Students from Underrepresented Populations Admissions Initiatives
In general, law schools and the legal profession do not accurately reflect the racial and ethnic diversity in our country. Therefore, many law schools actively encourage African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American students, multicultural and students from disadvantaged backgrounds to apply. For qualifying students, application fee waivers may be available. In addition to this page, please be sure to view opportunities listed under News and Events and Internships and Summer Programs on the Law School Advising website.
Discover Law.org is a campaign by the Law School Admission Council to encourage racially and ethnically diverse students to discover career opportunities in law and choose a path in undergraduate school to help them succeed. For more information about Discover Law’s initiatives click here. By registering with discoverlaw.org, students are eligible to apply for the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program, targeted to members from populations underrepresented in the law school community during their first two years of college who wish to develop the skills required to succeed in law school. Last year, PLUS programs were held at various locations around the country. Information will be available in early January 2015.
The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, CLEO, is a nonprofit entity of the American Bar Association whose mission is to diversify the legal profession. CLEO helps minority, low-income and economically or educationally disadvantaged students prepare for and succeed in law school. CLEO has a number of services, LSAT prep course scholarships and programs available to serve students including: workshops and seminars specifically serving each of the four undergraduate classes; summer residential programs preparing graduating college seniors to be competitive law students; and a weekend seminar for college graduates that have been accepted into an ABA-accredited law school. Most of the programs are funded by the U.S. Dept. of Education at no cost to the participants. For more information, visit cleoscholars.com
The following organizations can provide advice and help to candidates of diverse backgrounds applying to law school:
• ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession This Commission sponsors the ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship which grants 20 incoming diverse law students $15,000 of financial assistance over the course of their three years in law school. The application deadline is usually at the beginning of March so visit the link above for application information.
• Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) trains students in public interest law and encourages them to use their legal skills to serve the community.
• Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) annually selects students who are enrolled in an American Bar Association-accredited law school to receive financial scholarships.
• Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) In addition to other resources and programs, MALDEF’s Law School Scholarship Program awards scholarships of varying amounts to several students each year based on their commitment to serve the Latino community through law; their past achievement and potential for achievement; and their financial need.
• NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund This organization also offers several scholarship programs to both undergraduates and law students.
• National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) In addition to a law student association and summer internship program, the NAPABA Law Foundation awards scholarships each fall to law students who demonstrate a commitment to serve or contribute to the Asian Pacific American community as future leaders.
• National Black Law Student Association (NBLSA) has an active Education and Career Development Section and College Student Division which oversees several scholarship programs as well as provides extensive pre-law support including one-day “law camps” providing information about the law school application process; a law school fair; and a mentoring program.
• Native American Rights Fund (NARF) The Native American Rights Fund is committed to the professional development of new attorneys in the field of Indian law. Each year NARF conducts a nationwide search for law school students to participate in its clerkship and internship programs in all three of its offices.
• Latino Justice – latinojustice.org – The Education Division is committed to achieving diversity in the legal progression through a variety of programs, services and events including a winter and summer week-long intensive on the law school admissions process; individual prelaw counseling and workshops for prospective and newly admitted law students.