Seven students from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Political Science/Pre-law Group visited the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at the University of Memphis on Feb. 25.
The law school hosted its Diversity & Pre-law Day, where students from around the country were allowed to tour the campus, engage with administrators, students, and faculty, and learn more about the legal education program at the University of Memphis, according to a news release.
The UAPB group included Henry Brooks IV, political science/pre-law instructor and advisor, and seven students: Kiya Anderson, a senior majoring in social sciences/political science; Inari Mack, a junior majoring in biology; Shaunia McFarlane, a sophomore majoring in criminal justice; Ky'Lik Rich, a junior majoring in social sciences/political science; Victoria Runnells, a sophomore majoring in social sciences/political science; Jmya Smith, a junior majoring in social sciences/political science; and Alana Young, a senior majoring in social sciences/political science.
The UAPB Political Science/Pre-law students met with Katherine Schaffzin, dean of the law school, and the host, Jacqueline O'Bryant, interim assistant dean of diversity and inclusion.
After breakfast and registration, the students discussed preparing for law school with Ebony Dawkins, assistant professor of teaching, internship coordinator and undergraduate advisor. Dawkins provided students with insight into obstacles and opportunities students will face in pursuing a legal education. In addition, as an academic advisor, she served as a source of information on specific skills and habits students can develop during their undergraduate studies that will be useful during law school.
After a brief break, students heard about the application process from Sue Anne McClellan, the assistant dean of law admissions, scholarships, and recruiting, and Joanna Darden, assistant director for law admissions. Darden also discussed financial aid, scholarships, student loans and how the total cost of attending law school was not simply tuition, fees, and books but also living expenses. This discussion was highlighted by the relatively modest cost of attending the University of Memphis School of Law.
Before lunch, Demetria Frank, professor and visiting Herff Chair of Excellence, took students through a mock law class using a preassigned legal case. Weeks before the pre-law day, students received a guide on how to read a legal opinion ''How to read a legal opinion a guide for new law students by Orin S. Kerr, 2017" and a legal case Garratt v. Dailey, to prepare for the mock law class. Frank demonstrated what information students should have extracted from the legal case and how they should think about certain legal concepts.
The law school provided a Memphis barbecue lunch where students continued discussing the case, relaxed and networked with administrators, presenters, current law students, faculty and other students visiting during the Diversity & Pre-law Day.
After lunch, students were able to listen to two panels. The first panel consisted of current law students who gave candid accounts of the triumphs and difficulties of life as a law student. The second panel included University of Memphis School of Law alumni who talked about life after law school and their different paths after law school. Afterward, UAPB students shared their plans and heard how they compared to those students and graduates. Once the panels were over, students took guided tours of the law school before boarding the van to return to Pine Bluff.
"The trip, which included a travel grant from the UAPB Office of the Vice Chancellor of Institutional Advancement, was a success," said Brooks.
"Since returning, we have discussed the experience, and students have a favorable view of the law school and their time visiting during the Diversity & Pre-law Day. Students reported feeling welcomed and that all involved were genuinely interested in their decision to choose Uof M. The cost of attendance, proximity to courts and law firms, and the location (Memphis) were all factors that made the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law attractive to our students," Brooks said.