This year’s conference keynote speakers were Angela Olivia Burton, Esq., Director of Quality Enhancement, Parent Representation, New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services, Paula T. Edgar, Esq., Chief Diversity Officer and Admissions Specialist, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, New York Law School, Lori L. Lorenzo, Esq., Deputy Director, Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Miguel Alexander Pozo, Esq., President, Hispanic National Bar Association and Partner, Lowenstein Sandler, and Benjamin F. Wilson, Esq., Managing Principal, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. Special guests were Kent D. Lollis, Esq., Executive Director for Diversity Initiatives, Law School Admission Council and Monica G. Parham, Esq., President, Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals and Counsel, Crowell & Moring LLP.
Panels covered critical topics including pre-law diversity programs and initiatives, diversity and law school admission, financing a legal education, the diverse law student experience, diversity leadership in American law schools, and diversity in the legal profession. These panels featured over 60 knowledgeable law students, lawyers, and law school, non-profit and educational company administrators. Further, participants were able to take advantage of a Law School Admission Test (LSAT) test-taking strategies workshop presented by the Princeton Review, and a mock law school class taught by Professor Carla D. Pratt of the Penn State University Dickinson School of Law. Moreover, diversity leadership training seminars on cultural competence and cross-cultural coalition building were conducted by Dr. Luiza Dreasher, Assistant Dean and Director for the Office of Multicultural and International Inclusion, William Mitchell College of Law and Dr. Timothy E. Sams, Vice President of Student Life, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Additionally, participants were able to visit both the United States Capitol building and the Supreme Court of the United States, and attend a pizza dinner and meet and greet, and the conference launch reception and networking mixer at the Georgetown University Law Center. The entire conference was offered completely free of charge.
The conference also featured a law school recruitment and diversity resources fair so that pre-law students could obtain information on a variety of law schools, as well as programs, services and organizations that could assist them along their journeys to becoming lawyers. Participating law schools included: American University Washington College of Law, Barry University School of Law, Boston College Law School, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, Charlotte School of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology, City University of New York Law School, George Mason University School of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Georgia State University College of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Howard University School of Law, Loyola Law School Los Angeles, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Marquette University Law School, Northeastern University School of Law, Northern Illinois University College of Law, Oklahoma City University School of Law, Pennsylvania State University The Dickinson School of Law, Pennsylvania State University The Dickinson School of Law, Saint Louis University School of Law, Southwestern Law School – Los Angeles, The John Marshall Law School (Chicago, Illinois), Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center, University of Arkansas at Little Rock Bowen School of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, University of Iowa College of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, University of Massachusetts School of Law – Dartmouth, University of Mississippi School of Law, University of San Francisco School of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, Vermont Law School, Villanova University School of Law, Widener University School of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law.
Partners and diversity resource fair participants included the Advantage Testing Foundation, TRIALS (Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools), Asian Pacific American Bar Association of DC, Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund, the Charles Hamilton Houston Law School Preparatory Institute, Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Hispanic National Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Foundation, HBCU Connect, Law School Admission Council’s DiscoverLaw.org, National Bar Association, New York City Bar Association Office for Diversity and Inclusion, National Black Law Students Association, National Latina/o Law Students Association, The Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia, Ms. JD, Lawyers of Color, The Princeton Review, and the University of Texas at El Paso Law School Preparation Institute.
Sponsors that helped to make this groundbreaking event possible are Baker Botts LLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Proskauer, DLA Piper, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Perkins Coie LLP, Charlotte School of Law, Advantage Testing Foundation, and Touro Law Center. The official media partner was the MJWJ Global Radio Network.
The conference, the only major national conference of its kind geared specifically to prospective diverse law students and helping to prepare them to be outstanding law students and leaders in diversity, was a great success. The launch event received overflowing praise and consistent high marks from attendees.
The second annual event, which promises to be bigger and better, is tentatively scheduled to take place from Friday, April 10, 2015 to Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Washington, DC. For more information and updates, please visit the official conference website at http://www.diversityprelawconference.org.