National HBCU Event Strives To Produce More Law School Applicants (Above the Law)

National HBCU Event Strives To Produce More Law School Applicants

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Going to law school is generally a bad deal. The tuition far outstrips the earnings that the majority of law students can hope to secure, and even attorneys who land golden-ticket jobs burn out at such a rate to make one question the whole process. That’s before you look over your shoulder and realize that every day, another technological advance renders another young lawyer obsolete making it that much harder to justify the profession’s high entry barrier.

But whenever the lower-tier law schools — those that routinely place 50 percent or fewer of their grads in full-time, long-term employment — are called out for profiting mightily on convincing students to take an expensive gamble, they lash back that they’re providing opportunity for minority students. It’s a disingenuous charge, akin to predatory lenders claiming they provide a noble service for the poor, but it gains a certain traction because the legal profession writ large has a diversity problem it barely addresses. More unsuccessful law schools won’t solve that problem, but encouraging a more diverse pool of applicants and equipping those admitted students with the support they’ll need as law students and lawyers can.

That’s what the 4th Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit seeks to achieve. Educational journal Diverse has a report on the event and its goals:

Founded by Prairie View A&M graduate Evangeline M. Mitchell in 2014, the event is designed to help students who are interested in careers in law, network with one another, get access to resources and information about applying to law schools, and establish connections with those who are already practicing law.

Mitchell’s idea for connecting other African-American students interested in law initially began with her founding the National Black Pre-Law Conference in 2005.

“The reason for starting it [was] just my own personal experiences, the difficulty of getting good information, not having access to resources, not having access to a network,” says Mitchell.

That absence of a personal network can’t be underestimated. As much as law professors would like to pretend they mold blank slates into great attorneys, the fact is that students who enter law school ready — by having attorneys in the family or at least among friends of the family, by working in a law firm beforehand, by being avid Above the Law readers — have an advantage. The impact of decades of discrimination is cumulative and means, more often than not, that diverse law students don’t walk into the classroom with those connections. Indeed, many talented, diverse attorneys may never come to be because they look at the law school challenge and decide their opportunities in corporate America are just as rich without the hassle of law school.

Pre-law conferences like this combat those problems.

Mitchell hopes that when students leave the summit they will have created a tight network among themselves.

“I want to make sure that at a minimum, they leave with more information, more resources, and more connections than they could have possibly hoped to have by the time they leave,” she says. “I also want them to leave with a sense of social responsibility and understanding that not only are they needed, but they’re also needed to come back and to help those coming behind them.”

If you’re an HBCU student interested in registering, information is available here.

National HBCU Pre-Law Summit Aimed At Producing More Black Law School Applicants [Diverse]


via Above the Law

August 9, 2017 at 01:36PM