As part of its continued efforts to foster greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession, Chapman University and its Dale E. Fowler School of Law recently joined the California Leadership-Access-Workforce (Cal LAW) Pathways program as one of its institutional partners. The announcement was made at the organization’s sixth annual Pathways to Law Summit on February 19.
“California LAW Pathways was created to help close the significant gap found between the diversity of California population and that of its legal profession,” said California LAW Pathways Executive Director Emeritus Ruthe Catolico Ashley. “We’re delighted to have Chapman University and its law school joining as a program partner to further our mission.”
The Cal LAW Community College Pathway to Law School initiative is a 2+2+3 program that creates a clear educational pipeline for diverse students from high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions into law schools or law-related careers.
“Joining this pathway program allows us to offer a great opportunity to transfer students looking to begin their undergraduate and law school experiences at Chapman University,” said Marcela Mejia-Martinez, Chapman’s Assistant Vice President of Admission. “We’re excited to work with our community college and law school partners on welcoming and supporting those students, and helping them launch their legal careers.”
Chapman is the 10th undergraduate university and law school to be invited into the program, where it joins such institutions as University of California – Berkeley, Loyola Marymount University, and Pepperdine University.
“We are honored to join so many distinguished community colleges, universities, and law schools that are part of the premier pipeline program for California,” said Justin Cruz, Assistant Dean for Admissions and Diversity Initiatives at the Fowler School of Law. “We’re grateful to have this opportunity to work together to build a more diverse pipeline to the legal profession.”
To enhance its California LAW Pathways partnership, the Fowler School of Law is establishing a special scholarship fund that will make additional financial assistance available to eligible students who matriculate through the pipeline program.
“Having attorneys and judges that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve makes for a more just and equitable legal system,” Fowler School of Law Dean Matt Parlow said. “This is why it is so important for us to help enhance opportunities for students from diverse populations that have traditionally been underrepresented in the legal profession.”
In addition to the statewide Pathways program, the Fowler School of Law organizes and participates in a variety of local pipeline programs to help achieve greater diversity in the field of law, partnering with local elementary schools and high schools, as well as community colleges and undergraduate institutions. The law school also offers scholarships for first-generation college students, and through its First Generation Scholars Program, students are invited to participate in workshops, seminars, and social events to support their academic success and professional development.
“I’m proud of the numerous ways we continue to put our commitment to diversifying the legal profession into action,” said Parlow. “I am grateful to Dean Cruz and all of our colleagues in the law school admissions office, as well as those in our administration and the undergraduate admissions office, who worked together to bring about this partnership. We’re looking forward to being a part of this important pipeline program.”