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Law School Hosts Annual Diversity Day and Admissions Fair

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On Saturday, November 9, 2013, 40 students of color and 43 law schools from across the country took part in The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development’s annual Diversity Day and Admissions Fair. Celebrating its fifth anniversary,   the day-long event offers a unique opportunity for participants in the Ronald H. Brown Prep Program for College Students to explore the law school admissions process and to interview with law school admissions officers.

The Center’s flagship pipeline initiative, the Prep Program aims to encourage college sophomores and juniors from underrepresented backgrounds — often first in their family to attend college — to apply to law school and pursue the study and practice of law. In recent years, Prep Program participants have increased their LSAT scores by an average of 10 points. More importantly, they have earned millions of dollars in scholarships. In 2011, the American Bar Association Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline named the Prep Program the recipient of its Alexander Award for Excellence in Pipeline Diversity.

This year’s Diversity Day and Admissions Fair opened with welcome remarks from The RHB Center’s director, Professor Leonard M. Baynes, who encouraged the students to “stay strong in pursuing their dreams.” After a video presentation on the work of the Center, Janai S. Nelson — Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Scholarship — moderated a panel program titled “What Makes Your Law School Application Special.” During this panel, which simulated an admissions committee meeting, the students received insight into how an admissions committee might evaluate and make decisions about whether to admit, reject, or waitlist specific student files.

Guest speaker Camille Nelson, Dean and Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, then offered her perspective on being a professional woman of color in the legal profession, sharing that “it is always best to be yourself and to provide your unique perspective.” Her talk was a wonderful lead in to the general admissions fair, during which students had a chance to speak with representatives from the different law schools. The Prep Program’s college juniors ended their day with a special speed interview session.

The event marked another milestone moment for the Prep Program students, who receive ongoing guidance and mentoring from program faculty and administrators. As Hon. Jenny Rivera, Associate Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals, noted in her remarks at the Prep Program’s closing ceremony in August, there can be challenges along the path to the legal profession. But, often coming from diverse and underserved communities, the program’s students have great perspective and understanding to offer as lawyers, and the Prep Program for College Students is here to support them as they embark on this important journey.