BOSTON, March 10, 2017—Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley last night lent his support to a fund that provides financial assistance to women of color who want to become prosecutors after law school.
Conley was invited to speak as a special guest of the Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation, named for Delaware Deputy Attorney General Sarita Wright Lucas, 33, and her unborn daughter, Claire, who died tragically and unexpectedly in 2014. He addressed family members, foundation administrators and donors, lawyers, and others at the University of Massachusetts Club in downtown Boston.
“Prosecutors have a mission unique in the practice of law,” Conley said. “It’s not to win at all costs but to do justice in every
case. It’s to speak for crime survivors and their loved ones, to safeguard the rights of the accused, and to represent the community at large. A prosecutor’s office can best fulfill its mission when it reflects its community – victims, witnesses, and defendants – in race, religion, gender, and life experience.”
A graduate of Suffolk Law School and a former intern at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office in Boston, Lucas rose through the ranks of the Delaware Attorney General’s office to become one of the youngest lawyers to supervise a criminal unit, taking more felony cases to trial in 2013 than any other prosecutor in the office.
The non-profit foundation was created to ease the financial burden on aspiring prosecutors who, like Sarita, are women of color: it helps cover the costs associated with the full-time, unpaid work of preparing for the bar exam. A prep course can cost thousands of dollars and require a significant time investment on top of law school tuition.
Originally intended for prospective assistant attorneys general in Delaware, the foundation this year announced its first Boston recipient – a student prosecutor assigned to Conley’s staff in Roxbury Municipal Court.
“We all know the opportunities to attend law school, perform there competitively, and adequately study for the bar just don’t exist on a level playing field,” Conley said. “So if you’re wondering what difference the Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation can make, I’d ask you to consider the opportunity it provides to passionate, qualified women of color who want to make a difference as a prosecutor. But consider also that the foundation directly contributes to diversity in law enforcement. That diversity serves the public when prosecutors’ offices not only look like the communities they serve but are actually drawn from them. And it serves the office itself when a variety of perspectives contributes to our bail arguments, charging decisions, victim and witness rapport, and prosecution strategy.”
To learn more about the Sarita and Claire Wright Lucas Foundation, or to apply for a scholarship, please visit www.saritaandclairefoundation.org.