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2023 winner BIOGRAPHIES

Monika Allis, MSW
Virginia A. Pomeroy Scholarship

Monika Allis, MSW is a social worker, community organizer, activist, and social justice educator. Currently pursuing a Juris Doctorate at Marquette Law, Monika's career showcases a diverse array of roles, each marked by her commitment to liberation and justice. At Marquette University, she's been a dedicated research assistant in the area of voting rights, honing her critical thinking and writing skills. Her leadership within the Out & Allies LGBTQI Law Studen6t Group and engagement with pro bono clinics underline her dedication to service and advocacy. Her paper on gender affirming care for trans youth was published on the Wisconsin State Bar website.

Monika’s impact in the realm of social work spans nearly a decade. As a case manager for the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services, she ensured the welfare of vulnerable children and advocated in Children's Court. Currently, Monika works as a social justice/DEI consultant with Allis Consulting, LLC, which she began in 2021. She specializes in LGBTQI education, sex workers’ rights, disability rights, and racial equity.

Karen Pérez-Wilson is an alumna of Madison College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is currently a rising 3L at the University of Wisconsin Law School. This fall, Karen will continue working as a clinical student in the Restorative Justice Project, serving as a neutral facilitator for victim-offender dialogues. Karen also serves as a student ambassador for the law school, La Alianza (formerly known as the Latino Law Student Association) as their secretary, and as a member of the Women’s Law Student Association, First-Generation Lawyers Association, and QLaw.

Karen is currently the legal intern at the Community Immigration Law Center where she helps assist low-income immigrants with their immigration-related issues. In her spare time, Karen enjoys being outdoors, thrifting, and spending time with her partner and senior dog, Chispa.

Karen Pérez-Wilson
Virginia A. Pomeroy Scholarship

Abby Phillips
AWL Foundation Scholarship

Abby Phillips is a third-year law student at Marquette Law School and a former social worker who has focused her career on providing support and advocacy to underserved communities. Abby received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from UW-Madison and her Master’s in Social Work from UW-Milwaukee. After six years as a child welfare social worker in Milwaukee County, Abby decided to pursue her law degree to become a more effective advocate for underrepresented clients.
Since beginning law school, Abby has volunteered in many of Marquette’s legal clinics and has worked multiple internships in the public interest field. Abby spent this past summer working for Human Rights First, an international nonpartisan organization, on its Project: Afghan Legal Assistance team, where she was able to provide legal services to Afghan clients seeking asylum and parole in the United States.

In her free time, Abby enjoys going up north with family and trying new restaurants in Milwaukee with friends.

A Chicagoland native, Ami is a first-generation Indian American law student. Ami has a passion for civil litigation stemming from her participation on the University of Illinois Trial Team and now competes for the University of Wisconsin Mock Trial Team. Ami is active in the Wisconsin International Law Journal, serving as the senior managing editor for the 2023-2024 academic year. Working for Judge Ralph Ramirez in Waukesha County was the experience that kickstarted her drive to give back to other first-generation lawyers. Alongside her hands-on legal experiences, Ami has also been at the grassroots level of understanding law and legal frameworks with her research on medical malpractice legal statues under the supervision of Professor Megan McDermott.

Ami is a facilitator of mentorship opportunities and networking events at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Through her experience of applying and matriculating through law school, she valued the network she created around her and aims to lend a helping hand to the next generation of students. Outside the courtroom and classroom, Ami enjoys spending time with family, local and global travel, and is always on the hunt for the next best ice cream.

Ami Punatar
AWL Foundation Scholarship

Laura Yurs
Shirley S. Abrahamson Scholarship

Laura grew up in Verona, WI. As an 8th grader, she had the opportunity to job-shadow Justice Shirley Abrahamson for a day. Justice Abrahamson gave Laura an in-depth tour of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and hosted Laura in chambers for the day.

Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history from Elmhurst College. During that time, Laura pursued international service-learning opportunities in Ghana and Tanzania where she worked with rural women’s economic development projects. Laura also holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in New York City where she studied political theology, preaching, and ethics. She interned for a year as the representative of her denomination at the United Nations with a focus on women’s development. Before law school, Laura served for ten years as ordained clergy, working as a local church pastor in United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations in rural Missouri and Plymouth, WI. Laura is in her third year at UW-Madison Law School, where she participated in LAIP clinical work with parole eligible and sentence adjustment clients in spring of 2023.

Laura and her spouse live in Cottage Grove with their three dogs and one cat.

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*Virginia A. Pomeroy Scholarship

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