Gen Z Attorney Imani Maatuka Is Making Necessary Moves With The Bridging The Gap Scholarship Fund.

Who is Imani Maatuka?

Imani: Imani Maatuka is the end result of parenting and training based on faith, success, and freedom.  It’s the literal meaning of my name; Imani means faith, Nyilah, my middle name, means destined to succeed, and Maatuka means emancipated. My parents were intentional with their children’s maturation, starting with our names, and ending with our training.

Born to married parents, an attorney, and an educator, secure and safe, in a community focused on rearing children, surrounded by professional uncles and aunts immersed in the legal field, I was privileged.

From my earliest memories, I was involved in some type of training.  I am the product of a 5p family. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Though I had no clue at the time what I was preparing for, preparation was the order of the day.   I didn’t go to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, I went to school to practice reading, writing, and arithmetic. I learned those things at home. I didn’t join sports to learn basketball, softball, and tennis, I joined teams to practice being coachable, prioritize my time, work well with others, be a leader and perform when called upon regardless of the size of the stage and circumstances surrounding said performance. I am the intentionality of training.

If Maatukas are anything, we are educated. We Define education as an experience that changes one’s behavior. Though it can happen in classrooms, we know it also happens outside the classroom.  Therefore, the job was to have as many experiences as possible. Learn as much as we can, whenever we can.

Life is a battle, and all you can ask for is a chance that’s fair.  However, nothing is fair, and if you aren’t willing to compete, and give your best effort at all times, you haven’t earned the right to be successful.

In short, I am the benefactor of great circumstances, opportunities, and mentors. I am the result of others’ generosity.

What led you to become a commercial litigator?

Imani: My motivation to become a commercial litigator was twofold.  On an admittedly superficial and material level…I had an aunt who went the big law tract and then she went in the house.  I remember growing up wanting to be just like her.  She had all the best bags; she would walk into the room, and you would be captivated by her beauty and style.  She was the quintessential boss, she was smart, beautiful, a hard-working mom, and she had it all.

Additionally, there was my mom, who I had idolized my whole life, showing me the different facets of the legal industry.  I had one on one chats with different mentors who told me if you want to work in a place like this, this is how you get here. Go to one of the top law schools, get good grades, participate in OCI (on-campus interviews) and you get your big law job.

Can you tell us more about the Bridging the Gap Scholarship?

Imani: Opportunities in Big Law are generally restricted to a select group. Often, Big Law tends to recruit either students from Top-20 law schools or law students in the top 10% of the class from lower-ranking schools. Few people of color have the opportunity to join the ranks of Big Law.

This reality made my co-founders and I realize the importance of The Bridging the Gap Scholarship. By providing financial resources and mentorship to pre-law candidates applying to law school, the scholarship maximizes the potential for people of color to enter top law schools and subsequently, enter the ranks of Big Law. Many qualified minority pre-law students are unable to show that they have the capacity to attend a top law school or work in Big Law solely because they cannot afford to apply to law school or take an LSAT preparatory class. The Bridging the Gap Scholarship seeks to change that reality and serve as the bridge for the next generation of minority pre-law students.

Can you explain changing the financial barrier between minority future law students?

Imani: The belief that one can become an attorney is a result of a privilege that many African Americans and women aren’t privy to.  Such a career orientation is the residue of years of molding, mentoring, and preparation that is ingrained by environment and personal passion. Not to mention the “lottery” of being born to two loving parents, in a nurturing environment that prioritizes education, and facilitates a mindset that the child can be anything they put their mind to.

With housing, family stability, healthcare, and education being volatile for most, the ability to dream of a career path as lofty as an attorney, let alone “Big Law” is a rarity.  Many aren’t aware that “Big Law” exists. It is the best-kept secret that is not a secret.

What would you like our viewers to know?

Imani: Success is achievable.

Be a 5 P’s person. Proper preparation prevents poor performance. Use your life experiences to prepare for the life you want. It was explained to me early and often, that luck is a preparation meeting opportunity. The saddest event is to find an opportunity and not be prepared. Always be prepared.

Train.  Hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard. Hard work has to be the mantra.  The key is discovering the processes/systems to achieve your dreams and goals.

Invest in education. Education is the experience that changes your behavior. It’s the discovery of processes and systems that help you obtain your dreams and goals.

Practice… the only way to become good at learning is to practice.  Your only job, during the first 20 years of your life, is to master how you learn.

Do those things and success is imminent.

How can people connect with you?

Imani: Follow me on Instagram @ImaniMaatuka and Learn about BTG updated by following @btgscholarship. Visit our website:

Email us at with any questions.

Photo Credits: Ephraim Photography