UH Law Center reaches out to future generations of attorneys during Diversity Matters Day

– Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee speaks to college and high school students during Diversity Matters Day at the University of Houston Law Center.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee speaks to college and high school students during Diversity Matters Day at the University of Houston Law Center.

Oct. 23, 2018 - Nearly 300 high school and undergraduate college students received an inside look at the legal profession last week during Diversity Matters Day in Krost Hall at the University of Houston Law Center. The event was geared toward racially and ethnically diverse high school and college students in an effort to diversify the legal profession.

Associate Dean for Student Affairs Sondra Tennessee welcomed the students and shared her four Ps to success – plan, prioritize, publicize, and persist.

"It's been said that whatever you're doing between age 15 and 25 is what you'll be doing for the rest of your life," Tennessee said. "That doesn't mean that you have to know what you are going to do today, but you are establishing the foundation of how you are going to get there.

"So are you going to be a person that works on purpose? Are you a person who's prepared? Do you make the connections and publicize what you're interested in? And then do you project those things? Those are the things you can do now that are going to help you succeed in your goals."

Assistant Dean for Admissions Pilar Mensah led off the program with a presentation on the resources available to students at DiscoverLaw.org.

The following speaker was Tiffany Tucker, Assistant Dean for Career Development, who encouraged students to maintain a professional presence when using social media platforms.

In an alumni panel discussion, Fermeen Fazal '00, Jolanda Jones '95 and Raymond Randle '97 shared their journeys to becoming successful lawyers. Jones told students to not be afraid to ask questions when they need clarification on a specific topic.

"We are designed to handle everything by ourselves all the time, and it is not a sign of weakness when you need to ask help from somebody," Jones said. "Whatever law school you go to, you're going to get out of it what you put into it and you can get a very good legal education."

Attendees saw a glimpse into courtroom litigating as Law Center staff held a mock trial on the fictional case, Cinderella v. Estate of Padre Mia Tremaine.

Mensah then provided an overview of the law school admissions process.

The event concluded with an introduction to the Law Center's award-winning Pre-Law Pipeline Program by Program Manager Kristen Guiseppi. The program, which will enter its fifth year in Summer 2019, was established by Dean Leonard M. Baynes and Guiseppi. Professor Meredith J. Duncan, director of Metropolitan Programs, oversees the program.

The eight-week summer course is designed to increase diversity among law school applicants and to provide students from low-income, first generation, and underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to seriously consider a legal education. The program divides students into two tracks — LSAC's DiscoverLaw.Org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program and Scholar II.

"Each year we attempt to grow our program and reach as many students as possible," Mensah said. "I was delighted to see so many young people interested in learning more about law school and the legal profession.  The students were attentive, enthusiastic, and asked insightful questions of our presenters and panelists."   

"Thanks to our continued sponsorship through LSAC, we hosted another successful event with an attendance of approximately 300 students," Guiseppi added. "We enjoyed providing this much-needed resource to motivated high school and undergraduate students interested in learning about law school and the possibility of pursuing a legal career."

Local students learned about the versatility of a law degree during Diversity Matters Day in Krost Hall.

Local students learned about the versatility of a law degree during Diversity Matters Day in Krost Hall.

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