First-year student Matthew Ceriale awarded inaugural diversity scholarship from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick

Matthew Ceriale, third from left, is a first-year student at Stetson law school.

Matthew Ceriale, third from left, is a first-year student at Stetson law school.

First-year law student Matthew Ceriale has been awarded the inaugural Shumaker Diversity Scholarship from the Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick LLP law firm. Ceriale will join Shumaker’s Tampa office as a summer associate.

The Shumaker Diversity Scholarship is available to students who are members of minority groups. Applicants must have outstanding undergraduate and law school academic credentials, exhibit leadership abilities and community involvement and demonstrate a commitment to practice law after graduation in the geographic area of Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick’s offices. The law firm has offices located in Sarasota and Tampa, Florida, Toledo and Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ceriale said he was motivated to come to law school because it opened up pathways to solving peoples’ problems.

“I knew to be able to honestly help other people I had to start with myself. I knew that I couldn’t help anyone if I didn’t have the skills, knowledge, or experiences,” said Ceriale. “For that reason, law school was my frying pan, my plunge.”

“Law school seems to put everything else on hold while we go through our coursework, but every now and again I’ll run into someone or get a phone call and be reminded that there are still people counting on me, still people who are in need of help – it’s part of what keeps me driven,” said Ceriale. “Every day is a test or new challenge and I love it.”

“This scholarship is one example of how Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick seeks candidates who demonstrate personal and professional excellence and who bring diverse life experiences to our team,” said real estate attorney C. Graham Carothers, Jr., a partner and the Shumaker Diversity and Inclusion Committee co-chair. “We are very excited about this new program and are confident that it will result in an even stronger, better and more effective team of professionals at Shumaker.”

“Diversity is extremely important to Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and to our clients,” said Shumaker Diversity and Inclusion Committee co-chair Sharon M. Fulop, a partner and real estate attorney at the full-service firm. “Keeping with our commitment to this initiative, we wanted to take the next logical step in recruiting underrepresented law students. With this scholarship, we provide funds to help offset the cost of law school as well as a position in our firm’s summer associate class. It’s a win-win opportunity for everyone.”

Shumaker’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee is made up of partners, associates and administrative personnel that are dedicated to establishing and implementing a variety of diversity and inclusion measures.