Legal Education

New program guarantees diverse students admission to law school

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A new program will guarantee minority and first-generation law students deferred admission and scholarships once they spend a year preparing for law school and working to improve their Law School Admission Test scores.

The AccessLex Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on law students, announced that 10 U.S. law schools, including the Willamette University College of Law and the University of St. Thomas School of Law, have agreed to participate in the program.

Reuters reports that these law schools will refer up to 10 applicants and offer them deferred admission and a scholarship of at least 20% of tuition if they complete the program, which will be funded and administered by the AccessLex Institute.

To qualify for the program, applicants must have an LSAT score that is no higher than in the 25th percentile. They must also be a member of an underrepresented racial or ethnic group, be the first in their family to attend college, or have received federal need-based grants for their undergraduate studies.

“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 the AccessLex’s Center for Legal Education Excellence, told Reuters.

While in the AccessLex Institute’s yearlong program, students will be required to complete an online Kaplan LSAT prep course and other online foundational law courses. They will also participate in financial counseling and curriculum coaching.

In addition to securing their spot at a participating law school, students will receive a $3,000 stipend from the AccessLex Institute once they successfully complete the program.

Brian Gallini, the dean and a professor at the Willamette University College of Law, told Reuters that “this partnership is squarely in line with our fundamental goal to create equity across everything we do.”

According to Reuters, the AccessLex Institute hopes to have at least 15 law school partners when it officially launches the program next year.

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