Dillard Pre-law Program Earns Top Honors from the American Bar Association

Only in its third year, the program continues to grow and excel

Competing against law schools, firms and organizations across the country, Dillard University [a UNCF-member institution] received the prestigious 2018 ABA Section of Litigation’s Diversity Leadership Award. The Section of Litigation created this honor to recognize those who have made outstanding commitments to promoting full and equal participation in the legal profession through the encouragement and inclusion of women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and/or persons of differing sexual orientations and gender identities.

The Diversity Leadership Award was presented to Attorney Adria Kimbrough, Dillard’s Pre-law Program advisor, during the Annual Conference Luncheon on Thursday, May 3, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront in San Diego, CA.

Adria Kimbrough, Dillard’s Pre-law Program advisor
Adria Kimbrough, Dillard’s Pre-law Program advisor

“This is a major milestone,” Kimbrough said. “For Dillard, this is just another sign that our Prelaw program is competitive, cutting-edge and committed to ensuring that our students are prepared and to increasing diversity in the legal profession.”

Barely in its third year, the Dillard Pre-law Program has captured the national spotlight. The University’s Mock Trial team has quickly become a formidable opponent and finished their 2017-2018 competition season ranked in the top 30 percent of college mock trial teams nationwide.

In February, the team made history with its first ever qualification to the Opening Round Championship on March 23-25, at the D’Army Bailey Courthouse in Memphis, Tenn. Notably, Dillard University’s Pre-Law Program received $180,000 in grant funding to bring more diversity to law schools and the legal profession. Last year, Dillard was awarded the AccessLex Institute Legal Education Diversity Pipeline Grant, which funds programs that provide students from historically underrepresented groups with resources to aid them in successful matriculation into law school and the legal profession.

Dillard is the only undergraduate institution in the nation, and the only historically black college or university (HBCU) in the nation to be awarded a grant through this program. Dillard received $125,00 in funds to launch a brand new program called LEAD (Legal Education Advancing Diversity) that provides students and graduates from the three HBCUs in New Orleans with a comprehensive year-long program 2 Dillard University that will include intensive preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (“LSAT”), law school admissions support, and a mentor in the legal profession.

“The AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence is excited to partner with Dillard University and its LEAD program to develop innovative ways to increase legal education diversity,” said Aaron Taylor, Executive Director of the AccessLex Center for Legal Education Excellence. The University was also received an additional $55,000 to launch a second program called “Foundation to LEAD” program that will provide rising college juniors from Dillard, SUNO, and Xavier with exposure to the analytical reasoning and logical reasoning skills. Participants will gain hands-on experience with a local public interest law organization and gain exposure to the legal profession through guest lectures by prominent members of the New Orleans legal community. HBCU’s included in this program are Dillard University, Xavier University of Louisiana and Southern University at New Orleans. Loyola University College of Law and Tulane University College of Law will collaborate with the LEAD program to assist with law school admission workshops and other opportunities to expose the scholars to law school.

The program plans to accept 20 new HBCU scholars each year, with a total of 40 LEAD scholars over the course of two years.

For more information, please contact Adria Kimbrough, LEAD Project Director, at 504.816.4367 or AKimbrough@dillard.edu.