About Us​


Bridging The Gap Scholarship (“BTG”) is modeled on the principle of increasing minority representation in the AmLaw 100, the world’s largest law firms (commonly referred to as “Big Law”). BTG aspires to pioneer action towards increasing diversity and inclusivity in AmLaw 100 ranked firms in the USA modeled by the data published in the 2021 American Bar Association Statistical Report and the 2021 National Association for Law Placement which shows that minority associates represent less than 7% of AmLaw firms. The organization provides assistance to minorities with the objective to democratize access and equal opportunity for minority law graduates to join AmLaw with financial support and guidance from minority associates working in AmLaw firms.


The Bridging the Gap Scholarship is designed to maximize the potential of each scholarship recipient—empowering them to change the trajectory of their lives. By providing scholarships and mentorship during the most crucial parts of the law school application process, we assist candidates in obtaining admission to the Top-20 Law Schools to improve their chances of working in Big Law. 


“Big Law” is a colloquialism used to refer to the largest firms in the legal field. These firms are included and ranked annually on the AMLAW 100. Big Law firms often have hundreds or even thousands of attorneys on staff, along with domestic and international offices to provide their clients with a bevy of legal services. Big Law receives significant attention in the legal industry, and these law firms are often associated with prestige. First-year law school graduates who become associates at large law firms typically earn starting salaries between $170,000 to $215,000. 


Historically, Big Law has struggled with recruiting and retaining diverse talent. In recent years, the industry has made major strides in improving diversity. According to the American Lawyers 2022 Diversity Scorecard, the total number of minority attorneys rose to 20.2%, up from 18.5% in 2021 and 17.8% in 2020. The number of minority partners also climbed, reaching 11.9%, up from 10.9% in 2021, and the percentage of minority nonpartners hit 26.7%, up from 24.6% in 2021. While this shows promise and improvement, far more needs to be done to reach a point where law firm diversity matches the diversity of their local and global communities.


Unfortunately, the key issue hindering the growth of diversity in Big Law is the same factor that warrants its prestige and benefits: selectivity. Entry-level opportunities in Big Law are generally restricted to a select group—students from the Top 20 law schools or students in the top 10% of the class from lower-ranking law schools. Because law schools have also struggled to recruit candidates of color, it is inherently more difficult for people of color to join the ranks of Big Law. 


This reality highlights the importance of The Bridging the Gap Scholarship. By providing financial resources and mentorship to pre-law candidates applying to law school, BTG maximizes the potential for people of color to enter top law schools and subsequently, enter the ranks of Big Law. Many qualified minority pre-law students were unable to show that they have the capacity to attend a top law school or work in Big Law solely because they could not afford to apply to law school or take an LSAT preparatory class. BTG seeks to change that reality and serve as the bridge for the next generation of minority pre-law students to cross into the realm of Big Law, so that they too can pay it forward and change the legal industry. 


Offering a scholarship can be amazingly complex, but we provide a better, easier way. Offering mentorship in addition to monetary awards helps see students through from start to finish. We provide resources needed to enter into law school and then provide the requisite support to thrive while there. 





Innovation is not Imani’s only passion but it certainly is a driving force in her career. Imani Maatuka is a commercial litigator by profession and a business owner and serial entrepreneur by trade.
Having earned her J.D. from Washington University School of Law she was on the Dean’s List and received the Dean’s Fellowship Award, Dean’s Leadership Award, Dean’s Service Award, and received the highest grade in the Entrepreneurship & Intellectual Property Clinic. A top graduate of her class, Imani has always had a high standard of success. Her entrepreneurship career began with a company she created and grew while in high school. Through hard work and a creative mind, she garnered over $30,000 in profit with Featuring Your Business, Inc. As the founding shareholder of Featuring Your Business, Inc., Imani has successfully led the company within the promotion, marketing & development areas, as a multi-media production company focused on video, internet, and client development presentations. Imani graduated from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University with a B.S. in journalism and mass communications, summa cum laude, and first in her class. 
Currently, Imani is a Commercial Litigation and Disputes associate in Sidley Austin LLP’s Dallas, Texas office. With an arduous nature to succeed and serve others, Imani has elevated to create a nonprofit organization and scholarship program to assist persons of color in law. In arguably the most lucrative area of the legal field, corporate ‘Big Law,’ minorities represent less than 5%. The Bridging the Gap Scholarship is sponsored by three minority attorneys seeking to ‘bridge the gap’ between minorities and corporate ‘big law.’ In a field where most scholarships reward those interested in seeking public-interest law careers, this scholarship presents a unique approach to social change by seeking to encourage upward social mobility for minorities and access to resources to pay it forward. Just one of the many projects that Imani has undertaken to make her mark on the world. A wearer of many hats, she also serves as the Vice President of Name Trucking, a premier logistics company.


Executive Vice President

Raised in a single parent household by his Sierra Leonean mother, Jo Gbujama was brought up to believe that there were only two ways to change his circumstances: faith and education.
With two younger brothers looking up to him, a mother to make proud, and a community invested in his development, Jo made it his mission to achieve his full potential. In his view, the best way to pay back all who sacrificed is to pay it forward.
After a solid tenure in high school, Jo received a $1000 scholarship from the president of his local UNCF chapter to support his transition to the University of California, Riverside (UCR). With this, he invested in the resources he needed to succeed in college. At UCR, Jo graduated cum laude, served as President of Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity and the Black Law Student Association, Chief Justice of his Student Government’s Supreme Court, and co-founded a Black Student Task Force focused on improving the Black student experience on campus. During the course of these experiences, Jo met attorneys who introduced him to “Big Law”, reviewed his applications, financially invested in his future, and enabled him to attend the Washington University School of Law (WashU). 
At WashU, Jo served a judicial extern for the Hon. Chief Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel for the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois, a judicial extern for the EEOC, a student attorney for the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office, a summer associate at a Thompson Coburn LLP, and a summer associate at Littler. Additionally, Jo served as an executive articles editor of the Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, a competitor in the Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Competition, Justice of Phi Alpha Delta, an executive board member of the Black Law Students Association, and co-founded the Bridging the Gap Scholarship. Upon graduation, Jo was a commencement speaker and recipient of the Dean’s Service Award.
Currently, Jo is a labor and employment attorney at Littler Mendelson, P.C., the largest labor and employment law firm. Jo focuses his practice on advising and representing employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He currently serves as the Pro Bono Liaison for Littler’s San Francisco office. An active member of his community, Jo is a member of NAMI, the Co-Chair of the Professional Development Committee for the National Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division, a member of UCR and WashU’s alumni associations, and the Executive Vice President of the Bridging the Gap Scholarship.


Vice President of Finance

As the great-grandchild of one of the first African-American doctors in the country, Brennan inherited a passion for community service and restoration.
Born in Los Angeles, California, Brennan Hughes grew up in the close-knit community of Ladera Heights. As a child of a surgeon, a health care practitioner, and the great-grandchild of one of the first African-American doctors in the country, Brennan inherited a passion for community service and restoration. He attended Brentwood School for High School, where he was a three-sport athlete. During his undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California, he worked for Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. Congressman Meeks’ mentorship and leadership inspired Brennan to pursue a career in politics. Upon graduating from the University of Southern California, Brennan led the volunteer recruitment efforts of Councilman Curren D. Price Jr.’s campaign. Brennan later attended and eard a J.D. from Washington University School of Law. While in Law School, Hughes worked as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Victor L. Wright of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Washngton University’s Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Clinic. He also served as the founding board member of Bridging the Gap Scholarship. Currently, Hughes is an associate at Douglas Hicks Law, one of the top Civil Rights firms in the country that focuses its practice on impact litigation, civil rights and employment law. 

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Applications open January 1, 2024.