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Paul Slater is more than a number to the Finish Line Fund of Salmon P. Chase College of Law. He is a lawyer because of it.

Mr. Slater, who graduated this past May, is one of 160 Chase graduates the past five years who have received financial assistance from the fund to help them over the finish line of passing a bar exam after law school.

“The Finish Line Fund completely paid for my bar prep software. I was concerned about how I would afford this extra expense before I could work in the field, but the scholarship made it possible,” says Mr. Slater, who is now a trial lawyer in the Hamilton County (Ohio) Public Defender Office. “Graduating from law school is necessarily a time of upheaval ‒ we are bar prepping, job hunting and transitioning out of student life ‒ and this scholarship helped make one aspect of it easier. It meant everything to have my school sponsor my bar prep software,” he says.

The finish for him: “I am employed at my dream job with the Hamilton County Public Defender, public defending in my hometown.”

The fund, backed by donations from alumni and friends of the college, was created in 2019 to help new graduates overcome some of the hidden obstacles to passing a bar exam. Among them: paying for a commercial bar exam preparation course, losing income to uncompensated time off from a job to study and being distracted from studying by family responsibilities. Over the years, the Finish Line Fund has stepped in in such ways as providing commercial bar review courses or reducing their costs, offsetting lost income and providing childcare for quiet study time.

“The Finish Line Fund was established in August 2019. Since its inception, the Fund has made awards to 160 Chase students for a total of nearly $160,000 in grants and bar review courses,” says Dean Judith Daar, who initiated the fund shortly after her arrival as dean.

The statistical reality had been that some students, no matter how well they had performed in classes and had participated in bar orientation programs at Chase, were faltering on bar exams because financial and other circumstances were preventing them from enrolling in commercial preparation courses or from being able to concentrate on synthesizing into bar exam answers everything they had learned the preceding three or four years.

Donations to the Finish Line Fund can be made online from the dropdown menu at