Dinsmore Launches Pre-Law Minority Program to Help Students of Color at 4 Kentucky Universities
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP is proud to announce it has formed the Pre-Law Minority Program initiated by its Lexington, Kentucky office. The program will provide resources, including scholarship money, to minority students at Eastern Kentucky University, University of Kentucky, Transylvania University and Kentucky State University (the state’s oldest HBCU).
Following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many others, Dinsmore Chairman and Managing Partner George Vincent asked each of the firm’s office managing partners across the country to fulfill Dinsmore’s mission of creating meaningful change in each of its communities. Locally, a committee that included Office Managing Partner Grahmn Morgan and attorneys Shaye Johnson, Mindy Barfield and Lewis Diaz conceived of the Pre-Law Minority Program.
Each university will have the opportunity to determine a candidate pool of sophomore and junior pre-law students of color. Those students will meet monthly six to eight times with influential minority lawyers, judges, professors, law school administrators and others in the legal field to learn training tips for the LSAT, strategies for applying to law school, how a law school curriculum creates the building blocks for the practice of law, how to balance a workload in the legal profession and more. The students who complete the program will then be eligible to apply for a scholarship.
“It is imperative that we increase the number of people of color who are going to law school or pursuing a career in law,” Johnson said. “I grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky in the 1980’s and ’90’s, and there was not one African American attorney or judge in the city at the time. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer, and when I moved to Lexington for school and met the attorneys and judges who became my mentors, I saw the importance of those relationships. We want to do that for the next generation of students.”
Morgan is similarly motivated to provide these resources and opportunities to students of color.
“We see this as a way to give minority students interested in the practice of law access that they may not have otherwise had to representative leaders in the legal community,” he said. “We know there are barriers to getting into law school, including just the basic financial resources to study for and take the LSAT, and we want to provide assistance to help break down those barriers.”
In addition to Dinsmore’s financial contribution, Lewis, an alum of EKU, also personally donated to the scholarship fund along with his wife, Becky.
“As an immigrant and a minority, my EKU experience was uniquely transformative,” Diaz said. “There are many young, talented and deserving diverse students who do not have the financial means to cover the incidental costs of pursuing an education in law school. That’s a void we can help fill. Becky and I have been blessed, and we want to pass that along to others—in particular, those who have aspirations that seem impossible.”
This program follows Dinsmore’s tradition of aiding underserved student populations both in Kentucky and nationwide. In 2019, the firm announced the Dinsmore University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law LGBTQ Scholarship, which funds half the annual tuition of a student who either identifies as LGBTQ, or who has made significant contributions to the LGBTQ community. The Pre-Law Minority Program is set to begin in September of this year. For more information, click here.