Applications are now being accepted for a groundbreaking University at Buffalo School of Law program – one that has smoothed the path for promising undergraduates of color who are considering a legal career.
The program, called Discover Law Undergraduate Scholars Program, is in its fifth year. It brings 20 students to campus each summer for an intensive four-week immersion experience. They learn skills in critical thinking, close reading and analysis; meet with members of the legal and judicial community; receive coaching on law school readiness and the application process; and explore the possibilities of a life in the law.
The program’s goal is to open law school to minority groups that are underrepresented in the legal system, addressing a longstanding problem.
Applications are being accepted online. The application deadline is April 15.
The program, initially funded in part by the Law School Admission Council, is now supported by UB, the School of Law, community partners and many individual donors, law firms and foundations.
“The School of Law is very, very excited that we are going to be able to continue to host the program,” says Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, vice dean for admissions and student life, who coordinates the program. “We have had amazing success with the program, and we are grateful that we’re now able to fund the program on our own.”
According to Wiley-Upshaw, nearly 60 percent of the students who have been through the program have either enrolled in an accredited law school or say they intend to do so. They include seven students who have enrolled at UB School of Law.
Last year, the program was honored 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 Discover Law Scholars Program was recognized as being among “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.”
School of Law administrators are also expressing deep gratitude to the funders who have made next summer’s Discover Law Undergraduate Scholars Program possible, including the Minority Bar Association of Western New York. Further funding is needed, as well as volunteer support. To donate or volunteer, please contact Karen R. Kaczmarski, vice dean for philanthropy, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-645-6429.