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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

National HBCU Pre-Law Summit Provides Game-Changing Opportunities For HBCU Students and Alumni Interested in Becoming Lawyers

The Fifth Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit is the only major national event in the country designed especially to encourage the success of HBCU students and graduates interested in going to law school and becoming lawyers.

HBCU Pre-Law Summit Group

HBCU Pre-Law Summit Group

Atlanta, GA — The Fifth Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit & Law Expo 2018 Sponsored by AccessLex Institute is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 14, 2018 and Saturday, September 15, 2018 at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia. This vitally important and groundbreaking summit is the only major national outreach event of its kind in the entire country focused on empowering and supporting students and alumni of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) interested in pursuing the rigorous, demanding and obstacle-laden path of going to law school and becoming lawyers.

Students and graduates from HBCUs around the country are invited to come together in Atlanta to take part in two intensive and power-packed days of speeches, workshops, panels, and networking activities. According to the summit’s founder Attorney Evangeline Mitchell, who is also a graduate of an HBCU, this event stands apart because “it is the only one that provides all of the critical information that you would expect, but also openly addresses the unique issues and additional challenges that HBCU graduates choosing to attend PWI law schools face. It provides the type of practical advice and wisdom necessary to help these aspiring law students prepare for and overcome these realities.”

According to recent Law School Admission Council statistics, nearly 50% of African American law school applicants don’t get into any law school that they apply to. This event is determined to be one of those efforts created to help change that. According to Attorney Mitchell, “Attendees will be exposed to game-changing information, resources, and connections that they otherwise may not have access to. What they gain during this summit weekend is invaluable. If acted upon, it can absolutely make the difference between acceptance and rejection into law school – and future success beyond.”

“Our goal is that every attendee leave not just with critical information and resources, but, just as importantly, with a circle of support – peer accountability partners, and law student and lawyer contacts that they can start to build relationships with after the event to support them and help them navigate this challenging road ahead. We will stress and constantly reiterate the importance of being excellent, competitive and strategic applicants, but at the same time, working on building meaningful relationships as an equally important key to success.”

Over 100 lawyers, law students, and law school administrators will participate in the summit in various capacities with the singular and collective purpose of helping to empower and support students and graduates in their quest to becoming lawyers. One of the highlights of the summit is that it provides inspirational keynote sessions featuring several prominent and dynamic speakers. This year’s lineup of keynote speakers includes Joy White, Esq., Vice President, General Counsel, and Chief Compliance Officer, Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia), Xavier Donaldson, Esq., Partner, Donaldson & Chilliest LLP (New York, New York), Adria Kimbrough, Esq., Pre-Law Advisor, Center for Law and Public Interest, Dillard University (New Orleans, Louisiana), Reginald McGahee, J.D., Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Admissions, Howard University School of Law (Washington, DC), Mishonda Mosley, Esq., M.Div., D.Min., LL.M., Judge Advocate General’s Corps Officer, United States Navy (Fernandina Beach, Florida), Dr. Aaron N. Taylor, Esq., Executive Director, AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence (Washington, DC), and Marcus Sandifer, Esq., Associate, Alston & Bird LLP (New York, New York). All are graduates of historically Black colleges and universities.

In addition to the opportunity to hear from outstanding keynote speakers, there will be a number of special guest speakers, and Black lawyer and law student organizational leaders. Moreover, there will be an illuminating conversation featuring HBCU law school deans. Confirmed panelists include Danielle Holley-Walker, Esq., Dean and Professor of Law, Howard University School of Law, John C. Brittain, Esq., Acting Dean and Professor of Law, the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law, LeRoy Pernell, Esq., Interim Dean and Professor of Law, Florida A&M University College of Law, and Roederick White, Sr., Esq., Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Southern University Law Center. This special panel will be moderated by Dr. Jamal Watson, the Executive Editor of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.

The event will also include the National HBCU Pre-Law Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Awards Presentations. This year’s honorees, who are either graduates of or have made significant contributions to HBCUs, include Alvin O. Chambliss, Esq., Law Professor, Civil Rights Attorney and Education Advocate (Houston, Texas and Jackson, Mississippi), The Honorable Kimberly M. Esmond Adams, Judge, Superior Court of Fulton County, Atlanta Judicial Circuit (Atlanta, Georgia), Ira L. Foster, Esq., Interim Executive Director and General Counsel, Georgia Legal Services Program (Atlanta, Georgia), LeRoy Pernell, Esq., Interim Dean and Professor of Law, Florida A&M University College of Law (Orlando, Florida), John K. Pierre, Esq., Chancellor and Vanue B. Lacour Endowed Professor of Law, Southern University Law Center (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), H.T. Smith, Esq., Attorney and Owner, H.T. Smith, P.A. and Director, Trial Advocacy Program, Florida International University College of Law (Miami, Florida and Fort Lauderdale, Florida). Winfield Murray, Esq., the Pre-Law Director and Professor at Morehouse College will be recognized as “Pre-Law Advisor of the Year.”

Moreover, the event will showcase informative panel discussions on critical topics for aspiring lawyers including law school admission, the HBCU law student experience, and early career planning and strategizing. Also planned are workshop sessions focused on the strategic approach to law school admission, financing legal education, writing the law school personal statement and diversity statement, and Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) test-taking strategies (which will be provided online after the in-person event).

Further, a law school recruitment and resources expo will take place where students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from nearly 90 law schools, law-related non-profit organizations, and employers. Networking breaks and social receptions are scheduled to take place where attendees will have the opportunity to participate in both structured and informal networking activities, and will be assigned to small sections to facilitate networking. The opportunity to take part in a one-on-one consulting session will be offered so that participants can ask any specific and individual law school admissions and preparation questions.

A new added event feature this year is the attorney-led career networking small group discussions on particular practice areas pre-law students might be interested in pursuing including public interest law, intellectual property law, patent law, government law, criminal law, family law, personal injury law, entertainment law, corporate law, among others. Attendees can also choose to participate in based on the practice environment including solo, small firm, large firm, or corporation. Professional headshots, LSAT books and other resources, and food will all be provided at no cost.

The event will end on a high note with the Aspiring Lawyers Pinning Ceremony where all pre-law students will recite the “Aspiring Lawyers Success Pledge” and be pinned by licensed attorneys, as well as be encouraged to move forward in their endeavors and to commit to giving back to others coming behind them.

Admission to the entire event is completely free of charge and open to the public. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis with priority being given to pre-law students. For more information and to register, please visit the summit’s official website at www.hbcuprelawsummit.org


Evangeline M. Mitchell, Esq., Ed.M.