FIU Law Awarded Grant from Council on Legal Education Opportunities (CLEO): Launches Program to Support Students Traditionally Underrepresented within the Legal Profession

Miami (December 7, 2009) – The Florida International University College of Law was recently named the 35th law school in the nation to be recognized as a Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) institution.  The College of Law also received a substantial grant from the group to underwrite costs associated with running the 2010 Summer Institute.

CLEO was founded in 1968 as a non-profit project of the ABA Fund for Justice and Education to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school.  Since its inception more than 8,000 students have participated in CLEO’s programs and joined the legal profession. 

Following the CLEO model, the FIU College of Law will host a 6 week Summer Institute aimed at preparing students traditionally underrepresented within the legal profession to attend their first year in law school. The Institute begins on Monday, June 7, 2010 and runs through Friday, July 16, 2010.    FIU College of Law faculty will teach the courses, which are designed to deliver an authentic first-year experience and develop the students’ ability to perform well in law school.  In addition to the Summer Institute, FIU Law will host a number of networking and professional development events where CLEO scholars will have the opportunity to meet with members of the bench and bar. 

Alexander Acosta, Dean of FIU’s College of Law, said “Diversity in the legal profession must begin with early schooling.  Pipeline programs such as CLEO help ensure that all students have equal access to, and are equally prepared to succeed in, law school.  I hope our CLEO Institute is the first of many pipeline initiatives at FIU’s College of Law.”  Acosta added, “I am honored to appoint Dean Mason to direct the CLEO Summer Institute.  She has been with the College of Law since its inception, and has proudly impacted our institution through her dedication and hard work.”

Michelle Mason, Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Services and the newly appointed Director of FIU’s CLEO Summer Institute, said “I am very excited about what this partnership means to our students.  As an institution serving a majority-minority population, the proven success of the CLEO programs will have profound impact on a large portion of our students.  We feel privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to legal education in a profoundly important and necessary way.  I very much look forward to the launching this summer.”

Selection as a CLEO institution is yet another indicator of the FIU College of Law’s commitment to diversity.  The College of Law recently launched a partnership with the Hispanic National Bar Foundation to start Project Access, which is a mentor program aimed at providing access to high school and college students from minority, and other traditionally underrepresented groups. 

[For further program and application information please visit CLEO’s website: http://www.cleoscholars.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.viewPage&pageID=522&nodeID=2].

-FIU-

About FIU College of Law:

The Florida International University College of Law meets an important need in the community by providing a quality, affordable legal education for South Florida residents. The College of Law opened its doors in 2005 and was fully accredited by the American Bar Association in 2006, the shortest amount of time possible. The student body consists of just over 600 students and is diverse in racial, ethnic, and professional background.

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