View this email in your browser
Issue 3 August, 2021
Welcome to The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) JD Report where we will share tips on how to prepare for and succeed in law school. Get legal profession insights from our CLEO alumni, and get to know our Partners-In-Law: law schools that are making a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO)
is a 501(c)(3) national non-profit organization that was founded in 1968 to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. Since its inception, more than 27,000 students have participated in CLEO's programs and joined the legal profession.
Read Secrets of a Law Student’s success & how CLEO can help YOU!

Read more

Jeremy Garcia

Law Student
Penn State Dickinson Law
Q 1. What was your course of study at John Jay College of Criminal Justice?
At John Jay College of Criminal Justice, I received a Bachelor of Arts in Judicial Studies.
Q 2. How did you become interested in pursuing law?
Aside from being the go-to legal translator for my parents at the tender age of 6 (I kid, I kid!), my passion for law stemmed from my desire to understand how the law impacts the livelihood of immigrants, much like myself and my parents.
Q 3. What steps did you take to prepare for law school?
As a non-traditional law student, my path to law school was not a typical linear trajectory of attending right after undergrad.  I knew there were parts of my application that needed strengthening, so I started networking with various bar associations [to learn how I could improve my chances of getting into law school].  Then I began to volunteer with these organizations which led to an LSAT prep scholarship, stipends, and eventually the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO).
Q 4. How did you find out about CLEO?
I learned about CLEO through one of my mentors, the past president of the Metropolitan Black Bar Association (MBBA).
Q 5. What benefits did you receive by participating in the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) or 1L-Prep Attitude is Essential (AIE)?
There were many benefits to being a CLEO PLSI student last summer!  I met great colleagues, mentors, and if it weren’t for CLEO, I would not have been admitted to Penn State Dickinson Law. 

Through CLEO I met the administration at Penn State Dickinson Law.  While I was trying to decide what schools to apply to and how to approach prospective schools for an interview, I connected with the Penn State Dickinson Law Staff.  Dean Dodge, Dean Saidman-Krauss and the rest of the PSU staff provided a wealth of guidance on how to re-engineer my weaknesses into strengths.  That networking opportunity turned into an offer to join PSU and that would have never happened had it not been for CLEO creating that bridge.  I am forever grateful to CLEO because of the networking opportunities that have propelled my legal career.
Q 6. What helps you cope with the stress of law school?
There are many things I do that help me cope with the stresses of law school.  I work out when I can, meditate, speak to my support system as often as I can and most importantly, I speak to myself in a positive manner.

If things don’t go as I expected, I make sure to understand that a setback will not define my career as a lawyer.  I believe one of the worst things a law student can do is wallow on the bad things instead of learning and growing.

Q 7. After law school, what are your legal career plans?
I am still trying to figure that out.  Nonetheless, I want to continue working with Judges in order to fine tune my legal research and writing skills.  Also, I would like to venture into the world of Mergers and Acquisitions in Latin America.  It is time that our Latina/os in the United States understand how to set up entities back home to help our countries develop.

Q 8. Do you volunteer or intern with any legal organizations?

I do!  The Metropolitan Black Bar Association ( , The Dominican Bar Association ( , and the Latino Judges Association ( .

Q 9. Do you have any advice for future lawyers? 
Yes, be discrete about your plans, safeguard your reputation with your life, and grow from your setbacks.

Q 10. What motivates you to be part of the legal profession?
The ability to change people’s lives.  I interned with the Honorable Joseph Zayas this past summer (2021).  He vacated the sentence of three men who were serving life sentences for crimes they did not commit.  After an investigation done by the Queen’s District Attorney’s office, proof of evidence tampering was discovered, and these men were set free.  It’s situations like these that remind me how awesome the legal profession can be.
Six friends – April, Breanna, Colin, Devin, Ethan, and Felicia – decide to take a vacation before beginning law school in the fall.  Unfortunately, the friends are a bit divided on where to travel and decide to form two groups of three people.  One group will vacation in Jakarta and the other in Madrid before all the friends go off to a different law school in the fall.  Given the clues below, can you determine the travel destination of each friend and the law school they will attend?

1. April and Breanna have different vacation destinations. Neither of them will start at Marquette University Law School in the fall.

2. Colin, who will attend New York Law School in the fall, does not vacation in Madrid.  He will not vacation with the friend who will start at Quinnipiac University School of Law in the fall.

3. Devin vacations in the same place as Ethan. Neither of them will attend Marquette University Law School or Quinnipiac University School of Law in the fall.

4. The person who starts at Southern University Law Center in the fall, who is not April, does not vacation with the person who will start at Thurgood Marshall School of Law in the fall, who is not Devin, nor with the person who will start at Vermont Law School in the fall.
Answer:  The friends vacationing in Jakarta are Breanna (Southern University Law Center), Colin (New York Law School), and Felicia (Marquette University Law School) The friends vacationing in Madrid are April (Quinnipiac University School of Law), Devin (Vermont Law School), and Ethan (Thurgood Marshall School of Law).
Read Secrets of a Pre-Law Student’s success & how CLEO can help YOU!

Read more

Monae O.

Pre-Law Student
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Q1. How did you find out about The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)?
I found out about CLEO from a friend who is participating in their CLEO Bar Prep program, and he suggested I should check them out. 
Q2. When did you realize you wanted to attend law school?
I always knew I wanted to be an advocate, and [it helped to have] a mentor point out that I was the perfect candidate for law school. All through my life, law and advocacy seemed to be the recurring theme, so I researched law school, and here I am. 
Q3. What did you learn during the various CLEO programs?
I learned more about fee waivers, including CAS fee waivers; the right time to apply; and to answer the questions asked [in the application packet], not those I wish people asked me. 
Q4. Select one of the CLEO programs (ASAP, JJ LSAT, or CLEO Connection) you attended.
What portion of that program was most beneficial to you and why?

I attended Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP). The first part of Saturday’s program was the most beneficial because it made me realize I have a ton to contribute to the law school dialogue and should not be intimidated by the process. I also learned that anxiety about the process is normal and that challenges can be opportunities. 
Q5. How have the CLEO programs influenced your preparation for law school?
CLEO gave me more self-confidence regarding preparation for law school. After the ASAP Pre-Law program, I started to take law school practice more seriously when I realized, wow, I have a decent shot at attending law school debt-free. In fact, my self-confidence paved the way in getting awarded two fellowships:

• The Coelho Center Law Fellowship

• Programand Fellowship for Diversity in Negotiation, Mediation & Conflict Resolution. 
Q6. Do you plan to attend any future CLEO events?
Yes, I do; I plan to attend the Pre-Law Summer Institute or 1L Prep – Attitude Is Essential. Finally, my friend raves about their Bar Prep program which I want to participate in as well.

CLEO is a blessing for a first-generation student whose parents are blue collar workers. 
Q7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring lawyers?
 Take advantage of every resource given to you. Develop grit and tenacity if you are serious about law school. Apply; you never know! If you do not put your hat in the ring, you will always be thinking about “what if."
Q8. Do you have any additional comments about CLEO?
CLEO also taught me to remain positive throughout the process, and that mindset is everything. 
Thanks CLEO!
Meet dynamic young scholars and listen to their secrets of success.

Josiah Bennett - Mentee
Joshua Bennett - Mentee
Nicholas Howard - Mentor

High School Students & Mentor

View The Video Below

Aba Acquaah - CLEO 2008

The CLEO “Alumni Spotlight” showcases CLEO alumni and the experience and success they’ve had in the legal profession. It also represents a space to highlight community involvement, volunteer service, and the impact CLEO alumni are making in society. If interested in being considered for an upcoming “Alumni Spotlight,” please send an email to
Virtual Pre-Law Advising: Better, Worse, or Just Different?

Read more

William Chamberlain

Senior Program Director Careers in Law
The University of Chicago
Over the past year-and-a-half, pre-law advisers have been able to perfect the art of the virtual advising session.  Of course in some ways, we have always worked virtually—with alumni and with current students who are away from campus during the summer and the breaks between quarters or semesters.  Zoom seems to have overtaken Skype as the platform for video calls and either is preferable to a voice-only phone call.  Yes, we still have those “frozen” moments and occasional dropped internet connections due to finicky wifi, but, overall, we have adapted and have become adept at using the “share screen” function to review resumes, cover letters and personal statements.

We have also perhaps learned a bit more about our students’ backgrounds—what pets they have and what their rooms look like.  We can compare the weather.  We may even meet a brother, sister, parent or girlfriend or boyfriend!

So in many ways, the pandemic has strengthened our connections with remote students and alumni.  And, related, the pandemic has increased our access to speakers from across the country and the world.

Still, the almost universal return to campus this fall for all students, faculty, and staff has us buzzing with anticipation for in-person interaction.  We are eager for the days when we can look at people directly rather than looking into the camera, when we can gauge how our students are feeling by watching their reactions in a face-to-face conversation.  Zoom encourages “they say, then you say” conversations rather than natural give and take.  Working side-by-side or across a desk on a resume or a cover letter will create much more active communication than a shared screen.  Meetings on zoom seem to be like searches on the internet—targeted and focused rather than browsing.  When we have direct in-person conversation, it tends to be more open and free-flowing and more apt to take on a life of its own.  We may end up discussing other issues than those the student came in with. There seems to be less of a time pressure, more time for informal catching up and yet in-person appointments in an office also allow for a greater sense of professionalism—we usually begin with a handshake and meet in a physical office, rather than the adviser’s living room.

There may be drawbacks to in-person meetings as well. Will students want to trek across campus to our offices after being able to meet with us without leaving their rooms?  Will they end up choosing the zoom option rather than in-person even when the latter is available?

In addition to advising, the hybrid approach will also be here to stay for internships—students may be able to continue to live with their parents for the summer while working for an employer in another state.  Students who do intern in person will get a much better sense of what the workplaces are like as well as benefit from informal interactions in the hall or at the coffeemaker. Meeting law school representatives in person at live LSAC Forums will be a vast improvement over the pre-scripted zoom presentations.  Visiting employers in their offices will give students a much more accurate picture of the day-to-day of law practice.

In sum then, we will most likely not return to a rose-tinted pre-pandemic “normal.”  The new pre-law advising format, as with much of work, will be a hybrid—somewhat more virtual than in the past but, we hope, with the ability to speak with each other face-to-face—and to discover how tall we really are!

When CLEO called on the legal community to assist aspiring law students with scholarships, the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA) listened. CLEO needed $30K to support 20 Pre-Law Summer Institute students with $1500 scholarships to attend its 53-year old flagship prelaw program.  True to its mission of “advancing the hiring, retention, and promotion of diverse lawyers in law departments and law firms…through pipeline initiatives,” MCCA contributed $23,000 to help 15 students attend this important seminar, which is key to student success in law school.  Thank you, MCCA!
Fostering Equity and Inclusion -- Groom Law Group, Chartered

Groom Law's Chair for Diversity and Inclusion Committee Christy Tinnes made sure Groom was represented at CLEO's Pre-Law Summer Institute. Not only did the law firm sponsor scholarships for two students, but her team also made a presentation, “Outside the Law Firm Box,” at the summer institute to show the CLEO Fellows that “there are a myriad of legal career options” from which to choose.  We appreciate you, Groom Law!
Welcome North Carolina Central University School of Law

In 2019, NCCU Law was recognized as one of the top 10 law schools for diversity. Since 1939, NCCU Law has paved the way for African-American lawyers to thrive in North Carolina and beyond.  Even though the law school is associated with an HBCU, it has welcomed diversity since the 60’s when Native Americans, Asians, and Caucasians were accepted at the law school.  In the 70’s, the law school received students from 21 states, Washington, D.C., Liberia, the West Indies, China, and Sierra Leone.  In 2019, NCCU Law was recognized by PreLaw Magazine as one of the top 10 law schools for diversity.

Pre-Law Summer Institute Benefactors

CLEO could not have given 23 scholarships in 2021 during a pandemic without them.
Florida A&M University College of Law
University of Idaho College of Law
Marquette University Law School
The University of Mississippi School of Law
Penn State Dickinson Law
Quinnipiac University School of Law
Vermont Law School
Washburn University School of Law

Boston College Law School
Brooklyn Law School
Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Cornell Law School
New York Law School
University of North Carolina School of Law
University of Pittsburgh School of Law
South Texas College of Law Houston
UNT Dallas College of Law
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
Western State College of Law at Argosy University

The University of Alabama School of Law
University of California at LA School of Law
The University of Chicago Law School
University of Cincinnati College of Law
Drake University Law School
The University of Iowa College of Law
The University of Kansas School of Law
Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center
The University of Michigan Law School
Michigan State University College of Law
University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law
New York University School of Law
University of Pennsylvania Law School
SMU Dedman School of Law
The University of Texas School of Law
The University of Tulsa College of Law
Washington & Lee University School of Law
Copyright © 2021 *The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO), All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
CLEO, Inc., 2800 Eisenhower Avenue • Suite 220-41 • Alexandria, VA 22314

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Newsletter design & production: