The Honorable George Bundy Smith Scholarship Fund

Deadline to apply: TBD | All applications should be sent to:

The Metropolitan Black Bar Association established The Honorable George Bundy Smith Scholarship Fund in conjunction with Friends of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, Inc. (FMBBA), a 501c3 charitable organization dedicated to supporting the work and furthering the vision of MBBA to offer three scholarships to students who demonstrate qualities of leadership, a passion for the arts and sciences, or a commitment to diversity and academic excellence. The fund is in honor of Judge Smith, who for many years provided board leadership and guidance to the Metropolitan Black Bar Association, including starting the organization’s first scholarship fund. Above all, Judge Smith values education and leverages his success to the benefit of the African-American community.

Three Scholarships

2019 Honorable George Bundy Smith Scholarship Fund Application (FMBBA)


Awarded to a student who demonstrates a commitment to leadership while successfully managing the law school experience.

REQUIREMENT: Applicants must write an original paper on the importance of leadership and the candidate’s record of leadership in college, during law school and in his or her community.

Award: $2500


Awarded to a law student who demonstrates a passion for business, arts or sciences.

REQUIREMENT: Applicants must write an original paper on the relevance of business, arts or sciences to the law and the candidate’s passion for and accomplishments in business, arts or sciences.

Award: $2500


Awarded to a student who demonstrates a sincere and meaningful commitment to diversity and a commitment to academic excellence

REQUIREMENT: Applicants must write an original paper on the value of diverse professionals to the practice of law and the candidate’s record of promoting diversity in college, during law school and in his or her community.

Award: $2500



The MBBA Scholarship Fund is named after the Honorable George Bundy Smith, who has served on the MBBA Board and founded its original scholarship fund. Appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo, Judge Smith served on the New York State Court of Appeals from 1992 to 2006. He also served as a judge on the Civil Court of New York City from 1975-1986 and as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New York from 1987-1992. Currently a law professor at Fordham Law School, Judge Smith is a former Freedom Rider and a graduate of Yale University (B.A. 1959), where he was just one of three African Americans in his class, and Yale Law School (LL.B 1962). He also has a Ph.D from New York University and an LL.M from University of Virginia School of Law.


Judge Jones received a B.A. in History and Political Science in 1965, then served in Vietnam with the US Army from 1967-69, obtaining the rank of captain, before attending St. John’s University School of Law. After graduation, he worked as a Criminal Defense Attorney with the Legal Aid Society, and then as a Law Secretary to Justice Howard A. Jones (no relation) at the New York State Court of Claims, before entering private practice in his hometown of Brooklyn. In 1990, he was elected as a Judge to the New York Supreme Court, where he presided over numerous trials, including the 2005 New York City transit strike case. In 2006, Judge Jones was appointed to New York State’s Court of Appeals, where he served until his premature passing in 2012. He was a Board Member of the MBBA and the Vice President of the Bedford Stuyvesant Bar Association, a predecessor of the MBBA.


Shirley Stewart Farmer was the first president of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. Born and raised in Chicago, she was first drawn to the arts, studying dance, music, voice and acting before turning to the law. After receiving a B.S. in English from Illinois Institute of Technology, Ms. Farmer obtained a J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, now a division of IIT. In New York she practiced law for about 12 years, including as an associate at Delson & Gordon, Associate Counsel in the Office of the General Counsel of HRA, and then as a solo practitioner, a position she continues to maintain today. While at Delson & Gordon, she organized the Mid-Manhattan Branch of the NAACP under her then employer, Max Delson, the branch’s first President. In 1984, she did the legal work to consolidate the Harlem Lawyers Association and the Bedford Stuyvesant Lawyers Association to form the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. Ms. Farmer passed in 2014.


In a career spanning 38 years with MetLife, Inc., James L. Lipscomb retired as Executive Vice President and General Counsel where he oversaw the Legal Affairs group with responsibility for the global operation of the MetLife Law, Government and Industry Relations and Compliance Departments and also provided advice to MetLife Management and its Board of Directors. Mr. Lipscomb launched unprecedented and trailblazing diversity initiatives that served as templates for all of MetLife as well as in other major companies. He was named to Inside Counsel Magazine’s 2006 list of the top 50 most influential in-house counsel in North America, and in 2009, received the National Bar Association’s Heman Marion Sweatt Award for outstanding achievement. Other positions Mr. Lipscomb has held at MetLife include Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Conning Corporation, head of the Corporate Planning and Strategy Department and Senior Vice President in MetLife’s Real Estate Investments Department. He holds a B.A. from Howard University, a J.D. from Columbia University Law School and a LL.M.