This summer, 29 students from colleges across the nation—including UT Austin, Huston-Tillotson and Austin Community College—participated in a virtual immersive summer program that prepares diverse groups of students for law school and beyond. This summer program was designed using the successful Explore Law program model that was originally developed by Dr. Aileen Bumphus in the DDCE. Below are a few highlights from the four-week LSAC PLUS Online Program hosted by the Longhorn Center for Academic Equity (LCAE) under the direction of Dr. Eric Dieter and sponsored by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
Guided by faculty and staff within the LCAE and the UT Austin School of Law, students spent the first week learning about the law school admissions process. Classes included lessons in legal reading and writing, financial aid and team building exercises. Throughout the program, participants received support from two current Texas Law students serving as teaching assistants, Michelle Chin and Brittany Galvan.
During the second week, students continued their law school prep classes and met with several lawyers, including former VP of Diversity and Community Engagement Gregory J. Vincent and his wife Kim (pictured above). In a session titled “Love & Law,” the Vincents shared their life and legal career journeys and each gave advice on how to successfully balance work and life.
Students also met with UT School of Law Dean Ward Farnsworth, who discussed a challenging court case and offered insight into the complexities of legal thinking. Students also engaged in a two-week 1L contract law course with Texas Law professor Kevin Haynes.
During the third and fourth weeks of the program, students prepared for their culminating oral arguments and networked with several legal professionals, including a team of lawyers from Lloyd Gosselink Rochelle & Townsend, P.C.
Through the LCAE’s long-standing partnership with the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the students personally engaged with several legal professionals of color, including the Honorable Ron Kirk (pictured above), who held national and international appointments within the Obama administration. They also took professional development courses taught by the LCAE’s Teaching Assistant Jaylen Wright and Special Assistant to the Vice President Dr. Aileen Bumphus.
Prepped and ready to approach the virtual bench, the students delivered their oral arguments before a panel of judges including Retired Sr. Judge Orlinda Naranjo; Senior Associate Attorney Slav Talavera; UT School of Law Assistant Dean Mathiew Le; and Leonard Woods, Partner and Archon in the Gamma Gamma Chapter of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity. The aspiring lawyers received an outpouring of positive feedback and advice from the judges, who were all impressed by the students’ preparation and argumentative skills.
The program concluded with a virtual celebration, which included quotes and takeaways from the new graduates and inspiring speeches by participating faculty, staff, judges and lawyers. A big thanks to all of our campus and community partners who have made the LSAC PLUS Online Program a success!
I can speak for the entire group when I say that this program has impacted our lives in only four weeks in a way that not many have. Through these hard times where so many things are unknown, this program has given me the motivation I so dearly needed to not give up on my dreams simply because deep down I know they truly believe in each and every one of us.—Nataly Esparza, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign student
It was a great privilege and pleasure to participate in an engaging and collaborative program. All of the sessions were very well organized, and I am thankful for the many opportunities we had to network with accomplished lawyers and professionals. —Shaina Kambo, Austin Community College student and incoming Longhorn.
During such a time of distress and unknowns, it is comforting to hear from professionals and get the affirmation that they were able to provide. The information members of the program have imparted on us is going to be extremely beneficial as I navigate the world of law school/applications/LSAT/all things in the next few years to come! —Caroline Coleman, Samford University student
Visit our Flickr album to read more takeaways and reflections from the 2020 cohort.
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