FAQ’s: Diversity Scholarship for Law Students

Banner & Witcoff is proud to offer the Donald W. Banner Diversity Scholarship for law students. This scholarship is part of Banner & Witcoff’s commitment to fostering the development of intellectual property lawyers from diverse backgrounds.

Who is Donald W. Banner?

Donald W. Banner, a former U.S. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks was a leader in the field of patent law and a named partner in the law firm Banner & Witcoff, Ltd. He was Chair of the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law, President of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, a founding member of the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel, President of the International Patent and Trademark Association, Co-founder and President of the Intellectual Property Owners Association, and Director of the John Marshall Law School Center for Intellectual Property Law. He was also a United States delegate to numerous international diplomatic conferences.

Because of his many accomplishments and the respect he garnered in the field of intellectual property, Mr. Banner was appointed to be U.S. Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks by both Presidents Nixon and Carter, the only person to be so appointed by presidents of both political parties. He served in that office only during the Carter Administration. Mr. Banner died in January 2006.

I would like to apply for the Donald W. Banner Diversity Scholarship; do I need to be a member of a minority group?

We encourage all interested students to apply. However, priority will be given to those students who are members of a historically underrepresented minority group in IP law.

The scholarship does not explicitly state the year the student needs to be to be considered for the scholarship, but transcripts from undergraduate, graduate and law school are required. Are first year law students encouraged to apply?

We encourage first year law students to apply. If selected, the first year law student will receive the financial award for the Fall semester of his or her second year.

I am a third year law student, can I apply for the scholarship?

The scholarship is intended for 1Ls and 2Ls and the financial award is payable for the Fall semester of their second or third year of law school.

How many scholarships will be awarded?

A minimum of one scholarship will be awarded each calendar year.

Is the scholarship available for full and part-time students?

Part-time law students are eligible to apply for the scholarship award.

Part-time students can be in school for four years. If they are eligible, would this extend to the 4th year, too?

In this scenario, if selected, a part-time law student will receive the financial award payable for the Fall semester of their fourth year.

Does this scholarship entitle me to an offer for a Summer Associate position at one of Banner & Witcoff’s offices?

No. Students who receive a scholarship award may also apply for a Summer Associate position. Students who receive a scholarship and complete a Summer Associate position at Banner & Witcoff may be eligible for an additional award.

Is the scholarship renewable?

The scholarship award is not renewable. Applications must be submitted for evaluation each year.

Are the references supposed to be written?

Please include the names and contact information for three references with your application materials. Letters of reference are not required; however, they are accepted and considered if you would like to include them in addition to the required materials.

Where should I send my application materials?

Please send all materials to the following address:

Donald W. Banner Diversity Scholarship

c/o Christopher Hummel

Banner & Witcoff, Ltd.

1100 13th Street, NW

Suite 1200

Washington, DC 20005

Does the application have to be received by the date due or post-marked by that date?

Application materials must be post-marked by the date indicated.

I am enrolled in an LLM Program for IP. Am I eligible for the scholarship?

No, only students enrolled in a JD program are eligible.