The Washington Bar Association, Inc. and the Washington Bar Association Educational Foundation, Inc. have named Howard University School of Law 3L law student Makala McNeil its 2021 Dr. J. Clay Smith, Jr. Equal Justice Award and Scholarship winner.
McNeil, a first-generation law student and Mississippi native, graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi with double bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Integrated Marketing Communications and a minor in Business Administration. In her last year attending the university, she was named a Hall of Fame recipient, which is the highest honor afforded to a graduating senior. Before attending law school, she worked as a legislative aid for the Mississippi State Senate that supported senators, staff attorneys, and constituents on state and local legislative matters. At Howard law, she served as a member of the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Moot Court Team, a student attorney at the Fair Housing Clinic, student assistant for the Clinical Law Center, teaching assistant for a first-year Contracts course, and social action chair for the Student Bar Association. Also, she had the privilege of being an oral advocate for the 2020 National All-Star Bracket Challenge competition and the 2021 American Association for Justice’s Student Trial Advocacy Competition. McNeil is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. During her final year at Howard law, she will serve as president of the Huver I. Brown Trial Advocacy Moot Court Team.
The Dr. J. Clay Smith, Jr. Equal Justice Award and Scholarship were created in honor of the 28th president of the Washington Bar Association, Inc., having served from 1978-1980. The award is presented to a deserving student enrolled at Howard law who demonstrates superior intellectual prowess, impeccable integrity and considerable powers of persuasion in advancing causes in keeping with the goals and objectives of the Washington Bar Association's motto - "Equal Justice Under Law."