Suited for Success Scholarship Serves Immediate Need and Bolsters Confidence

Many great ideas are born out of personal experiences. Such was the case with the Suited for Success Scholarship, which was introduced at Texas Law by alumnus Jonathan Pelayo ’07 and conceptualized by Pelayo’s colleague, Mia Lorick. The scholarship addresses a fundamental need for law students preparing to begin a legal career: professional attire for interviewing and the work environment.

Both Pelayo and Lorick have memories of clothing challenges while in law school — from Pelayo’s only suit being the victim of a dry-cleaner fire the day before a job interview to Lorick having one black suit for multiple-day mock trial competitions. Lorick transformed her personal experience into an idea for a scholarship program that would provide students in need with enough money to shop for a professional outfit, and introduced the program at her alma mater, the University of Houston Law Center. When Lorick told Pelayo about the scholarship and its goals, he immediately offered his support to help her grow the program and made the connection with his alma mater.

“Sometimes people forget that little things can impact your life,” said Pelayo. “Our hope is that students look back on the first time they were able to walk in an interview or a mock trial competition feeling confident in professional clothing and see that moment as an important milestone.”

Jonathan Pelayo and Mia Lorick

Jonathan Pelayo ’07 and Mia Lorick

While perhaps the most obvious need for a suit is in a job interview, students benefit immediately, starting in their 1L year. Law students are expected to dress professionally as they compete in mock trial and moot court competitions, attend events with law professionals, work in summer clerkships, and intern in law firm offices.

One recipient, Desiree J., shared, “As a first-generation college and law student, I am often uncomfortable and self-conscious that I do not ‘look’ like a lawyer. With the business professional clothes that I was able to purchase with the generosity (of this scholarship), I will walk into my summer clerkship confident and excited.”

The Suited for Success program is entering its third year at Texas Law, and its positive impact has reached 23 students. The scholarship was first awarded to eight students in 2020, then presented to 15 students in 2021, with a goal of increasing the number in future years.

The reasons vary for students seeking a Suited for Success Scholarship. For recipient Alex R., the challenges that he, as a full-time student, and his wife faced caring for a baby outweighed the priority of clothing … until the scholarship opportunity came along. “The idea of getting a real suit was so out of the question, my wife and I had never talked about trying to fit it into our budget,” he explained. “(With the scholarship), being able to get a real, high-quality, tailored suit that will last for years to come was empowering … it is amazing the effect it has had on my confidence.”

… being able to get a real, high-quality, tailored suit that will last for years to come was empowering … it is amazing the effect it has had on my confidence.

Alex R.

The scholarships are $750 each, and recipients have the opportunity to shop for themselves, selecting the styles, colors, and sizes they prefer. They are required to submit receipts confirming they spent the funds on professional clothing.

“As a first-year student, I am at the point of my education where interviews become essential to receiving the hands-on experience that I will need through summer internship requirements,” said Jordan P. “Interviewing with potential employers can be a daunting task and the support of this scholarship has allowed me to buy the professional clothes I will need to feel confident.”

To date, funding for Suited for Success Scholarships has been a grassroots effort, mainly fueled by Lorick and Pelayo’s personal commitment and outreach to colleagues and friends. (Past scholarship recipients have even shared their future intent to support the fund once their legal careers are established.) Eventually, they hope to create an endowment to fund the scholarship and expand it to every law school in Texas. For more information about making a contribution, visit

Texas Law students apply for a Suited for Success Scholarship online (here’s the Fall 2022 application form). Applications are evaluated based in part on financial need and/or membership in a Texas Law affinity group (APALSA, CHLLSA, First-Generation Law Students, OUTLaw, TMLS).

“Having a new professional suit is something that puts everyone on an equal footing and allows you to present your best self, regardless of background, where you came from, your undergraduate major,” summed up Lorick.

Pelayo and Lorick work together as partners at Locke Lord LLP in Houston. Pelayo, who has stayed connected to his alma mater through involvement in Texas Law committees and in Texas Exes, focuses on construction litigation and energy litigation in his practice. Lorick concentrates her practice on real estate litigation, energy litigation, and civil appeals.