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Bennett, A&T to co-host summit for aspiring lawyers

By Laurie D. Willis

Bennett College News Service

GREENSBORO – Aspiring lawyers will converge on Bennett College on Sept. 15 for the National HBCU Pre-Law Summit and Law Expo 2017.

Founded by Evangeline M. Mitchell, the summit and expo focuses on empowering historically black colleges and university students and graduates who are interested in attending law school and becoming lawyers by addressing the unique issues, concerns and challenges facing them.

The two-day summit will expose students to game-changing information, resources and connections designed to help them achieve success in a demanding educational endeavor and tough field that’s in need of diversity. In short, the summit will give students a chance to meet with lawyers to learn relevant information they need to know before applying to law school.

Attendees will gather in Bennett’s Global Learning Center, 521 Gorrell St., for the first day of the summit. On day two attendees will gather inside the Alumni-Foundation Event Center on North Carolina A&T State University’s campus.
Additionally, on Sept. 14, participants have the option to tour North Carolina law schools, and on Sept. 17, participants have the option to go on an informal Greensboro Civil Rights/African-American History tour.
The importance of the summit cannot be understated. It will include panel discussions on law school admission, the Law School Admission Test, the law school experience, legal careers, law degrees and entrepreneurship – as well as workshops on personal statements, diversity statements and financing a legal education.

“When I was a student attending HBCU Prairie View A&M University many years ago, I did not know any law students or lawyers or have anyone to help me navigate the process of getting into law school,” Mitchell said in a written statement. “The extent of my pre-law assistance was attending a couple of pre-law society events where I just picked up materials from law schools and did some practice LSAT questions one Saturday.

“Therefore, despite high grades, earning a 4.0 in my major and graduating with a magna cum laude distinction for a 3.8+ GPA, and doing what I thought were all of the ‘right’ things, I was still at a disadvantage and didn’t know it,” Mitchell continued. “As a result, I almost didn’t get into law school…”

Mitchell eventually earned her doctorate of jurisprudence from the University of Iowa College of Law. She also has a masters of education with a concentration in administration, planning and social policy from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. In part because of what she endured prior to getting into law school, Mitchell vowed to do everything she could to help others with similar aspirations get the information they need; thus she created the National HBCU Pre-Law Summit and Law Expo.

This year’s summit will include keynote speakers from many renowned law professionals, including Emily M. Dickens, senior vice president, general counsel and chief relationship officer of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Dr. Aaron N. Taylor, senior vice president, executive director of the Center for Legal Education Excellence, AccessLex Institute; and Demetra L. Liggins, partner of Thompson Knight and co-founder of Corporate homie.

There will also be special, unprecedented talks featuring deans from HBCU law schools, including John K. Pierre, chancellor and Vanue B. Lacour Endowed Professor of Law at the Southern University Law Center; Phyllis Craig-Taylor, dean and professor of Law at North Carolina Central University; and Reginald McGahee, associate dean of student affairs and admissions at Howard University School of Law, among others. The panel of HBCU deans will be moderated by Jamal Watson, executive editor of “Diverse Issues in Higher Education.”

Gwendolyn M. Bookman, Bennett’s interim dean of the division of arts and sciences, said she’s excited about the summit and the impact it can have on Bennett students and those from other area colleges and universities.

“Bennett students and faculty advisers have participated in the Summit for several years and we have found it to be one of the most important conferences for our pre-law students to attend,” Bookman said.

For more information about the National HBCU Pre-Law Summit and Law Expo 2017,  contact Gwendolyn Bookman at 336-517-2106 or gbookman@bennett.edu.

 

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