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Graduation

Anyone who has taken a bar examination knows it is really the final exam of law school, and the most difficult of them all.

For some exam-takers, even preparing for it can be a challenge. That is why Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law has created the Finish Line Fund to help graduates, based on need, defray the cost of a bar review course (some cost almost $4,000) or the lost income from reduced work hours to study.

HOW THE FUND CAME ABOUT

“Last spring, even before officially beginning the deanship, I became aware that several of our graduates were struggling to afford a commercial bar preparation course,” says Judith Daar, the Ambassador Patricia L. Herbold Dean of Chase College of law.

“For better or worse, today’s law school graduate must enroll in a post-graduate review course in order to be fully prepared to sit for a bar exam. These courses are both necessary and expensive. This revelation led me to understand that many of our students have significant financial barriers that impact their ability devote themselves fully to bar preparation. When I began in my role on July 1, one of my first activities was to establish the Finish Line Fund.”

WHAT THE FUND DOES

“The Finish Line Fund provides stipends to Chase graduates to purchase commercial bar review materials, as well as defray living and childcare expenses for the ten-week period between commencement and the bar exam,” Dean Daar says.

WHAT IT MEANS TO GRADUATES

“The Finish Line Fund award has meant less financial stress and more security at a time when I’ve never been more stressed or insecure,” says Tameisha Barner, an August 2019 graduate. “I’ve had a lot occur the past year or so that has had me wonder if the bar exam was even an attainable goal for me right now, and this award has helped me put all those fears aside. The bar prep course was my next hurdle after saving for the bar exam application, and I knew it would be difficult to stay afloat while I prep full-time. The stipend and course have really been a lifesaver for me at this already stressful time.”  

HOW IT IS FUNDED

“To date, in addition to our alums, many of our faculty and staff have contributed to the fund, making this a communitywide effort,” Dean Daar says.

Years after graduating from Chase in 1976, Timothy Timmel, a retired senior vice president of Cincinnati Insurance Company who donated to the fund, remembers the value of a bar review course: “Without it, it’s just not a level playing field. I can’t imagine having to risk taking the bar exam without it – after three or four years of law school – because of finances. The Finish Line Fund offers the perfect opportunity to say thanks to the Chase community by providing scholarships that will have a significant and immediate impact on deserving graduates.” 

Donations to the Finish Line Fund can be made online at https://supportnku.nku.edu/CHS.