PracticePro kicked off the academic year with a new diversity initiative. Law School Mastery (LSM) is a first-of-its-kind program that combines training, tutoring, life and career coaching, and recruiting to support diverse incoming first-year students during their first semester of law school. Cooley, Haynes and Boone, Latham & Watkins, O’Melveny & Myers, WilmerHale, and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are co-founders of the program, which launched with an inaugural class of 10 law students from Berkeley, Columbia, George Washington, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn, Stanford, UC Hastings, UVA, and Vanderbilt.
Law school presents a completely different experience from undergraduate education, with mandatory grading curves, the Socratic method, long final exams, and the immediate pressure of securing summer and post-graduate employment.
“Law school can be especially difficult for students from underrepresented backgrounds. PracticePro offers the mentors, support, and tailored guidance needed to help diverse students succeed, starting with their all-important first semester,” said Katharine Martin, Wilson Sonsini partner and chair of the firm’s board of directors. “The resources and guidance PracticePro provides throughout law school is also critical, considering the prospect of economic uncertainty and a challenging job market.”
Amir Wright, LSM Scholar and Stanford Law 1L, agreed. “I never had the same advantages that my peers had. I didn’t know what a law school exam looked like or how to take effective notes and engage in class. LSM helps make sure I am every bit as prepared as my classmates.”
“As a first-generation college student, I carry with me my parents’ experiences as immigrants in the United States and a strong desire to provide legal advocacy for marginalized communities,” shared Taliah Mirmalek, another LSM Scholar and Berkeley Law 1L whose story of grit and resilience is shared by many other first-generation students.
Law School Mastery launched last month with a series of skills workshops developed and taught by law school professors, students ranked at the top of their classes, and PracticePro executives and career coaches, to share in-depth strategies for academic success and self-care. The scholars are also matched with a tutor, life and career coach, and assigned mentors from PracticePro’s partner firms and companies to provide ongoing support throughout the semester.
Himani Nadgauda, LSM Scholar and Michigan 1L, shared that Law school Mastery has been an invaluable resource so far. “Starting law school was a bigger transition for me than I anticipated, and having a support system of mentors from top firms, tutoring from law students who’ve experienced the same things and came out on top, and personalized coaching has made such a huge difference,” said Nadgauda.
LSM is PracticePro’s second diversity initiative. For the past six years, the small social enterprise has run its original 1L Diversity Scholar Program, which selects law students in their second semester and provides them with a number of opportunities. “As admission has become more competitive with hundreds of applications, some amazing diverse talent gets left behind simply because of their first semester grades,” said Niki Khoshzamir, PracticePro founder and CEO. “We wanted to create a program that prevents them from having to swim upstream for the rest of law school and are so grateful that our law firm partners agreed and supported us, especially in the middle of a pandemic!”
“Wilson Sonsini is pleased to be a co-founding member of PracticePro’s Law School Mastery Program as part of our commitment to building diversity within Wilson Sonsini and in the legal community as a whole,” shared Martin, whose firm joined Cooley, Haynes and Boone, O’Melveny & Myers, Latham & Watkins, and WilmerHale this summer to co-found the program.
Akin Gump, Alto Litigation, Alston & Bird, McGuireWoods, Morrison & Foerster, and the Social Security Administration also sponsored full scholarships for law students to participate in the program.
PracticePro is an EdTech social enterprise. Through training, coaching, and technology, it strives to change the way new lawyers learn to practice law and make their transition to practice easier. For more information about Law School Mastery or how to become a diversity partner, visit www.practicepro.cc or email firstname.lastname@example.org.