The Law School Admission Council recently awarded Saint Louis University School of Law a $300,000 grant to host a DiscoverLaw.org PreLaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program for three years. PLUS programs are targeted, but not restricted, to students from racial and ethnic minority groups underrepresented in the legal profession. Designed for students in the first two years of college, the programs provide an intense focus on the skills required to succeed in law school, the law school admission process and legal career opportunities.
Statistics show the legal profession is the least diverse profession in the country. Lisa Sonia Taylor, director of multicultural affairs and outreach at SLU LAW, was the primary author of the grant proposal and will serve as the director of the program.
“It is essential that law schools, as the gateway to the profession, play a role in addressing this lack of adequate representation,” she said. “The LSAC DiscoverLaw.org PLUS programs are some of the most successful pipeline programs in terms of getting students from underrepresented groups interested in and prepared for law school.”
The SLU LAW PLUS program is designed to recognize and reward students for their demonstrated interest in social justice and provide them the best opportunity to successfully enter the legal profession. The program will introduce students to the essential skills and competencies of a law student and legal professional; assist them in gaining a broader appreciation for the practice of law and how to navigate a path to law school; and inspire them by demonstrating how lawyers can use their skills and training to serve their community and bring about social change.
Taylor sees SLU LAW’s mission and location as large factors that will guide the program’s success, both for the school and the students it brings in.
“As a Jesuit institution, SLU LAW is committed to its pursuit of social justice, and I believe that this mission resonates with students who come from diverse and underrepresented communities,” she said. “After recent events in our city, SLU LAW faculty, staff, students and alumni have demonstrated their commitment to addressing issues of inequality in the administration of the law. The SLU LAW PLUS program will give student participants a unique insight into the work being done here and hopefully show them that the law can be a vehicle to achieving their own social justice goals.”
The school’s four-week residential program will take place June 6 – July 1, 2016. Those interested in participating can visit law.slu.edu/admissions/plus-program. The deadline for applications is April 15, 2016. Any questions can also be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.