Jason Kalafat Make a Difference Scholarship (2016)

Throughout his career, Jason Kalafat has prided himself on devoting his career to being a positive force in people’s lives, first as a Public Defender in Arizona before eventually moving to Washington, DC and entering private practice. Throughout his years of experience, he has continued to refine his skills as a full service defense attorney.

However, Mr. Kalafat’s legal career did not start in criminal defense; it began with a stint in commercial litigation. While he felt that commercial litigation was an important part of the American legal system, it did not fully suit his desire to impact people’s lives directly.

Changing course and moving his practice to criminal defense gave him that opportunity. In his own words: “I was making a difference. I was doing research and analysis, directly applying that research and analysis to a case, and based on what I was able to accomplish, I had a direct impact on someone’s life.”

Mr. Kalafat’s work at all levels of court – local, state, and federal – have shown him the importance of working with people to ensure that their individual rights are protected as defined by the United States Constitution. Over the course of his illustrious career, he has fought tirelessly for his clients.

As his career in private practice has thrived, Attorney Kalafat still takes the most pleasure in being able to make a difference in his clients’ lives. He understands that people often come to him when they are at an impasse, unsure, and even afraid of what to do next. His passion and dedication have indeed changed the world around him.

Mr. Kalafat firmly believes that making a difference in the world is an honorable dream to have, but recognizes that there are many practical obstacles in the way. With that in mind, Mr. Kalafat wants to give students the opportunity to pursue higher education and powerful civil engagement, regardless of socioeconomic circumstances.

Due to Mr. Kalafat’s personal commitment to affecting real change in the world, we are proud to announce the Jason Kalafat Make a Difference Scholarship. This scholarship will award $500 to a deserving student who puts forth a thoughtful, creative, and meaningful response to how their dream will make a necessary and practical change in the world.

Eligibility & Selection Criteria:

  • This scholarship is offered to any student currently enrolled in an accredited community college, undergraduate, or graduate program in the United States. This includes incoming first-year college students who are high school graduates or possess a GED.
  • The scholarship candidate must possess an interest in social justice, as demonstrated by past and present volunteer, professional, and educational experiences.
  • All eligible candidates must be in good academic standing, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.

Application Requirements:

  • An updated resumé.
  • A 750-word essay responding to the following prompt: How will your dreams make a meaningful impact on the world? How will you take practical steps to achieve these dreams?
  • A current unofficial transcript from the applicant’s school (NOTE: First-year college students must submit an unofficial transcript from their most recent school, as well as an unofficial transcript from their current post-secondary institution.)

Application Deadline & Instructions

In order to be eligible, scholarship applicants must submit their FULL application (personal statement, transcript(s), and resumé) by email to scholarships@criminallawyerwashingtondc.com. The official deadline for all application materials is May 31, 2017.


Subject Line: Name of the Applicant — Name of the Scholarship

Attachments: Personal Statement, Transcript, and Resume