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Summer institute, pilot project aim to increase diversity at Drake Law

December 22, 2015

The news in brief:
• Summer institute aims to expand legal education opportunities for minority, low-income, and disadvantaged groups.
• Drake Law agrees to enroll five minority students who participate in the summer institute and an additional four-day seminar.

Students in the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute when it was last held on Drake's campus in 2011.

Students in the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute when it was last held on Drake's campus in 2011.

Drake University Law School has been selected to host the 2016 Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO) Pre-law Summer Institute.

The institute will be held June 5-July 2, 2016. Drake last hosted the event in 2011.

CLEO is committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities to minority, low-income, and disadvantaged groups.

The program recruits individuals who have a strong desire to join the legal profession, including students who have already been accepted into law school as well as those who may need placement assistance.

More than 300 students apply each year for 40 spots in the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute. The institute teaches students how to read and brief court opinions; prepare for law school exams; conquer the workload and stress in law school; establish productive study groups; and more.

Students also participate in simulated law school classes taught by law professors and build a network of other successful law students.

“This is a unique and valuable diversity initiative that allows Drake Law School to host talented students from across the nation and help them take their first step toward their legal career,” said Erin Lain, Drake Law School assistant dean for academic services. “We are excited to continue our relationship with CLEO, host the 2016 institute, and be a part of innovative new ways to diversify the legal profession.”

In addition, Drake is one of four partner law schools involved in a pilot program called CLEO Legally Inspired Cohort (CLIC).

CLIC is an experimental program funded by a grant to CLEO that aims to increase access to law school for minority students.

Four law schools – Drake Law School, Vermont Law School, University of Idaho College of Law, and William Mitchell College of Law – will each enroll five students who have successfully completed the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute as well as a CLIC four-day seminar.

The CLIC Scholars will work together throughout the summer institute, with the intention of enrolling at one of the four law schools in the fall. Once enrolled in law school, the students will receive continuous academic, financial, and other support services during their first year of study.

“CLEO has long held the notion that prepared diverse students make successful lawyers. This grant will give us a chance to present our case, while providing 20 more minority, low-income, or disadvantaged participants access to a good legal education,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, chief executive officer of CLEO, in a press release.

About CLEO:
Founded in 1968, when the number of lawyers of color was less than 1 percent, CLEO has produced more than 10,000 alumni who have excelled in every area of the legal profession, including judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, politicians, and more.

In addition to the Pre-Law Summer Institute, CLEO provides services to high school, pre-law, and law school students that include mentoring, placement assistance, academic counseling and support, scholarships, and bar preparation orientation.

For more information about CLEO and its programs, visit www.cleoscholars.org.