DEAN LEONARD M. BAYNES
This is the second Issue of Aspiring Lawyer magazine. It is designed to provide helpful hints and advice to students who aspire to be lawyers. Our goal for the publication is to inform students of the various pathways to success in achieving a law degree. We want to make sure that the process of applying to law school is transparent and that college students of all backgrounds have the knowledge and information to succeed In the admissions process.
I first must share with you my own personal journey to the legal profession. I am a first-generation college student whose parents were immigrants to the U.S. from the small Caribbean island chain of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. My parents were very smart, hardworking, and entrepreneurial, but were not college educated. In fact, my father never completed high school and instead apprenticed as a tailor before coming to the U.S. My parents believed in education which made all the difference in my life. But for the power of legal education, I would not be dean of one of the leading law schools in the United States today. But I always knew that I was talented, and I was lucky that there were those around me including teachers and my fellow students who provided me with the information that they had that allowed me to succeed. I recognize that many others are not as fortunate as I was to have access to crucial information that aided my success. I recognize that there are many talented young people like me who did not have the good fortune to have been guided to make the right choices in their career journey.
During my career, I’ve seen too many young people give up on their dream to become a lawyer because they think that the LSAT is too hard, or they prioritize working full time while in college and don’t focus on keeping the GPA high or don’t develop relationships with faculty who can write important letters of recommendation or don’t line anyone up who can critically review their very important personal statement, all of which are parts of the application process. They sometimes make uninformed choices that disadvantage their law school application.
Aspiring Lawyer magazine is designed to complement UH Law Center’s award-winning PreLaw Pipeline Program, which is a race-neutral program designed to increase the representation of law students from low income, first generation, and underrepresented backgrounds. The Pipeline Program has five tracks and a track record of excellence. Over the past 8 years, 140 scholars have been accepted to law school and have been awarded over $11 million in scholarship funds. College students from over 100 undergraduate institutions have participated in the Program during its lifespan. College students who participate in the program see a median LSAT score increase range of 6–14 points significantly enhancing their opportunities in being accepted to law schools of their choice.
Given that that UHLC PreLaw Pipeline Program has a limited enrollment, UH Law Center has published this magazine to provide students who are not admitted to our programs (as well as others who are considering law as a career) from these backgrounds with the tools that they need to succeed. We believe that Aspiring Lawyer Magazine will enhance Pre-Law and current students’ success in the law school application process as well as the legal profession.
Given the recent Supreme Court opinion overturning the use of race in higher education admissions, it is even more vital that we work to produce this magazine for aspiring lawyers of all backgrounds, so that as many people as possible know that a legal education is within their reach and to help them achieve their dreams.
Leonard M. Baynes
Dean, Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Chair, and Professor of Law
University of Houston Law Center
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Houston, TX 77204-6060
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