Lewis Rice Announces 2023 Winners of Larry L. Deskins Scholarship

St. Louis-based law firm Lewis Rice has named Anthony Binaei, a law student at Saint Louis University School of Law, and Makayla Watson, a law student at the University of Missouri School of Law, as the 2023 recipients of the Larry L. Deskins Scholarship. Both Anthony and Makayla are starting their second year of law school this fall.

The scholarship, which honors Lewis Rice’s late partner Larry L. Deskins, awards $7,500 scholarships to two first-year law students at Washington University, Saint Louis University or University of Missouri law schools who are members of economically disadvantaged or underrepresented groups in the legal profession. Scholarship funds will be awarded to Binaei and Watson this fall and can be used for tuition and expenses during their second year of law school.

Binaei has a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing and a minor in business Spanish from Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois, where he also played on the men’s soccer team. At Saint Louis University School of Law, he is the president and founder of the Real Estate Law Organization and involved in several organizations including the Hispanic Bar Association. He is a trilingual speaker of Farsi, Spanish and English.

“Being from an underrepresented group motivates me to overachieve, stand out and lead by example,” Binaei said. “Representing my culture and heritage throughout my life is the reason I continue seeking to accomplish my goals.”

Watson obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and minor in Africana studies from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Missouri. She is a member of the Black Law Student Association at the University of Missouri.

“As a first-generation college and law student who grew up in an under-resourced community, my challenges have taught me to be persistent, have faith and persevere,” Watson said. “It is my hope to forge a clearer path for those who come after me to diversify the legal field.”

Binaei and Watson will be honored during a luncheon August 18, 2023, at 12 p.m. at Lewis Rice’s downtown St. Louis office. They will also be featured on the firm’s website, social media and other publications. The Larry L. Deskins Scholarship is part of Lewis Rice’s “Next Level” Diversity and Inclusion Programs created to proactively promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal industry.