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Friday, Jan 28, 2022

Race for a legacy: Third annual Lauren Giddings 5K to fund Mercer Law students' bar exam fees

Archived photo by Emily Rose Thorne, 2018
Archived photo by Emily Rose Thorne, 2018

 Mercer Law School’s Association of Women Law Students is set to host the third annual Lauren Giddings 5K to raise funds for the Lauren Giddings Scholarship.

The race and scholarship are named after a former Mercer law student, Lauren Giddings, who was murdered in 2011. Giddings had recently graduated law school and was studying for the bar exam. Her neighbor and classmate, Stephen Mark McDaniel, was charged with her murder and subsequently plead guilty. The funds raised by the event will go towards covering several AWLS members' bar exam expenses. 

“Lauren Giddings was a runner, and her family and the school really wanted to have an event that was in remembrance of her. She would have wanted Mercer students to have help with bar preparations,” Emily Newberry, the AWLS Fall Philanthropy Co-chair, wrote in an email. 

The bar exam is one of the final hurdles for law students, and passing it grants a license to practice law in their given state. 

“This scholarship is very important because it covers the cost of Bar Exam preparations, which are well over $1,000,” Newberry said. 

Aside from finances, the race and scholarship both contribute to  the legacy of Giddings.

Grace Hamilton, a pre-law student, said that keeping Giddings’ legacy alive is an important part of combating the type of misogynistic violence that led to her death.

Hamilton also said that receiving financial aid for bar exam expenses would make pursuing a legal degree more feasible and accessible. 

“What she wanted to do was to advocate for people, and she would want to empower other women,” Hamilton said. 

In previous years, AWLS has raised around $8,000, which comes from a combination of race registration expenses and donations, Newberry said. The group has welcomed around 130 people in previous years and is working with various other campus organizations to put on this year’s race, including Bear Care, the Federalist Society, the Second Amendment Society and the Black Law Students Association. 

The race will be held on Nov. 7 at 8:30 a.m. at Central City Park. The cost of registration is $40, which goes towards the scholarship funds. 


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