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Friday, July 19, 2013

Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity (KLEO)

I am honored to have just completed teaching the first week of the KLEO Summer Institute here at the University of Kentucky College of Law.  Because this program is so innovative, I thought I would share a little bit about it with the Prawfs community.

The Kentucky Legal Education Opportunity (KLEO) Summer Institute is a program the three Kentucky law schools have run since 2003.  It helps to prepare students from low-income, minority, and disadvantaged backgrounds for the rigors of law school they are about to encounter.  Specifically, five incoming students from each of the three Kentucky law schools (UK, University of Louisville, and Northern Kentucky-Chase) participate in a two-week residential program that introduces them to law school.  They take mini-courses on Legal Research and Writing, Criminal Procedure, and Civil Procedure.  They have a final exam at the end of the substantive classes and receive feedback on their exams from the professors.  The students also shadow a lawyer for a day, have lunch with the Kentucky Supreme Court and other judges, and listen to various panels on issues such as diversity, alternative career paths, substance abuse, and academic success, among others.  As a reward, they receive a $5,000 scholarship for their first year of law school.

It is amazing to see these students, many who are the first in their families to go to college, embrace law school in the summer even before it starts.  They are dedicated and engaged, and they represent the best of what we hope to accomplish in providing a legal education.  Most are going to law school because they want to give back to their communities, which are often disadvantaged but also have brought them to this moment in their lives.  And they are so grateful for the "leg up" they receive during this two week program.

Do other states or schools have something similar?  I'd love to hear about others' experiences.

Posted by Josh Douglas on July 19, 2013 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

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Giving and receiving is a gift of love.I am sure that not only do you reap many rewards from being part of this fantastic program, but the students,having you as one of their first professors, are very lucky indeed. Congratulations to the chosen students and to you, my son, for teaching this course.

Posted by: Irma | Jul 19, 2013 1:50:38 PM

Indiana operates a similar program. Today marked the end of our Indiana CLEO program. A program of the Indiana Supreme Court, the ICLEO Fellowship program started in 1997 and is a six-week residential Summer Institute for low income, minority, and educationally disadvantaged students attending Indiana law schools in the fall semester. We usually invite 30 students. Upon successful completion of the program, students receive an annual fellowship stipend of $9,000 or $6,500 for three years while enrolled in school (total of $27,000 for private schools and $21,000 for the public schools). It is always a great experience for faculty and students who are a part of this program. You can learn more at http://courts.in.gov/cleo.

Posted by: Jasmine | Jul 19, 2013 8:56:55 PM

Josh -- North Carolina also has a similar summer program for college sophomores that operates under the umbrella of The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO), a non-profit project of the ABA Fund for Justice and Education. The University of North Carolina, NC Central, NC State, NC A&T, and Fayetteville State all participate. I've taught in the program for two years and will again be teaching a mini-course on juvenile courts and delinquency starting tomorrow. It is a four-week free residential program for students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. I agree completely with your characterizations above -- the students are wonderful to work with and it has been a privilege to be part of the program here.

Posted by: Tamar Birckhead | Jul 21, 2013 7:29:26 PM

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