Walmart To Provide $150,000 for School of Law Diversity Program

Dean Leeds receives check from Executive Vice President and General Counsel Karen Roberts.
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Dean Leeds receives check from Executive Vice President and General Counsel Karen Roberts.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Walmart Legal Department has committed $50,000 per year for the next three years to support the University of Arkansas School of Law’s existing diversity program.

The Summer Pre-law Program Arkansas – SPPARK – is an annual program designed to expand diversity in law schools and in the legal profession by providing a pipeline for underrepresented population groups to enter law school. During the in-residence program, rising college juniors and seniors from underrepresented population groups are introduced to the legal profession and trained in strategies for taking the law school entrance exam, known as the LSAT. 

The primary goal is to increase diversity in the legal profession by encouraging underrepresented populations to consider careers in law and prepare them for admission to law school. 

“We are thankful for Walmart’s tremendous generosity for SPPARK,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. “This is an established program that is making a real difference, and Walmart’s support gives it the opportunity to continue and to grow.”

“The legal profession has trailed most others in attracting, retaining and advancing diverse talent,” said Karen Roberts, executive vice president and general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “Through the leadership of Dean Stacy Leeds, the University of Arkansas Law School has created a successful program that is attracting more diverse students and making an impact by combining law school training with practical law exposure through interactive sessions with courts, law firms and corporate law departments like Walmart’s. We are proud to support such a meaningful program.”

The law school’s summer pre-law program was initially established in 2012 through a grant from the Law School Admission Council. The University of Arkansas School of Law has been able to continue the program with independent funds, a rare occurrence among the LSAC-funded programs.  Approximately 80 students have successfully completed the program since it began. 

The program has two distinct components: traditional curriculum and professional development. The curriculum component introduces students to the feel of law school coursework and develops critical thinking, problem solving and oral and written communications skills. The professional development component provides students with practical skills in resume building, interviewing for jobs, applying for law school and networking with lawyers, judges and business leaders.

About University of Arkansas School of Law: The University of Arkansas School of Law prepares students for success through a challenging curriculum taught by nationally recognized faculty, unique service opportunities and a close-knit community that puts students first. With alumni in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, two territories and 20 countries, it has been ranked among the top 10 "Values in Legal Education" by the National Jurist magazine for three consecutive years and is among the top 41 public law schools, according to U.S. News and World Report.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

About Walmart

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, nearly 260 million customers and members visit our 11,535 stores under 72 banners in 28 countries and e-commerce websites in 11 countries. With fiscal year 2016 revenue of $482.1 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting, on Facebook at and on Twitter at Online merchandise sales are available at and


Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law

Randy Hargrove,
Walmart Media Relations contact
(800) 331-0085,


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