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Issue 1 December
Welcome to our Inaugural 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 who 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 25,000 students have participated in CLEO's programs and joined the legal profession.
Secrets of a Law Student’s success & how CLEO can help YOU!

Monica Ontiveros
Law Student
Q1. What was your course of study in college at the University of California, Riverside?
I studied Psychology at the University of California, Riverside. 

Q2. How did you become interested in pursuing law?
When I took a course during my undergrad career called “psych and law.”  After that, I decided I wanted to intern at a firm to see if I liked law. After interning at an immigration law firm for six months, I decided that this is what I wanted to do. 

Q3. What steps did you take to prepare for law school?
Before law school, I took a year and a half off. During that time, I worked two jobs and I felt I had no time to socialize. It turned out that it was the best decision [for me] to take time off before going to law school and work. I say this because law school can be tough in the sense that it is a job and requires discipline. So, discipline helped me prepare for law school and its demands. 

Q4. How did you find out about CLEO?
I heard about CLEO through my supervisor, Charles Walker, at the City of Temecula. 

Q5. What benefits did you receive by participating in the CLEO Pre-Law Summer Institute?
I received a scholarship for books and a generous scholarship packet from the law school that I attended because of CLEO.  

Q6. What helped you cope with the stress of law school?
Exercise and being disciplined on a schedule. Have fun but be on schedule and prioritize. 

Q7. After law school, what are your legal career plans?
I currently got a job working at an immigration law firm in Seattle, Washington.                                     
Q8. Do you volunteer with any legal organizations?
I did volunteer in legal organizations when I was a part of the Latino/a Law Caucus by partnering up with Northwest Justice Project and Northwest Immigrants’ Rights Project. We gave presentations regarding Constitutional Rights.  

Q9. Do you have any advice for future lawyers? 
Keep your head up, learn as much as you can, always ask for help, and keep going forward no matter what. 

Q10. What is your favorite motivational quote?
“Work for a cause, not for applause. Live life to express, not to impress. Don’t strive to make your presence noticed, just make your absence felt.”

Q11. Anything else you’d like to add?
Work hard and stay humble. 
Four law students – Wendy, Xavian, Yael, and Zane – were really feeling a bit lonely and stressed during their semester. Fortunately, their local animal shelter had the perfect solution: four cute puppies up for adoption. Each puppy knew exactly one trick – either begging, sitting, playing dead, or rolling over – and each puppy knew a different trick. After seeing the puppies’ cute tricks, each law student adopted one of the four puppies, bestowing it with a cute new name: Chip, Daisy, Fluffy, or Honey. From the following clues, can you determine each puppy’s name and trick as well as the law student who adopted it?

Clue 1: In the picture above, the puppy named Fluffy is immediately to the left of the puppy named Honey, but the puppy named Daisy is not next to the puppy named Chip.

Clue 2: The puppy that knows how to sit on command is not Honey nor does it eat from the turquoise bowl.

Clue 3: The puppy eating from the red bowl knows how to beg on command and was adopted by Wendy.

Clue 4: Neither Chip nor Honey knows how to play dead on command.

Clue 5: Xavian’s puppy, who does not know how to roll over on command, is not next to Zane’s puppy in the picture above.
Solution: Pictured from left to right – Daisy, who knows how to play dead and was adopted by Xavian; Fluffy, who knows how to sit and was adopted by Yael; Honey, who knows how to roll over and was adopted by Zane; Chip, who knows how to beg and was adopted by Wendy.
Secrets of a Pre-Law Student’s success & how CLEO can help YOU!

Mickey Witchuwong

Q1. How did you find out about CLEO?
I found out about CLEO during a DC Law School Fair at George Washington University in 2018.

Q2. When did you realize you wanted to attend law school?
I served in the military about three years ago and realized that I wanted to do something meaningful in my life that would give me a sense of purpose,and would allow me to serve my community and help an underrepresented group like myself.

Q3. What did you learn during the various CLEO programs?
My first CLEO program was CLEO Connection –the Mock Law Class session which allowed me to go extremely in depth into a legal case; then, I participated in every session of CLEO Connection which covered a variety of topics such as: LSAT Prep, Law School Admissions and Attorney Panel.They helped me to prepare and increase my chances of getting into law school.

Q4. How has the CLEO programs influenced your preparation for law school?
Besides a new knowledge that I have gained from the CLEO, the network is amazing. I have met my current boss from the CLEO Connection.He and I were a regular member of the CLEO Connection. I did not know that he was a Deputy Director in one of a federal agency that I had an interview with. After we met the first time during my third interview, we were very surprised and ended up talking more about CLEO and law school rather than a general interview question.

Q5. Select one of the CLEO programs (ASAP or CLEO Connection) you attended.What portion of that program was most beneficial to you and why?
The drafting personal statements from ASAP is the most beneficial to me. This program allowed me to receive one-on-one review from a Law School Admissions Staff. She gave me the guideline how to improve my essay and also recommended how to prepare other statements to support my law school application.

Q6. Do you plan to attend any future CLEO events?
Yes, I am very interested in attending the Pre-Law Summer Institute when I am eligible.

Q7. Do you have any advice for other aspiring lawyers?
Law school is extremely expensive and not every lawyer makes a ton of money. So, you need to make sure you do a cost/benefit analysis. If you really want to be a lawyer, you should go for it, absolutely. But you want to be realistic about how much it will cost and how many jobs are available out there. Sit down,look at how much it will cost, review the employment statistics for the schools you think you can get into, and so on.

Q8. Do you have any additional comments about CLEO?
I highly recommended the CLEO programs to everyone who is interested in going to law school because you can take advantage of opportunities to shadow, network with, or be mentored by practicing lawyers and other fellow students. Additionally, there are many good reasons to explore the law and the legal profession before entering law school.You will gain a more realistic view of the actual practice of law, the skills you will need, and the realities of the legal employment market. Thank you very much, CLEO!
Meet a dynamic young scholar and read Secrets of his success.

Jermariah Pou
High School Student
To whom it may concern,

My name is Jermariah Pou. I'm an 18-year-old senior currently enrolled at East Orange, (New Jersey) Campus High School.

Q1. What is your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject is Social Studies, and I am excited to learn about African-American studies.

Q2. What are some of your extra-curricular activities?
During this Covid-19 crisis, I have volunteered to participate in food drives and neighborhood clean-ups in the City of East Orange. I’m currently a junior karate instructor at Green’s School of Martial Arts and a Cadet Second Lieutenant in the East Orange Campus High School JROTC. Anything dealing with youth, community outreach or mentoring, I’m down!

Q3. What did you like about the CLICKS Program?
The CLICKS Virtual Town Hall program gave me an opportunity to let my voice be heard and provided me the opportunity to listen to others. We talked about social reform, social inequality and the ways it’s affecting our community.

Q4. What did you like the most about the CLICKS Virtual Town Hall?
On one occasion, we were sent to breakout rooms where a social justice scenario was read to us and we were asked to share our opinion on what we felt was right or wrong.

Q5. What did you think about the panelists during the Town Hall?
I also enjoyed listening to a group of selected students as they were discussing the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and how it affected them. I was able to connect with the discussion because I’ve seen police brutality and racial inequality in my own community.
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 alumni are making in society. If interested in being considered for an upcoming “Alumni Spotlight,” please send an email to

In 1888, George Washington Fields, a former slave was the first African American graduate from Cornell Law School.

Cornell Law School has had a legacy of diversity and inclusion since its first graduating class in 1888 when a former slave George Washington Fields graduated. In 1919, Mary Donlon was the first woman anywhere in the U.S. to be the editor-in-chief of a law review. Cornell Law School is also the law school where one of the co-consultants of the founding of the CLEO program taught for 42 years. Cornell has been cited as one of the most diverse law schools by U.S. News and World Report.

At The University of Mississippi School of Law, there are more than nine resources to ensure that the law school’s diverse students are given a voice.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of the institutional mission of the university, and [the university] works to educate others on diversity through training and teaching practices.” The University of Mississippi School of Law has been a CLEO partner since 1976 when the law school hosted its first Six-Week Summer Institute (now known as the Pre-Law Summer Institute). Since that time Mississippi Law has hosted the summer institute more than 10 times. There are more than nine resources to ensure that the law school’s diverse students are given a voice.

Penn State Dickinson Law received the Education award for the 2020 CLEO EDGE Virtual Honors Reception during CLEO’s 52nd anniversary.

Penn State Dickinson Law was chosen as the Education award recipient for the 2020 CLEO EDGE Virtual Honors Reception during CLEO’s 52nd anniversary. As the oldest law school in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and one of the oldest law schools in the nation, Dickinson Law has been a CLEO law school partner for more than 30 years. Most recently Dickinson Law served as the 2020 virtual site of CLEO’s preeminent pipeline program, the Pre-Law Summer Institute--a first in the 52-year history of the Institute.
Copyright © 2020 *The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. (CLEO), All rights reserved.

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