In November 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, a voter initiative that ended affirmative action programs in California state-sponsored higher education. The effect of Prop. 209 was devastating in its reduction of the number of students of color attending the UC Berkeley School of Law, which had previously been considered one of the most diverse law schools in the nation.
Established in 1997, the Phoenix Fellowship was created in response to Prop 209. It was designed first, to encourage students of color to choose Berkeley Law, and second, to support public interest work among these students.
In 2020, BLF renamed the fellowship as the Allen E. Broussard Phoenix Fellowship in memory of the Honorable Justice Allen E. Broussard, with generous support from the Broussard Scholarship Foundation. Justice Broussard enrolled at Berkeley Law as one of three African Americans in his class and graduated in 1953. In 1981, Justice Broussard was appointed to the California Supreme Court, becoming the second African American to sit on the court and serving until 1991.
Each entering fellow will be awarded a grant intended to assist with the fellow’s tuition and/or living expenses during his/her first year of law school at Berkeley Law. BLF will distribute the grant in installments during the course of the fellow’s first year in law school, providing half of the grant for the year at the beginning of the first semester and the remainder at the beginning of the second semester.
information on current and past Phoenix Fellows.