New law school diversity program has a twist: guaranteed admission

  • The Bootcamp program is aimed at minority and first generation law students
  • Participants will spend a year preparing for LSAT and law school, with the promise of admission and a scholarship

(Reuters) – Ten U.S. law schools have agreed to offer one-year deferred admission and scholarships to promising and under-represented applicants whose initial applications go unsuccessful, according to AccessLex Institute, an organization non-profit that advocates for access and affordability in legal education.

To maintain their place at participating schools, including Willamette University College of Law and the University of St. Thomas School of Law, applicants will be required to complete a one-year program designed and administered by AccessLex to improve their test scores. ‘admission to law school and give them additional basic skills and knowledge.

“We will increase the chances of good results for people who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to study law,” said Aaron Taylor, executive director of the Center for Legal Education Excellence at AccessLex .

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AccessLex funds the program with proceeds from its previous incarnation as an issuer of private student loans. The organization said it hopes to have 15 law schools enrolled by the official launch next year. Schools will refer up to 10 applicants and offer them deferred admission and a scholarship of at least 20% of the tuition fee provided they successfully complete their preparation year.

Participants must have an LSAT score less than or equal to the 25th percentile. They must also be from a racial or ethnic group that is under-represented in law schools; be the first in their family to go to university; or have received Federal Pell Grants based on need as an undergraduate student.

Deans of law schools that agreed to participate, including Danielle Conway of Penn State Dickinson Law, said the program would help their schools increase opportunities for under-represented groups.

“This partnership is very much in line with our fundamental goal of creating fairness in everything we do,” said Brian Gallini, Dean of Willamette Law.

Those who complete the program will also receive a stipend of $ 3,000 from AccessLex to help defer their tuition fees.

Participants will take an online Kaplan LSAT preparation course and take the admission test at least once. They will also take a series of online fundamental law courses and receive both financial advice and educational support.

The initial one-year program will require 8 to 12 hours of work per week, Taylor said, and sponsoring law schools can cancel their offers of admission if participants fail to meet their obligations.

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