, Adam’s growing weakness evokes in him a remarkable spiritual strength. This is the story of one last summer, lived as honestly and faithfully as possible. Deeply moving and utterly lacking in sentimentality or self-pity, Stations of the Heart is an unforgettable book about life and death and the terrible blessing of saying good-bye. (text credit to penguinrandomhouse.com)