Jameasha Pierce was ready for law school – she just wasn’t sure her application was law-school ready.
In the first few months of Tulane Law’s new pipeline program for minority college students who want to go to law school, Pierce received enough feedback – and the confidence – to submit her application to the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville.
She was accepted in July, making her the first student to enter law school under the innovative program, which launched this summer under a $100,000 grant through the competitive LSAC Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program.
“The mentorship review in the program really gave me the confidence to just go ahead and submit my application, not wait another year,” said Pierce recently in between her first-year law classes. “The program had amazing panels which showed me how everyone comes with their own passion for the law, and while it is rigorous, it is something I felt I could do.”
The program grants are awarded annually by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) to a select number of law schools around the U.S. that provide aspiring law students from underrepresented groups a fully immersive experience to prepare them for success in law school.
In its first year, Tulane Law hosted 25 students this summer who will be finishing their applications, many of them jumping into a profession they didn’t think attainable.
“The program is really a good tool for many people and is beneficial especially if you don’t have someone in your family who went to law school,” said Pierce. “This helps you bridge the gap for minorities who remain underrepresented in the field, and it empowers them and the profession.”
Students in the nine-month program receive support in the law school application process, professional development and one-on-one mentorship with attorneys and law students working with the program. This summer Pierce began putting the final touches on her application, including a personal statement.
Students in the program also get assistance in improving their writing and communications skills and networking opportunities as well as primers on the U.S. legal system and navigating law school. Participating students will finish the program with an application package as well as a sense of confidence about a future legal career, said Morgan Jackson (L’16), who runs the Tulane Law LSAC PLUS program.
“This is the kind of program my peers and I wish we had when considering law school. All of our participants will be first-generation attorneys, and most do not personally know any attorneys,” said Jackson. “After completing this program, they will have an invaluable network of attorneys, judges, mentors, and peers they can call on throughout their careers. Programs like this one help set up students for success in law school and beyond.”
The program targets diverse undergraduates in the New Orleans area and beyond who are about a year away from applying to law school; they meet both online and on campus.
In order to receive the grant, Tulane appealed to LSAC in its grant application to consider the significant impact New Orleans students of color have faced in the wake of a pandemic, racial disparities, and disasters that all affected the city in recent years.
Tulane is eligible to receive program funding for another year. The LSAC PLUS Program specifically addresses the challenges faced by underrepresented students on the path to law school and the legal profession, offering selected participants a window into what law school is really like while providing supportive insights about the law school enrollment journey.
In its initial year, Tulane joined Boston University School of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law and Seattle University School of Law in receiving grants to fund their own 2022 LSAC PLUS Programs.