Sponsored content by AccessLex
The legal profession is one of the least diverse professions in the United States — a reflection of the many legacies of exclusion in our educational systems and beyond that have existed to restrict access.
AccessLex Institute® seeks to broaden access and increase law school enrollment of underrepresented students with LexScholars by AccessLex®, an innovative diversity pipeline program. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing the most critical issues facing legal education, improving access to law school for all students, with an emphasis on historically underrepresented students, is a guiding principle. The goal is to see graduating law school cohorts reflect the diversity of the nation.
Over five years, LexScholars will provide more than 1,200 aspiring law students with resources and guidance to pursue their goal of attending law school. The program, launched last year, particularly targets aspiring students who possess potential for law school success but may be unlikely to gain admission due to unfavorable LSAT scores and/or undergraduate grades.
“The ‘ideal’ LexScholars participants have endured and are seeking to overcome multilayered disadvantages,” Aaron N. Taylor, Executive Director of the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence® and the principal architect behind the LexScholars by AccessLex® program has said. “And despite potential for success and a clear, demonstrated commitment to attending law school, they are unlikely to gain admission without targeted assistance.”
LexScholars participants receive a free online Kaplan LSAT course, comprehensive law school admission counseling, and ongoing access to financial education and law school informational resources. This year, 250 participants who plan to seek Fall 2022 law admission will be selected. LexScholars slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the earlier applicants submit all required materials, the better their chances of selection.
The program is designed to help identify obstacles that law school applicants from underrepresented backgrounds face and determine effective means of addressing those obstacles. Therefore, as a condition of participation, LexScholars participants are required to complete monthly surveys detailing their experiences and outcomes during the law school admission process. AccessLex researchers will use this information to aid the progression of participants, while also developing diversity pipeline models that will benefit legal education, the legal profession and society overall.
Law students from underrepresented backgrounds often become lawyers who represent underserved people and interests. The impact of this cannot be overstated. Scores of people across the country would benefit greatly from gaining access to highly trained attorneys and other public servants. Further, a legal education offers training that is unmatched in its quality, portability and flexibility, so a law degree can be advantageous even for those who do not aspire to practice law. Individuals whose trajectories lead them to public policy, politics or education will see their career prospects bolstered by their legal education. And communities with increased numbers of educated, employed and civic-minded residents are stronger for that.
“LexScholars is premised on changing lives, communities and our society,” Dr. Taylor added, “We are looking to invest in the hopes and dreams of aspiring law students now, while working to create better, more equitable systems for the future.”
The LexScholars by AccessLex® application opens on March 15. For more information, please visit AccessLex.org/lexscholars.