For the 10th consecutive year, the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law will be welcoming aspiring law students to participate in the 2012 Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program in Arkansasâ€™ capital city of Little Rock.
The PLUS program is a three-week-long exercise in legal immersion, during which the 17 selected Scholars will be briefed on everything that is law school. Among the many classes, clinics, lectures, and activities offered by the program are an oral argument workshop, classes in legal writing, case briefing, criminal procedure, and the process of choosing and being admitted to a law school.
The program will also include a variety of field trips for the Scholars, including tours of Little Rock landmarks such as the Clinton Presidential Library, Little Rock Central High School and the Arkansas State Capitol. One experience that is perhaps the most vital is a three-day crash course in preparation for the Law School Admission Test, which is drawn to a close with a mock LSAT exam.
â€śThe purpose of the program is to successfully guide more members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the legal profession to apply to, be admitted to, and enroll in law school,â€ť said Felecia Epps, associate dean of academic affairs. â€śThe program introduces participants to the basic skills required for success in law school.â€ť
According to Valerie James, the associate dean of admissions and scholarships, Â programs like this are hard to come by. Anywhere between 50 and 200 students apply to become Scholars in the program each year, but the number of those accepted typically stays near 20.
â€śWe try to encompass all aspects of diversity, and we look for it all across the board,â€ť James said. â€śWe are committed to the idea of it as a value necessary for change and improvement — to ensure everyoneâ€™s access to justice.â€ť
Although the school received a grant from the Law School Admission Council to kickstart the program in 2002, it only lasted five years. Half of the time PLUS has existed, Bowen has funded the program. The PLUS program has also bolstered support from the legal community, members of which volunteer as guest speakers.
â€śThe focus has always been to share with students what it would be like to be a lawyer and to what it would be like to go to law school,â€ť Epps said. â€śWeâ€™ve always had some kind of classroom component, whether that be a criminal law class or criminal procedure, or some other type of class. Writing classes and LSAT preparation are both of great importance to aspiring lawyers.â€ť
The Bowen PLUS program was the first of its kind in the state.