Spring 2019 Funk Law Student Scholarship Winner

Funk & Associates is pleased to announce that the winner of the Spring 2019 Funk Law Student Scholarship is Lisa Ruan from Widener University Delaware Law School in Wilmington, DE. Her inspiring essay about her father and his struggles, his eventual success with his case, and how it impacted her life can be found below.

My Passion for Law

My dad always smiled. If a stranger dropped a $100 bill, my dad would return it. He was overjoyed he could do someone a favor. If a coworker was in a financial crisis, my dad would be the first person to lend him money. He was overjoyed to help others, because if the same thing happened to him, he would want others to help him. My dad is just that kind of person; the kind of person that gets taken advantage of, because of his kindness. I am extremely passionate about standing up for the rights of others because of my dad. I am extremely passionate about standing up for the rights of others because the one time my dad got taken advantage of, he stopped smiling for 3 years.

It happened right before I started college – both of my parents were “let go” from their jobs. They were let go because their employer’s business was not going well. There was no income coming into the house and now, I was about to go to college. Although I had some scholarships and financial aid, it was not enough to cover the cost. In a desperate attempt to find work, a neighbor suggested that they invest 50% of their life savings into a business venture. But this venture, turned out to be a pyramid scheme. My parents were tricked into investing 50% of their hard-earned life savings. With any investment, there are bound to be risks and my parents were prepared for the risks. However, they never thought in a million years someone they trusted would swindle them out of most of their life savings. My parents were desperate to find work. They were in a state of vulnerability. They were honest people. In other words, they were the perfect target for a pyramid scheme.

Afterwards, my dad fell into deep depression. My mom would often say, “It’s okay. It’s just money. You can always earn it back. Just let it go.” But the neighbors’ gossiping would overshadow my mom’s words. The neighbors would often chastise my family and say, “It’s your own fault you were tricked. It’s your own fault for being stupid.” Their words echoed loudly within the walls of our household. Was it? Was it our fault that our family was too trusting? Was it our fault for investing too much money in a venture we couldn’t afford to? Was it really our fault? In an attempt to answer these questions, my father sought out an attorney for the first time in his 60 years of living.

For the next three years of our lives, an arduous trial ensued. My dad had a case. My dad had been wronged by someone he trusted. At the time, I felt helpless. I felt helpless because there was nothing I could do to help my dad. I could not meet or talk to the attorney because despite being an adult, I was “too young.” Even on the day of the trial, my dad would not let me go see the trial. He said he did not want me to see something so “horrible.” Eventually, after 3 long years, my dad “won” his case. My dad was awarded back his investment money. My dad had found closure and for the first time, after 3 long years, I saw my dad smile.

This was my first experience with civil litigation law. It is because of this experience that I want to pursue law; the field dedicated to standing up for the rights of others. It is because of this experience that I am going to law school. Following law school, my ultimate goal is to help others with my legal career by helping those who are unable to afford legal services. Ideally, I would love to work in public interest. That way, I would be able to provide low-cost legal services or pro bono services to indigent families in desperate need of legal services. I would not want someone to get taken advantage of, simply because they could not afford to pay for a lawyer. By immersing myself in public interest law, I hope to help others like my dad, who were taken advantage of. If I am able to do that, it would be enough for me.