Why does diversity matter?
In the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger decision, the U.S. Supreme Court held that promoting diversity in law school admissions is a compelling government interest. Diversity is essential to a school's educational mission, promotes learning outcomes, better prepares students for a diverse workforce and society, and improves professional preparation. The Court observed, "Major American businesses have made clear the skills needed in today's increasingly global marketplace can only be developed through exposure to widely diverse people, cultures, ideas and viewpoints." The Court emphasized the point of the United States government that public institutions of higher education must remain open to "all segments of American society, including people of all races and ethnicities." The American Bar Association has identified diversity as one of its key priorities.
What is the role of diversity and inclusion with respect to pre-law at GVSU?
GVSU is a diverse institution, and diversity and inclusion are key components of GVSU's mission. (Click here for GVSU's list of diversity-related links.) As students focus intensely on the study of law once they are in law school, a liberal undergraduate education is the critical component in promoting intellectual and cultural diversity. Following the recommendations of the Law School Admissions Council, GVSU does not have a single pre-law major. Through pre-law advising and the Law Society student organization, GVSU strives to help students of any major who are interested in attending law school or becoming involved in the legal profession in other ways such as being a paralegal.
How can the pre-law advisors help with diversity?
Three professors at GVSU work as pre-law advisors. (See GVSU Pre-law website for contact information.) The pre-law advisors are available for individual advising regarding course and major selection, LSAT preparation, the law school application process, and networking. Many law schools request students to reflect on diversity in their personal statements, and students are encouraged to consult with a pre-law advisor while working on their application essays.
What are some resources for diversity scholarships and opportunities?
Check fastweb.com for general scholarship information.
• ABA Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
• Black Excel is a website geared towards African American students, but has a good list of links for all types of scholarships
• The Council on Legal Education Opportunity has a list of Financial Aid Programs for Minorities and Disadvantaged Students in Law School
• FastWeb: Free scholarship and college searches, and financial aid tools.
• FindAid! has a page for specifically for minority students
• Gates Millenium Scholars Program
• Hispanic College Fund
• The Hispanic Lawyers of Illinois offer a scholarship for first year law students.
• National Black Law Students Association has scholarships listed on their site.
• National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Law Foundation has scholarships available
• Practicing attorneys for Law Students Program, Inc. PALS matches minority law students with volunteer lawyers who serve as mentors to provide career guidance for minorities in the legal profession.
• Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund
• United Negro College Fund
• University of Texas Law's William Wayne Justice Center for Public Interest Law and the Baylor University School of Law have established the Equal Justice Scholarships.
Examples of programs available to help students transition to law school:
CLEO Six-Week Summer Institute: http://cleoscholars.com
NYU School of Law and Harvard Law are offering a pre-law preparation program called Trials: http://trials.atfoundation.org/index
University of Iowa Phillip G. Hubbard Prep Program: http://www.law.uiowa.edu/prospective/pre-law/hubbard.php
John Marshall Law School Legal Education Access Program: http://www.jmls.edu/diversity/programs/legal-education-access-program.php