For nearly two decades, the Southern University Law Center (SULC) has played host to the Minority Law & Research Institute (MLARI) each summer, building a pipeline of diverse high school and college students by exposing, encouraging, and motivating them to pursue a career in the legal profession. The program, which is taking place from June 17-27, has exposed hundreds to the legal industry through instruction and projects.
“The law center prides itself on pouring into future legal professionals,” said John Pierre, chancellor of the Southern University Law Center. “Hosting them is part of our effort to increase the pipeline of young minority students who will want to enter college, law school, and the legal profession in the near future.”
The institute, which began its association with SULC in 2000, is comprised of high school and first year law students from across the United States, including Virginia, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Washington, D.C. and Louisiana. The two-week curriculum delves into law and case studies, covering topics such as legal research, landmark case discussions, civil rights, and legal brief preparation. A mock trial competition culminates the program, giving students a chance to put their knowledge into action.
“The ultimate goal of the institute is to motivate and encourage minority students to consider careers in the field of law,” said Joseph Hayden, Sr., executive director of MLARI. “It is also designed to inspire them to set high expectations for academic achievement.”
The program stems from the nonprofit organization Aunt Berta’s Kids-In-Need Education Foundation, which was founded by Haden. The foundation seeks to provide under-represented students exposure to careers in the legal profession and research.
By providing law-related concept instructional courses and research projects, participants sample- early on- the rigorous yet rewarding path that the legal industry can offer. Several institute alumni have gone on to attend law school and pursue careers in law and government around the nation.