IU Law creates pipeline to law school for underrepresented groups

Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis launched Pathway to the Law, a three-year online pilot program designed to create a pipeline for underrepresented undergraduate students into legal education.

Pathway to the Law is funded with a $250,000 grant from the American Bar Association. The program will begin next spring at IU McKinney Law with an initial class of 50 undergraduate students, giving them an opportunity to develop skills in critical thinking, reading comprehension and test prep strategies.

Students will also be introduced to the legal profession with access to mentors and networking opportunities.

“I am very proud that the IU McKinney School of Law is at the forefront of national efforts to achieve greater inclusion and diversity in the legal profession,” said Andrew R. Klein, dean of the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law in a press release. “We are excited to work with the ABA, utilizing both online resources and a personal approach to introduce a new generation of talented students to the field of law.” 

According to a press release, the goal of Pathway to the Law is to create a metrics-driven pipeline model that colleges and law schools nationwide can implement to increase diversity in the legal profession. Underrepresented groups targeted by the program include women, ethnic and racial minorities, first-generation college students and lower-wealth students.

Law school staff and partner undergraduate institutions will teach the pilot program courses, which include Introduction to the Legal Profession, Legal Writing Skills, Critical Thinking and Comprehension Skills and Advanced Critical Thinking and Comprehension Skills.

Though the courses are taught online, the content of the courses will include interaction between the students and the professors. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with lawyers, current law students and other law school faculty members.

“For students in the law program, it is an excellent opportunity to get the kind of experience, learning and skills that will help them get into law school, succeed in law school, pass the bar and have a successful legal career,” IU McKinney vice dean Antony Page told The Indiana Lawyer. 

If the pilot program is successful at IU McKinney Law, the ABA may expand the program nationally.

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