Undergrads Karla Cruz, who arrived in America three years ago from the Dominican Republic, is studying business at a community college, but she is considering law school so she can “represent the hard-working Hispanic people, like myself, who come to this country looking for a better future."
Cruz was among 20 college students who participated in a summer Law School Admission Council (LSAC) DiscoverLaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program at Suffolk University. The program—the only one of its kind in New England—introduces traditionally underrepresented students to the rigors of legal studies and nurtures their desire to join the profession.
Classes and contacts
The college freshmen and sophomores took intensive classes designed by Suffolk University Law School faculty and attended special events, including a personal address by Chief Justice Roderick Ireland at the Supreme Judicial Court, meetings with Suffolk Law alumni now practicing in the field, and a trip to hear U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder deliver the keynote speech at a civil rights symposium.
Their summer studies culminated in a moot court competition, during which they argued the merits of a case before Suffolk Law faculty members and judges.
Future leaders in the law
"It is obvious that all of the people who helped put this summer program together care about diversity in the legal profession," said Kevin Claybren, a student from the University of North Carolina.
Said Cruz: "Having such diverse and experienced law professors made me feel like I belonged."
Law School Dean Camille Nelson, who tasked the Law School's Faculty Diversity Committee with finding ways to attract more students from diverse communities to Suffolk, is delighted with the program's successful first summer.
"This is a manifestation of our mission, which combines excellence, opportunity, and access," she said. "Through this program, college students have the opportunity to learn not only legal concepts, but also about themselves and their future roles as leaders in the law."