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Diverse: Issues In Higher Education Highlights 3+3 Agreement with HBCU

Posted on Monday 6/3/2019
Syracuse University College of Law

Syracuse Law Furthers Commitment to Access, Diversity in Legal Profession

(Diverseeducation.com | June 1, 2019) A new agreement between Syracuse University College of Law and Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College will fulfill a dual objective: diversifying the student body of the law school – and thus the legal profession – while also providing a pipeline for students from the three historically Black institutions to accelerate the time to their bachelor’s and juris doctor degrees.

The 3+3 agreement with the Atlanta University Center (AUC) schools would decrease the time it takes for students to earn their J.D. from seven years to six, reducing the cost of their education and allowing them to enter the workforce sooner. As part of Syracuse’s commitment to access and diversity in legal education, law school officials note that the program will additionally provide comprehensive outreach and supports to AUC students earlier in their higher education journey.

“While students are in this program – and they can indicate their interest in participating in this program as soon as they begin their undergraduate program – we intend to provide for them the kind of exposure to the practice and the profession, to lawyers that will help them master some of the subtle things about the way that law practice works, the way that law firms work [and] a lot of the language and the lingo that’s related to law so that they’re better prepared to be in law school and have a little bit of a leg up,” said Craig M. Boise, dean and professor of law at the Syracuse University College of Law.

Further, selected students will receive scholarships to offset the cost of their legal education, preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) and the opportunity to travel to Syracuse to get a sense of where “they will hopefully be studying law,” Boise said. Officials similarly anticipate giving AUC students access to Syracuse Law’s alumni base in Atlanta so they can shadow lawyers in practice or secure internships.

Another component of the new 3+3 agreement will be programming on “hot topics” in law. Officials aim for Syracuse law faculty members to travel to Atlanta to conduct presentations with students; some presentations may be day-long events, Boise said.

“We look forward to exploring those ideas with our partner schools as we move forward and as this program grows and expands,” he said. “We are not just saying, ‘Here we are. Come to the law school after your third year of undergrad,’” he said. “But we really want to provide assistance to students in making the transition into legal education.”

Administrators from the Atlanta HBCUs hailed the partnership with Syracuse for its mutual objective to boost their students’ academic and career success in the legal realm while saving them money.

“I am excited by the opportunities that this program will provide for our students who are interested in pursuing careers in law,” said Dr. Matthew B. Platt, chair and associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Morehouse. “This program is a testament to Dean Boise’s and Syracuse’s commitment to the recruitment of Black students, and I hope it serves as a model for law schools across the nation" ...

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