What exactly does it take to become a lawyer? Thirty-one Iowa State undergraduate students now have a better understanding, thanks to a special trip sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
The students recently traveled to Iowa City to University of Iowa’s College of Law and participated in its Bridge Program, a free experience designed for diverse students interested in law. By helping students learn what lawyers do, the skills lawyers use and what law school entails, the program aims to help underrepresented students decide if law school is the choice for them.
LAS Multicultural Student Success, LAS Pre-Law Advising and LAS International Student Support Advising teamed up to connect the students, many of whom were LAS majors, with this supportive experience outside of the classroom.
“This was an opportunity to address a larger gap, which is the underrepresentation of students of color and other minoritized populations in the field of law," Der Vang, LAS multicultural liaison officer, said. "It was amazing to see our students learn directly from law students and professionals of color. Representation truly matters.”
Tiffany Contreras (’19 sociology) became interested in the possibilities of a legal career after traveling to Washington, D.C. with her sorority to speak with members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives about immigration reform. The Iowa City trip was the perfect follow-up opportunity to further her understanding of law school. Meeting current law students helped her envision law as a career where she could make a difference, Contreras said.
“I believe that as long as I have a reason, passion and dedication to not only get to law school but to stick through it, it is possible and I can be successful. I just need to stay focused now and think ahead."
Maria Pimentel-Diaz (’20 political science) also said the trip confirmed her interest in law.
"I learned about the different areas of law and what jobs you can pursue with a law degree that don’t necessarily have to be being a lawyer. This trip helped me realize I really do want to be a lawyer and got me really excited about law school and the future."
Students who participated are now better equipped to make thoughtful decisions about their career choices, Bruce Allen, LAS pre-law adviser, said.
“ISU students were provided with a unique and engaging experience that served as a boot camp for aspiring attorneys. With the opportunity to explore the dynamics of law school and careers that one with a law degree can pursue, these students will be able to make a more timely and well informed decision regarding law school and law as a career,” Allen said.