New Way to Increase Diversity at Law Schools: Guaranteed Admissions

Law schools are offering guaranteed admission and scholarships to underrepresented students as a way to increase diversity.

10 U.S. law schools will soon be rolling out one-year deferred admission and scholarship money to promising underrepresented applicants, who will spend a year prepping for the LSAT and law school in return for guaranteed admission, Reuters reports. Participating law schools include the likes of Willamette University College of Law and the University of St. Thomas School of Law.

“We’re going to increase the chances of good outcomes for people who otherwise would not have gotten a law school opportunity,” Aaron Taylor, the executive director of AccessLex’s Center for Legal Education Excellence, tells Reuters.

QUALIFICATIONS

Program participants will be required to have an LSAT score that is in the 25th percentile or lower in order to qualify. Additionally, participants must identify with a racial or ethnic group that is underrepresented in law schools, be a first-generation college attendee, or have qualified for federal need-based Pell grants as an undergraduate student.

TRAINING AND SCHOLARSHIP

Once admitted, students will need to complete a year-long program by AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for access and affordability in legal education, that provides them with foundational skills and knowledge. The program, which will require 8 to 12 hours of work per week, includes a series of foundational law courses along with financial counseling, and curriculum coaching.

Additionally, participating students will receive a $3,000 stipend from AccessLex to help support their education.

Brian Gallini, dean of Willamette Law, says the program will play an essential part in helping the law school increase opportunities for underrepresented students.

“This partnership is squarely in line with our fundamental goal to create equity across everything we do,” Gallini tells Reuters.

Sources: Reuters, ABA Journal

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