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University of Arkansas at Little Rock

UALR Bowen School of Law to offer pilot program

The UALR William H. Bowen School of Law is offering a pilot program this year that seeks to improve access to legal services for all Arkansans.

Michael Hunter Schwartz.“We owe it to Arkansas to graduate students who will bring their skills to underserved communities,” said Bowen Law School Dean Dr. Michael Hunter Schwartz.

Schwartz said he agrees with the view that Arkansas’s state universities, including the Bowen School of Law, have an obligation to make law school accessible to more Arkansans who come from a variety of backgrounds and who can go on to serve communities in need of their services.

The pilot Legal Education Advancement Program (LEAP) is consistent with the University of Arkansas System’s focus to increase access to higher education for at-risk, but capable, students, according to Schwartz.

“This pilot program seeks to draw students who have indicators that suggest that, with more structured support, would be able to maintain the school’s standard of excellence, complete law school, pass the bar examination, and serve underserved communities in Arkansas,” Schwartz said.

Professor Adjoa A. Aiyetoro, chair of the ad hoc committee that submitted the proposal for LEAP to the faculty for approval, said the plan is to admit students to an intensive six-week summer program.

UALRThe program starts June 16 and ends July 31. Faculty and staff will make recommendations at the end of the summer program to the Law School Admissions Committee for admission to the fall 2014 entering Law School class.

Schwartz brought the idea for LEAP to the Law School, inspired by a similar national undergraduate program, POSSE, created to provide a method of entry and retention for students historically underrepresented in universities throughout the United States. It is also responsive to the intention of the UA system to have a diverse student body reflective of Arkansas and thus providing access to education and legal services for all Arkansans.

Assistant Dean for Admissions Jenifer V. Finney urges people who may be interested in attending law school not to wait until April 15, the school’s application deadline, to submit applications to Bowen. Potential students are encouraged to apply for admission to the law school immediately.

The applicants who are not accepted in the general admissions process may be invited to submit an application to LEAP. The deadline for LEAP applications, however, is April 9.

For more information about the application process, contact the law school’s Office of Admission at lawadmissions@ualr.edu or 501.324.9903.