The partnership with AccessLex expands Willamette Law’s story on the direct admissions path | Tech US News


As part of the College of Law’s focus on ensuring transparency and inclusiveness in the admissions process, the College’s emphasis has been on expanding direct entry pathways. A new partnership with AccessLex and its LexScholars graduate program (LexPostBacc) aligns with this focus and increases opportunities for underrepresented law school applicants.

A central focus of Associate Dean of Admissions, Leah Straley, is to find opportunities to make the admissions process more accessible to prospective students, especially those who may not be familiar with how the law school admissions process works. The hope, Straley says, is “to give students an opportunity to succeed even if they didn’t have LSAT prep books, financial literacy resources, or prior access to law school.” When AccessLex invited law schools to partner with its LexPostBacc program, it fit seamlessly with Straley’s efforts to increase access pathways to law school.

LexPostBacc is a guidance program designed to prepare ambitious law students from underrepresented backgrounds for the rigors of law school. Deferred admission to law school, a partial scholarship, and a one-year law school preparatory program are available to applicants who meet certain program criteria.

The LexPostBacc program first began as a dream that AccessLex CEO Aaron Taylor had while working in admissions. Taylor said he “would have had to struggle with really tough decisions about whether to admit someone or not, based on whether they were a great candidate, but their LSAT scores were low.” He started thinking about “what would happen if we could expose people from day one to the skills and information they need to succeed. They were able to walk in the door of law school already knowing what they needed and not trying to play catch-up.” From that dream, LexPostBacc evolved into a year-long prep program that included LSAT prep, financial literacy, and a deep dive into core law school subjects like torts, contracts, case presentations, and exam preparation. In about 12 months, students become well acquainted with what it means to attend law school and what to consider after law school.

Straley hopes that prospective students will consider what a rewarding opportunity this program could be for them. She commented, “Not only does it allow them to get into law school and provide a scholarship to help offset the cost of their education, but the preparatory courses will also allow them to be better prepared for the tough law schools.”

The Faculty of Law currently has one student enrolled in the LexPostBacc program and has set a goal of enrolling at least three to four students per year as part of its larger immediate enrollment pathway goals. Straley said that “we get dedicated and successful students from these direct admissions routes. These are students who really want to improve and have clear goals.”

After the first year of the AccessLex program, the College of Law is looking to the future and how to continue to open doors to underrepresented students and truly disrupt traditional law school admissions. For her part, Taylor hopes that this will become an integral part of law school admissions and that students will want to attend schools because of opportunities like the LexPostBacc program.

To prospective students considering whether the LexPostBacc program might be right for them, Taylor encouraged people to “just think about it. Sometimes the biggest opportunities come from sources you never even thought about before, you just have to be open to them.”

Straley was quick to add, “I wish everyone could take advantage of a program like this before law school. The information and tools you get in this year-long program will remain in your memory even after the end of law school.” The participation of the College of Law in the LexPostBacc program is an important step in a more transparent and fair admission process to law schools.


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