College of Law

'Launch into Law' Bridge to the Profession Program Prepares Students for the Law School Application Process and Experience

February 6, 2019

Launch into Law participants
'Launch into Law' participants on campus

The University of Toledo College of Law piloted the 'Launch into Law' bridge to the profession program this spring to increase the number of historically underrepresented students enrolled in law school. The free, weeklong program took place Jan. 7-11, 2019. 

'Launch into Law' prepared participants to be stronger law school applicants and law students. Participants were immersed in courses to prepare them for the Law School Application Test (LSAT) and to improve legal writing and study skills. Additionally, the participants sat in on a first-year law school class and attended sessions on success strategies, clinical education, the admissions process, and legal career opportunities. Toledo Law professors presented practice spotlights on business law, health law, criminal law, and intellectual property law. The program also included a field trip to observe proceedings at the Toledo Municipal Court.

The first cohort was comprised of 11 undergraduate students and recent graduates from The University of Toledo, as well as institutions around the country including The Ohio State University, Penn State University, Roosevelt University, Spring Arbor University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and Xavier University. Participants ranged in age from 19-30.

Each participant was matched with one student mentor and one professional mentor, based on the student's background and expressed practice interest. Professional mentors included a common pleas court judge and prosecutor, as well as attorneys in small and large firms, legal aid/non-profit agencies, and senior corporate counsel.

Mentors gathered to discuss their experience during a professional mentor panel
'Launch into Law' professional mentor panel on Jan. 10, 2019

Toledo Law Professor Jelani Jefferson Exum, professor of law and associate dean for diversity and inclusion, designed the 'Launch into Law' program in collaboration with Amber Chuhy, assistant director of law admissions. "Programs providing a pipeline to law school are vitally important, not only in providing individuals from a variety of backgrounds with access to a legal career, but also in enhancing the legal profession itself so that it better reflects the rich diversity of our society," explained Prof. Exum. "I was so pleased with the caliber of students that participated in our first program. They are bright, passionate, and all very interesting individuals whom I have no doubt will be excellent law students."

The 'Launch into Law' pilot was a success. Official LSAT practice tests were administered pre- and post-experience. Participant scores increased an average of 4.6 points with increases as high as 8 points. Three participants have already applied to Toledo Law for fall 2019, with two more planning to apply in the near future.

"This program has enlightened me to the true practice of law and gave me a glimpse as to what I should expect as a future law student," said one program participant. "Hearing each of the member's journeys has only strengthened my passion to one day work within the law. Each day was filled with great courses and speakers. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in the LSAT Skills Class, instructed by Professor Knouse, and the Legal Analysis Class instructed by Professor Byrnes. Both professors have made me more confident as I prepare to take the LSAT this January. 'Launch into Law' has only solidified my desire to attend the University of Toledo’s Law School. With the array of opportunities offered through its legal clinics and extensive courses taught by such knowledgeable professors, I know I will receive an exceptional education that will prepare me for the real world."

For more information about the program, please contact Amber Chuhy at amber.chuhy@utoledo.edu.

Launch into Law students and mentors
'Launch into Law' participants gathered with their professional mentors for a group photo at the program's closing reception
Last Updated: 7/3/19