Southwestern Partners with HNBA in New Legal Education Action Program for Hispanic Youth
Twenty-two outstanding high school students from around the country have been selected to participate in the inaugural session of the Legal Education Action Program (LEAP) presented by the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) Legal Education Fund. Designed to introduce Hispanic high school students to the U.S. legal system and increase diversity in the profession, the program will be held June 23-30 in Los Angeles, through a partnership with Southwestern and Pepperdine Law Schools.
"LEAP was developed to ensure Hispanic youth of diverse backgrounds obtain the skills and tools necessary to achieve academic success, realize their potential, and become tomorrow's legal and business leaders," said Omar Vargas, President of the HNBA Legal Education Fund. "This program is unprecedented in its scope, depth, and partnerships with universities, law firms, and corporations."
The program will provide the students with opportunities to attend law school classes and lectures; participate in a mock trial competition; and network with a select group of lawyers, judges, business leaders, law students, college graduates, and law professors.
According to Nydia Duenez, Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs at Southwestern, who is coordinating the law school's involvement, "We are delighted to be participating in the LEAP program, which exemplifies the type of diversity-fostering initiatives that Southwestern believes to be essential to creating a diverse group of future legal professionals."
LEAP participants will be exposed to the legal side of the business world, enhance their understanding of the rule of law, and learn about careers they can pursue with a law degree.
Professor Christopher Cameron of Southwestern, who will be teaching a LEAP mock law class, is a strong advocate of the program. "My involvement with LEAP, which seeks to preview professional success for Hispanic high school students, is the logical bookend of my long-term commitment here at Southwestern to prepare Hispanic law students for success in the legal profession," he said. "Traditionally, lawyers of all backgrounds have played tremendous leadership roles in our country. It is critical that lawyers of Latin heritage be prepared to assume these roles too. "
The LEAP summer education opportunity will be held annually and rotate among various metropolitan areas across the United States. More information about LEAP can be found online.