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The Association of American Law Schools has named FIU Law’s Path to the Legal Profession program the recipient of its Programmatic Change-Maker Award. This award, annually bestowed by the AALS’ Section on Pre-Law and Admission to Law School, recognizes programs that have created structural and systemic change to increase access to legal education and diversify the legal profession.  The award will be presented at the Section’s virtual meeting on December 9, 2021.

“FIU Law Path’s success is directly attributed to the commitment and support of the entire law school as well as our Law Path scholars’ collective hard work and dedication to academic achievement,” said the program’s founder, Senior Associate Dean Michelle Mason. “My goal in starting this program was to facilitate further access to the legal education and the profession. Happily, we are doing so and are grateful for the AALS’ recognition of our efforts.”

Law Path has earned universal acclaim from the legal community since its inception. Launched in 2019 with grant funding from the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence, Law Path’s primary objective is to increase enrollment of low income, first generation, minority, and other traditionally underrepresented groups into law school.

The program introduces students to the fundamental components of the American legal system – the case (Socratic) method, legal writing and analysis, and critical thinking and analysis are three pillars of its academic curriculum – along with opportunities to develop many soft skills needed to succeed in law school, including courses on leadership, wellness, and professional responsibility. Law Path will enroll its fourth cohort in Summer 2022 and is offered at no cost to students. Dozens of FIU Law faculty and staff – themselves comprising one of the nation’s most diverse law school communities – teach and provide administrative support to the program on a voluntary basis.

“It is heartening to see the impact Law Path is making in its first three years,” said Dean Antony Page. “Improving access to the legal profession is a critical way to improve access to justice. Thanks to Dean Mason’s vision and perseverance in directing the program, Law Path graduates are enrolling in noteworthy law schools including FIU Law throughout the country, equipped with strategies and skills to help them succeed both as students and, ultimately, lawyers.”