After a Successful Pilot, MN FBA Chapter Launches Annual LSAT Scholarship Program to Help Increase Diversity in Local Law Schools
June 9th, 2021
By Colin Pasterski
In an effort to help increase diversity across all of Minnesota’s law schools, the MN FBA Chapter’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee has launched its annual LSAT Scholarship Program. This year, a total of six candidates from historically underrepresented backgrounds will be chosen as recipients of LSAT preparation courses and tutoring sessions.
The D&I Committee thanks the University of Minnesota Law School, University of St. Thomas School of Law, and the Mitchell Hamline School of Law for their participation in the MN FBA LSAT Scholarship Program and in assisting with the identification of recipients.
The Chapter’s D&I Committee has been committed to finding ways to help increase the pipeline of diverse law students in our community. The idea for the scholarship was sparked by conversations between MN FBA President Vildan Teske and Faith Jackson, who was serving as Assistant Director of Admissions at Mitchell Hamline at the time.
In looking for ways for our Chapter to have a direct impact, one idea that surfaced in these conversations was to find ways to make LSAT preparation courses more accessible. Thus began last year’s pilot project to award scholarships to students who come from underrepresented groups.
In the Minnesota Law Review article published earlier this year titled This is Minnesota: An Analysis of Disparities in Black Student Enrollment at the University of Minnesota Law School and the Effects of Systemic Barriers to Black Representation in the Law, the authors highlight the gap in attracting Black and African American students into the legal profession.
Alarmingly, the article points out that, in the 2019-2020 academic year, only 0.6 percent of Minnesota Law students identified as Black or African American – a number that is lower than in 1894, which is the first year that a Black or African American student graduated from Minnesota Law. One of the noted barriers to a more diverse student population is access to LSAT preparation courses.
This scholarship program is one way to help make these courses more accessible. Our Chapter hopes to grow the impact of this scholarship by making it more available next year.
Credit: M. Riley-Brown, S. Osman, Justice C. Shanon, Y. Hanna, B. Burris, T. Sanchez, & J. Cottle, This is Minnesota: An Analysis of Disparities in Black Student Enrollment at the University of Minnesota Law School and the Effects of Systemic Barriers to Black Representation in the Law. 105 Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes 251 (2021).
This article appeared in the May 26, 202, issue of the Federal Bar Association, Minnesota Chapter newsletter Bar Talk. Download the pdf to see the complete issue of the publication.
For those interested in applying for the scholarship program contact the admissions offices of the University of Minnesota Law School, the University of St. Thomas School of Law, or the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and request further information on the MN FBA LSAT Scholarship Program.
Colin Pasterski is an associate in the employment practice group at Halunen Law. He is a member of the MN FBA Chapter’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee.