LEAD: Law Exploration Advancing Diversity
Launched in the Fall of 2019, The LEAD Program at Saint Joseph's University is a collaboration between the Pre-Law Program and the Center for Inclusion and Diversity. It was created to specifically combat those shut-out rates and support our students of color who are interested in law from day one on campus. Over the course of four years, students will have the opportunity to build relationship with each other, take advantage of alumni mentors, attend important law events, and have personalized academic and career support provided by the pre-law advisors.
Did you know that the shut-out rates (students who did not get into any law schools) for our students of color are drastically higher than for our white students? Based on a study conducted by AccessLex which studied students who applied to law schools in 2016-2017, shut-out rates are:
A law school pipeline program is designed to support aspiring law students to discern their goals, build important and relevant skills, and understand best practices when it comes to the law school application process. Pipeline programs provide important opportunities to network with law schools and with others who share similar goals and interests. A law school pipeline program should be built into your experiential learning plan if possible.
Each program is different. They range from rising sophomores through alumni. Most programs take all majors. Read the qualifications area of each program carefully to determine when it would fit into your plans.
Most programs are FREE and some include stipends and cover travel expenses and costs of living. Think about it - you could get paid to prepare for law school!
Each program has different deadlines. Most take place over the summer, but not all. When you are researching programs, take note of when their application opens, the deadlines, and what application materials are needed. Request letters of recommendation early. Ask for application support from your pre-law advisors.
There are a couple of great resources to help you search through all of the available programs and filter for those based on your interests:
- AccessLex Directory - The AccessLex Diversity Pipeline Program Directory is an online database designed to help prospective law students and pre-law advisors identify pipeline programs serving college students and/or college graduates from historically underrepresented groups with information and resources premised on aiding their successful matriculation into law school and the legal profession. The best programs are collaborative and provide meaningful and holistic content, experiences and support, and are designed to yield measurable outcomes and scalable best practices.
- American Bar Association Directory - The ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline and the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) created the Pipeline Diversity Directory in response to the critical need to increase diversity in the educational pipeline leading to the profession.
- Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Programs (PLUS) - The LSAC PLUS Program offers aspiring legal professionals a window about what to expect in law school and supportive insights about the law school enrollment journey.The PLUS Program is specifically aimed at rising undergraduate sophomores and juniors from minoritized groups who are underrepresented in the legal profession. However, anyone can apply and, during the application process, applicants have the opportunity to demonstrate ways in which they can benefit from the program.
- Penn Law Outreach Program: Applying to and Succeeding in Law School - This program, held each spring is designed to assist high potential undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds with their preparation for admission to law school. Program participants receive mentoring, LSAT/application information, and workshops to build skills. Applications typically open at the end of the fall semester and are due in mid-January. Please contact the pre-law program for more information.
- St. John’s University School of Law Ronald H. Brown Prep Program for College Students - This program provides $1,000 stipend for attendees. Those who are admitted receive support and information around successful applications and will help students build relevant skills for their success in law school.
- Donald J. Weidner Summer for Undergraduates - This program brings to campus undergraduate students from throughout the country for a month-long immersion into legal study. The program covers three primary areas: classroom experience (daily classes taught by law professors), law school admissions (meeting with admission staff, LSAT preparation), and careers in law (visits to FL Supreme Court, local law firms, moot court). This program is typically held in June.
Each semester, we plan 3-4 events specifically for LEAD. Throughout the semester, events are added or planned as needed. Please make sure you register for LEAD so you receive an invitation to anything not listed below:
Fall 2020 Launch Event: Wednesday, September 16; 4:00 PM
The Career Center Lawn
Bring a blanket and some food and come meet others in the LEAD program, learn about our fall plans, and hang out!
"Dine" with a Hawk: Wednesday, October 7, 6:00 PM
Meet virtually with our Hawk Alumni and learn more about their experiences at SJU, at law school, and as a lawyer. An RSVP form will be sent via email.
Conversations with Interesting Women: Doneene Damon: Wednesday, October 14, 4:00 PM, Lecture/5:00 PM, LEAD Meet and Greet
Join SJU Alumnus Doneene Damon, JD as she discusses being the first ever woman to lead Delaware's largest law firm. She will then meet with LEAD students afterwards to answer questions. Check back here for the registration link.
National Black Pre-Law Conference and Law Fair: Friday, November 13 through Saturday, November 14
Take advantage of this free virtual conference which will give you access to guest speakers, panel discussions, resources, and tools to help prepare and inspire aspiring Black lawyers. Register here.