Lillie V. Wiley-Upshaw, the School of Law's vice dean for admissions and student life, was honored for her leadership in Discover Law, which introduces promising students of color to the possibilities of a legal career.
The National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York recognized Wiley with its Community Leader Award, which salutes organizations and individuals who “have made significant contributions to this region through … their special achievements in specific areas of community and professional life.”
Wiley is one of 23 honorees and one of three in the organization’s Education category. The awards was presented Jan. 27, 2016, at a luncheon in the Buffalo Convention Center. Hon. Rose H. Sconiers '73 was honored as well, in the Legal category.
Discover Law, which will enter its fourth year this summer, is the School of Law’s award-winning initiative to attract underrepresented minority students into the legal profession. Funded by the Law School Admission Council, the program targets students of color who have completed one or two years of college. They are in residence on the North Campus for a month over the summer. They take four rigorous courses taught by law professors, attend field trips to see the law in action, learn about the admissions process, and shadow a judge or attorney for a day.
“I’m incredibly grateful and humbled to be selected for this recognition,” Wiley says. “When you’re recognized, you really feel like everyone should be recognized. I stand as a representative of everyone at the law school, my staff, the faculty, the students themselves, the Minority Bar Association, everyone who’s been part of the program. It’s really a community project and truly a labor of love, and unfortunately very much needed in the profession.
“I feel so fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to play a small role in helping young people fulfill their dreams.”
Discover Law also received recognition in New York City by the New York Law Journal, whose Diversity Initiative Project recognizes commitment to creating a diverse legal community and sustained efforts to reach that goal. The legal publication honored “law firms and legal organizations that confronted barriers to attracting, training, retaining or supporting diverse talent, and created realistic initiatives to overcome those obstacles and provide ongoing opportunities for growth and advancement.”