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Duke Law

A Program For First-Generation College Grads

A new program at Duke Law is supporting first generation college graduates.
First Generation Professionals, or “1GP,” is an enhancement program for Duke Law School students who are the first in their families to graduate from college. The program, which piloted in October 2017, kicked off this year during orientation with 15 students from each class.
“[It was] really exciting to start off the year that way,” Jennifer Caplan, assistant director for professional development programming and advising for Duke Law School, tells The Chronicle. “Another exciting thing is that now we have a full student board.”
A Support System
For many first-generation college graduates, gaining acceptance and completing law school can be a challenging process.
But 1GP hopes to make the transition into law school easier with a support network of various resources including mentorship, professional development, and networking opportunities.
According to Duke, the 1GP program aims “to develop a welcoming community for our members and offer academic, professional, and social support to navigate law school and future careers.”
Caplan says the program gives first generation college grads an additional layer of support—something that many don’t have when compared to other students.
“Students that come from professional families have a better understanding of the fact that when you buy Duke, when you buy an education, it’s not just about the classes and the piece of paper you walk out with,” Caplan tells The Chronicle.
Setting Up Students For Success
This year the program is hoping to expand its network by, first, focusing on its LinkedIn connections.
Currently, the LinkedIn group only has 36 members. But Caplan says the program hopes to expand that and keep track of where students continue after graduation. In doing so, students can connect with alumni mentors throughout the community and seek opportunities.
“We don’t want their interviews to be the first time they’ve walked into a law firm office,” Caplan tells The Chronicle.
Long term, Caplan hopes the program will grow by connecting with similar group at other universities and eventually even expand to connect with employers and the American Bar Association.
The next 1GP event will be a mock interview program on November 1st.
Sources: The Chronicle, Duke Law, LinkedIn

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