The Third Annual National HBCU Pre-Law Summit & Law Expo is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 23 and Saturday, September 24 at Georgia State University College of Law in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. There will also be an Official Pre-Summit Kickoff Event taking place on Thursday, September 22 at Morehouse College, a well-known HBCU that is the nation’s sole liberal arts college for Black men. This groundbreaking summit is the only major national event of its kind in the entire country focused on empowering HBCU students and graduates interested in going to law school and becoming lawyers, and addressing the unique issues, concerns and challenges facing them. Current students and alumni from all HBCUs are invited to meet and come together in Atlanta this fall to take part in three intensive and power-packed days which will expose them to game-changing information, resources, and connections designed to help them achieve success in a demanding educational endeavor and field in great need of diversity.
The summit will provide inspirational keynote sessions featuring prominent and dynamic speakers. Confirmed keynote speakers include Ronald S. Sullivan, Esq., Clinical Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Criminal Justice Institute, Harvard Law School (Cambridge, Massachusetts), Willie E. Gary, Esq. Partner, Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson & Gary, P.L.L.C. (Stuart, Florida), Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, Deputy Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education and Acting Executive Director, White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Washington, DC), Pamela J. Meanes, Esq., Partner, Thompson Coburn LLP and Past President, National Bar Association (Saint Louis, Missouri), and Allegra Lawrence-Hardy, Esq., Partner, Lawrence & Bundy LLC (Atlanta, Georgia). All keynote speakers are proud graduates of historically Black colleges and universities.
There will also be unprecedented talks featuring deans from all six HBCU law schools including John Pierre, Esq., Chancellor and Professor of Law, Southern University Law Center (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Angela Felecia Epps, Esq., Dean, Florida A&M University College of Law (Orlando, Florida), Phyliss Craig-Taylor, Esq., LL.M., Dean and Professor of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law (Durham, North Carolina), Dannye Holley, Esq., LL.M., Dean and Professor of Law, Thurgood Marshall School of Law Texas Southern University (Houston, Texas), Reginald McGahee, Esq., Dean of Student Affairs, Admissions and Financial Aid, Howard University School of Law (Washington, DC) and Katherine Shelley Broderick, Esq., M.A.T., Dean and Professor of Law, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (Washington, DC).
Other special guests include Khyla D. Craine, Esq., Assistant General Counsel, NAACP and Chair, National Bar Association Young Lawyers Division (Baltimore, Maryland), Cheryl F. Turner, Esq., President, Gate City Bar Association (Atlanta, Georgia), Janet Scott, Esq., President, Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (Atlanta, Georgia), John C. Brittain, Esq., Professor of Law, University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law (Washington, DC), and Dr. Timothy E. Sams, Vice President for Student Development, Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia).
In addition to keynote and special guest speakers, the event will showcase panel discussions on critical topics for aspiring lawyers including law school admission, the law student experience, and the different career paths for those armed with a law degree. Also planned are special sessions on financing legal education, managing student loan debt, writing an effective law school personal statement and diversity statement, preparing for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), knowing your rights, and getting involved and demonstrating leadership during the current Black Lives Matter Movement.
Further, a law school expo will take place on both major days of the summit where students will have the opportunity to meet with law school representatives from more than 50 law schools across the country to find out about their law programs and get answers to their questions. Refreshment breaks and networking receptions are scheduled to take place where attendees will have the opportunity to participate in both structured and informal networking activities to help them connect with other aspiring law students, current law students, and lawyers.
Moreover, attendees will have the opportunity to tour Morehouse College and all three Atlanta law schools including Emory University School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. They will also get the chance to participate in admissions sessions and mock law classes designed just for them at the law schools.
Even more, one-on-one consulting sessions will also be offered so that participants can receive personal assistance and feedback on their personal statements, diversity statements, resumes, addenda and get any burning admissions, preparation or career planning questions answered. Complimentary resources will be provided to all pre-law attendees and a free LSAT course will be raffled. The closing session will end on a high note with the National HBCU Pre-Law Hall of Fame Awards and the Aspiring Lawyers Pinning Ceremony.
The Sunday after the summit is an optional day of making connections and learning where participants can sign up for and take part in a Black Atlanta group tour to visit many sites of historical significance to African Americans and the American Civil Rights Movement which will include the King Center, the childhood home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ebenezer Baptist Church, Auburn Avenue, and more.
This event will feature knowledgeable law school administrators, law students and lawyers who will share their own experiences and also directly address issues of concern to HBCU students and alumni which are commonly ignored in general law school informational events. What is particularly unique about these sessions is that all of the panelists have an understanding of and genuine interest in the success of students who attend or have attended HBCUs, many having attended HBCUs themselves. Not only that, there is an emphasis on sharing the historical and present day significance of African Americans gaining access to a legal education and the tremendous need for them to go back, give back and serve the community, and particularly the Black community, which is underserved when it comes to legal services.
According to the summit’s founder, Evangeline M. Mitchell, Esq., Ed.M., an HBCU graduate and first-generation college student, law student and lawyer, “This is a life-changing opportunity of a lifetime where we are bringing together all of these incredible and accomplished people from across the country in order to inspire and empower HBCU students and alumni who are interested in law school. This event is highly professional but there is also a family-like atmosphere because those who come are grounded and are willingly volunteering their time and sharing their knowledge and experiences because they deeply care. We understand that success is not just individual attainment, but it’s collective and that we have a responsibility to those coming behind us and our community.”
“We know that the idea of becoming a lawyer can seem intimidating and out of reach to so many African Americans who are firsts to pursue this path. We want to demystify what it really takes to gain access into law school and the legal profession. Our goal is to break down those walls of exclusivity and exclusion to help them see their goals as attainable, and at the same time we want to be honest and transparent so that they understand the very real difficulties and obstacles they will face so they can prepare themselves to overcome them and succeed,” says Attorney Mitchell.
Admission to the event is completely free of charge, open to the public, and seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis. All aspiring lawyers, pre-law and career advisors, professors, parents and supporters are welcomed to register and attend. For more information, please visit the summit’s official website at http://www.hbcuprelawsummit.org/.