Law School Yes We Can Seeks to Expand Diversity in the Colorado Legal Profession
Law School Yes We Can (LSYWC) is a unique pre-law diversity pipeline program established six years ago by the Honorable Christine M. Arguello of the Federal District Court, Denver, Colorado. LSYWC is a multi-year team mentoring program for hard-working, low-income college students from underrepresented groups who aspire to become lawyers.
LSYWC Fellows are selected after a rigorous application process involving written responses to multiple essay questions, an interview with the admissions committee, and acceptance of a contractual responsibility for program participation. Fellow applications open in January 2021 and close in March 2021. See Fellow applications at: lawschoolyeswe can.org/infofellows.
Once admitted, each Fellow is assigned a 2 lawyer/1 law student Mentor Team which meets monthly for the entire college career of the Fellow. A Mentor is a knowledgeable and experienced guide, a trusted ally and advocate, and a caring role model for his/her Fellow. LSYWC recruits Mentors annually. Please visit the LSYWC website to apply to Mentor a Fellow. See Mentor applications at: lawschoolyeswecan.org/mentors-1.
LSYWC has brought together almost 350 Mentors, including five Colorado Supreme Court Justices; more than 30 local, state and federal judges; attorneys; legal business professionals; and law students. Each team of mentors works closely with its Fellow following the LSYWC curriculum and helping the Fellow identify pursuable goals, work through challenging situations, and develop the skills and relationships needed for growth and success.
LSYWC provides each cohort of Fellows with valuable skill-building workshops and facilitates exposure opportunities to prepare Fellows for success as future community, business and legal leaders. Some of the key workshops LSYWC provides as resources to its Fellows free of charge are the Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and Emotional Intelligence Tests. LSYWC also arranges for Fellows to take a baseline Law School Admissions (LSAT) tests, an LSAT preparation course, and other pre-law workshops, some of which are presented by LSYWC Board Members, and others, by professors from CU Law and DU Law. All Fellows also attend a mini law school boot camp presented by CU Law. LSYWC workshops are customized by college year, e.g., Freshman attend workshops on topics relevant to their year such as college study habits and cover letter and resume writing; whereas Juniors would attend workshops on law school applications and the LSAT.
In 2020, added new workshops focused on professional networking and strategic Law School approaches for underrepresented students. LSYWC also hosted a virtual Social Justice Panel examining the roles diversity and inclusion plays in the Colorado legal system. LSYWC is committed to increasing community outreach, with a focus on the API community, in partnership with the Colorado Asian Pacific American Bar Association.
Ian Lee, a LSYWC Class of 2019 Fellow and sophomore studying political science at Metropolitan State University of Denver, speaks to the impact of LSYWC, “Through this program, I was provided mentors that have given me amazing advice and opportunities that I otherwise would not know about, and for that, I am truly grateful. They have given me the opportunities and the tools to make my dreams reality. I would like to personally thank my mentors for helping guide me through this time of transition in my life.”
Additionally, one of the program’s mentors and current law school student, Johnnie Nguyen, shares his experience with LSYWC: “My experience mentoring for the Law School Yes We Can Program has been incredible. As a first-generation law student myself, I’ve been able to guide my mentee through the difficult and unique challenges that students like us face when chasing the American dream. My mentee is astonishingly bright, and investing in him has brought me tremendous joy. I am also grateful to have received mentorship myself from Judge Christine M. Arguello and one of the senior lawyers in my mentorship group.”