OXFORD, Miss.–The University of Mississippi School of Law will continue its commitment to diversity initiatives by hosting the CLEO Summer Institute every summer for the next five years. The program aims to teach the skills, knowledge and values essential to minority students’ success in law school.
The school was selected by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) for the honor from amongst law schools across the country.
“The law school not only has outstanding staff, faculty and leadership, but also the campus environment provides CLEO students with the perfect atmosphere in which to delve into a rigorous academic workout, balanced with professional networking, development and social activities,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, CLEO’s executive director.
“The administrative staff is extremely supportive, the professors are aligned with the CLEO mission, and the students gain an invaluable understanding of what it takes to succeed in law school. We could not have come up with a better match.”
CLEO, founded in 1968, works to expand the opportunities for minority and low-income students. Their summer program focuses specifically on self-directed learning, legal reasoning, writing and the Socratic method of teaching. It exposes students to law school and assesses their potential for success.
Over 8,000 students have participated in CLEO’s programs and have excelled through law school, passed the bar and begun their careers in the legal profession.
Kye Handy, a third year Ole Miss law student from Jackson, went through the 2012 CLEO program at the law school.
“I’ve been saying I wanted to be a lawyer since I was seven years old,” she said. “CLEO exposed us to what law school classes are like and helped me realize I was really going to have to pick up the pace in law school.”
Students take three courses plus Legal Writing, and participate in enrichment activities such as visits to the federal and state courthouses, movie nights, concerts in the Grove, a judges lunch and more.
In addition, the law school was one of 45 law schools to be named by CLEO as a “William A. Blakey Diversity Pipeline Architect.” The award was given in September at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to certain law schools who promote diversity.
“All of this underscores the fact that we are a law school that is committed to diversity,” said Sandra Cox- McCarty, associate dean for administration and diversity initiatives. “We look forward to continuing to promote CLEO’s mission and values by hosting the summer program.”
“Besides our affiliation with CLEO, we have many student organizations that promote diversity,” said Richard Gershon, dean. “We also strive to recruit a diverse student body, as well as a diverse faculty and staff.”
This year’s program will be June 8-July 18 and will mark the third consecutive year for the program. The School of Law also hosted the institute five times from 1977 to 1993.
“It’s good to hear the law school will continue to host the program,” Handy said. “It will help people see how the law school really is.”