Law School Welcomes 23 Students for Intensive Summer Pre-law Program
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas School of Law admitted 23 students from 11 undergraduate institutions for its annual Summer Pre-law Program, known as SPPARK.
SPPARK is designed to expand diversity in law schools and in the legal profession by immersing members of underrepresented populations in a three-week law school experience. A grant from the AccessLex Institute supports the May 20-June 10 in-residence program.
Twelve Arkansans and students from Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Texas, will participate in professional development seminars and excursions, academic courses designed to simulate law school classes and preparation for the law school entrance exam, known as the LSAT. The curriculum helps to develop skills and networks students need to be admitted to law school, compete for the best scholarships, excel in their classes and become productive members of the legal community.
The law school's summer pre-law program was established in 2012 through a grant from the Law School Admission Council and Discoverlaw.org. 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.
According to the Access to Justice Commission's 2016 annual report, Arkansas has the fewest attorneys per capita of any state in the union, with one attorney for every 500 Arkansans, a deficit that is even more pronounced in rural communities. According to the American Bar Association's National Lawyer Population Survey from the same year, the legal profession in the United States was 64 percent male and 85 percent Caucasian.
Approximately 160 students have successfully completed the program since it began, and many have gone on to law schools across the country. Students from the first few classes have graduated from law school and started their legal careers.
The members of this year's class are from eight states and 11 undergraduate institutions. They range in age from 19-22, and more than half are first generation college students. The group includes a diverse mix of gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity.
Participants have varied acamdemic backgrounds with majors in administrative management, African American studies, broadcast journalism, business, criminal justice, cyber crime, economics, English, history, information systems, political science, psychology, social work and sociology.
Follow the SPPARK experience by going to the University of Arkansas School of Law Facebook page or searching #SPPARK19 on Twitter or Instagram.
Darinda Sharp, director of communications
School of Law
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