Chicago-Kent Welcomed 24 Students to the 2019 Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A diverse group of 24 undergraduate students is participating this June in Chicago-Kent College of Law's 18th annual Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars Program, which is designed to introduce undergraduates who are interested in legal careers to the rigors of law school and to become successful legal professionals. The PLUS program is aimed at promoting diversity in the legal profession. Students began their first week of classes June 3 at the law school.

“Given the increasing diversity of the US population, and the need for diverse perspectives in all areas of the law and the legal profession, we must be proactive in our efforts to encourage and prepare more students from underrepresented communities to join the legal profession,” says Assistant Dean Marsha Ross-Jackson, who serves as director of the PLUS Program and the law school’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Multicultural Affairs, and Professional Development. “Many students from such communities lack the exposure, information, access, role models and mentors needed to successfully navigate the law school application and matriculation processes. Our program aims to fill these gaps.”

The 2019 PLUS Program scholars visited the Dirksen Federal Building to tour the courthouse and observe court proceedings.
The 2019 PLUS Program scholars visited the Dirksen Federal Building to tour the courthouse and observe court proceedings.

The 2019 PLUS scholars are currently enrolled in 21 colleges: American University, Boston University, Clark Atlanta University, Fisk University, Florida State University, Governors State University, Hampton University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Knox College, Livingstone College, Miami University (Ohio), Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, University of Mississippi, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Texas at Austin, Washington University in St. Louis, Webster University, and Winston-Salem State University.

PLUS scholars take courses adapted from the law school's curriculum and taught by law school faculty. They are visiting state and federal courts, participate in a mock trial competition, learn about the law school admissions process, discuss career options, take an LSAT practice exam, and meet leaders in the legal profession.

“I want to make students aware of the multiple career opportunities that exist for those with law degrees, either in traditional legal roles or non-traditional roles in business and other industries,” says Ross-Jackson. “I also want to encourage them to begin developing and maintaining relationships with professionals who are willing and able to help them navigate their careers.”

Numerous PLUS alumni are graduates of Chicago-Kent, including Johnny Derogene ’19, who was recently selected as the sole recipient of the AFL-CIO’s 2019 fellowship. Additionally, third-year students Michael McGee, Cristina McNeiley,and Emma Shie participated in the PLUS Program, along with at least two members of the incoming fall 2019 class.