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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Academics & Research

Law Center Pipeline Program introduces new student plans


The Law Center Pipeline Program aims to increase diversity in law school applicants. | Kathryn Lenihan/The Cougar

The Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Program is launching two new additions to the department that are set to start early June. 

The two expansions include the UH Cougar Law Program and the Working Professional Scholar Program, both funded by the Office of the Provost.  

The Cougar Law Program is for current UH students or recent graduates who are interested in attending the UHLC without submitting an LSAT score.

In the program, students go through an eight-week summer course from June 1 until July 24 that includes introductory law school classes, legal writing and trial advocacy. 

The Working Professionals Scholar Program was created for college graduates or working professionals who are interested in pursuing a law degree.

They will be introduced to first-year law school classes that include Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property and Torts.

Additionally, the Working Professional Scholar Program participants will learn more about the Law Center’s admissions policies and the LSAT; the program plans to continue into the fall. 

“Attending the programs (are) important because we offer an invaluable insight into a field that is academically rigorous and intellectually challenging with the hope that our scholars will be equipped with the tools to be fully prepared for its demands,” said Program Director Kristen Guiseppi.  

The two programs’ application deadline was in May. However, applications are being accepted on a rolling basis.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, all of the programs are currently online and will continue to provide resources and pre-law preparatory support to students.

Beyond the new additional programs, the Law Center’s Pre-Law Pipeline Program has been around for six years and has served 169 undergraduate students and annually accepts 45 students. 

“I joined the UHLC Pre-Law Pipeline Program because I wanted to gain insight into the workings of the law, and figure out whether it was something I wanted to pursue,” said finance junior Sakethram Desabhotla.

Over time graduates from the program have been awarded more than $2 million in law school scholarships. 

“We want to ensure that we continue to provide the high-quality and affordable educational options that our (students) have become accustomed to at UH,” Guiseppi said. 

The Pipeline Program caters towards students who are undergraduate, first-generation, low income or members of groups underrepresented in the legal profession.

They provide law school preparatory resources such as LSAT preparation, introductory law school classes, internships and professional development sessions. 

“This program was one of the most foundational legal experiences I have had throughout my undergraduate career … and even got an internship to gain practical experience in the field,” Desabhotla said.

Within the Pipeline Program, there are two tracks called Scholar I and Scholar II during the summer months. These tracks are meant for different students depending on far they are in their collegiate career. 

Scholar I is designed for students in their first two years of college. They attend a five-week summer course taught by the Law Center faculty on legal writing, research and trial advocacy. The student then has a three-week internship with different local law firms and legal organizations.

Scholar II is for third-year students. The course is LSAT-focused and has one-on-one sessions and workshops on writing personal statements, diversity statements and resumes appropriate for submission to law school.

“(The Pipeline) program made me realize that I have a passion for the law, and instilled within me a drive to become a lawyer,” Desabhotla said. 

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