On February 28, 2020, The University of Tulsa College of Law welcomed 20 high school students to campus to find out firsthand what it’s like to attend law school and work in the legal field. TU Law has hosted high school students since the 1990s as part of its Diversity Action Plan to invest in the local community and introduce and attract diverse students to the profession. This year’s Judge Chappelle Minority Law Awareness Day (MLAD) was jointly presented with the Law School Admission Council (LSAC).
On campus and downtown
The first half of the day took place at the TU College of Law, where students heard presentations by Dean Lyn Entzeroth, Professor Johnny Parker and TU Law alumna Judge Christina R. Kirk (JD ’03). They also witnessed a mock negotiation undertaken by representatives of TU Law’s Black Law Student Association and Latino Law Students Association, with assistance from attorneys at the law firm Conner & Winters.
Following lunch at the university’s Allen Chapman Student Union with members of Tulsa’s legal community, students were shuttled downtown for a tour of the Tulsa County Courthouse. Next, it was on to the offices of Conner & Winters for a mock deposition and a panel discussion with attorneys.
Teacher Linda Felstein is a REACH College and career specialist at Union High School and has brought students to MLAD for the past two years. “My students leave MLAD with a deeper understanding of the legal process and the various employment options available, which incorporates the practice of law,” Felstein noted. “Many of the students I bring come from backgrounds that would not afford them the opportunity to meet judges, lawyers or paralegal staff, or even to dream of attending law school. It’s great for them to see others who shared similar ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and who have risen above barriers to become successful legal professionals. This program is so needed for our students of color! It opens their eyes to the vast possibilities they have to make a civic difference in their communities.”
“We are so proud to welcome these young people and help expand their knowledge about what it’s like to be a law student and to practice law,” said Eruore Oboh, the assistant director of admissions and diversity initiatives at TU Law. “And we are deeply grateful to Conner & Winters for continually partnering with the College of Law to provide a robust program and for infusing it with such tangible opportunities to experience some of the kinds of work lawyers do.”
MLAD is named for The Honorable Judge Carlos Chappelle. He was the presiding judge for the 14th District Court in Tulsa County and the first African American to hold this position. The 2020 MLAD event included students from five local high schools (Union, Booker T. Washington, McLain, Central, Broken Arrow) and one in Oklahoma City (Star Spencer).
TU Law shares LSAC’s commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession by providing guidance and encouragement to high school students in hopes that they will consider attending law school and pursue a career in law. TU Law has also previously hosted middle school students for its Judge Carlos Chappelle Pathway to Law Academy and community college students for its Community College Pre-Law Day.