The Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation is the formalization of mentoring efforts its co-founders, John Kozyak and Detra Shaw-Wilder, have been making for more than 30 years. They started focusing on matching Black law students at the University of Miami with Judges and lawyers as mentors. They quickly expanded to the law schools throughout Florida and quickly recognized all minority law students benefit when paired with a judge or a lawyer. KMMF collaborates with several other voluntary bar associations and sections of The Florida Bar to help Black, Hispanic, Women, Asian-Pacific, Muslim, LGBQT+ and other minority students find a helpful mentor .
Our diverse, experienced Board, which is profiled below, is dedicated to building an effective pathway to diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. We are all First Generation lawyers and we want to provide opportunities through mentoring, virtual educational programs and networking. One of John’s mentees said the program “ doesn’t just open doors, it kicks them down” and that ‘s want we want to do for all minority law students in Florida and Florida residents going to school outside the State. We want to help minority students excel in law school and contribute to our communities and profession.
We raise money to fund summer fellowships, so students may intern for Judges , governmental agencies and nonprofits, which cannot afford to hire a student. Last year, we awarded eight , $5,000 fellowships to some of the many deserving students who applied. We hope to expand this program each year.
become a mentor
Mentors are established lawyers or judges who wish to provide inspiration and direction to minority law students.
become a mentee
Minority students are encouraged to complete and submit an application to be assigned to an outstanding judge or lawyer.
Each year, the KMMF awards summer fellowships to law students who are academically and professionally driven and will spend the summer gaining valuable legal experience.
Join The KMMF Mentorship Circle of 100!
Our 2022 Summer Fellows
Rachel M. Salazar
Photini Kamvisseli Suarez
We hope these comments from mentors and mentees will help further explain the program and give you some ideas for being a better mentor or mentee.
As the first person to graduate college in my family and the first to become a lawyer in my family, I did not see many lawyers while growing up. I knew it would be vital for me to understand how to interact with lawyers.
As a first year law student, networking can be daunting to many. A student may question how to approach a judge, how to carry a conversation with a lawyer, or how to formally ask an individual to serve as a mentor.