JURIST Academy Encourages Minority Undergraduates to Pursue Law School
Web Editor - Published: June 17, 2009


From June 1st to June 12th, Widener Law’s Delaware campus played host to promising, minority students entering their Junior or Senior year of college interested in learning about law school.

The JURIST Academy program offered the students a taste of what law school would be like, with a Torts class taught by Professor John Culhane, a Criminal Law class with Associate Professor Jules Epstein, and Legal Analysis and Writing and Financial Literacy class with Sydney Howe-Barksdale and Iva Johnson Ferrell. In addition,  the students enjoyed field trips to area courts, and the program provided students insight into the law school admissions process, including an LSAT review and preparation course with Ken Gross.

This year’s JURIST Academy boasted 28 students interested in becoming lawyers, and the program aimed to improve necessary skills like reading comprehension and writing ability. In addition to trying to give the students the skills necessary to succeed in the classroom, the camp offered those who attended a clear picture of the goals necessary for admission to law school as well as the sizable financial commitment required.

“As an African-American who is part of the bar,” said PIRC Director and JURIST Academy program coordinator Sydney Howe-Barksdale, “ I was fortunate enough to make it through. Now I am in a position to help tell those coming behind me what it’s about.”

JuristAcademy2009Promo235Widener Law Dean Linda L. Ammons said of the program, “Widener is proud to have advanced beyond the ‘talking’ phase of the need for a more diverse bar and bench, and to have moved into an ‘action’ phase where we are able to demonstrate leadership and a commitment to affecting real change.”

Sponsors of the program included Du Pont, Morris James LLP, Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP, Richards Layton & Finger, the South Asian Bar Association of Delaware, and the Multicultural Judges & Lawyers Section of the Delaware State Bar Association.

DiscoverLaw.org, a campaign developed by the Law School Admission Council to encourage minority students to discover legal education opportunities, also served as a sponsor for the Jurist Academy.