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Professor Brenda Saunders

Summer Institute for Pre-Legal Studies

Five-week program helps disadvantaged college students build legal skills

The program, which is hosted by Seton Hall Law School, seeks to increase the number of disadvantaged students who apply and gain admission to law school.

The Pre-Legal Program was envisioned in 1979. One of its goals was to increase the pool of qualified Educational Opportunity Fund applicants to law school. The Educational Opportunity Fund, a state program and Pre-Legal’s funding source, provides financial assistance and support to economically and educationally disadvantaged college students.

That initial goal naturally blossomed into a goal to increase the diversity within the legal profession, a goal which the Pre-Legal Program has proudly accomplished during the past 30 years. Another objective was to give participants a realistic expectation of the demands of law school. Through this objective, additional educational goals emerged and the Program assisted students in acquiring skills in analysis, writing, time and stress management, and successful study strategies. “Many of our alums reported increased grade point averages from what they learned in Pre-Legal once they returned to their undergraduate institutions,” said Professor Brenda Saunders Hampden, the director of the program.

Although not all Pre-Legal participants apply to law school, their tenure with the Program allows them to understand the demands of law school and the legal profession, and to allow them to make an informed decision as to whether the law is the best career choice for them.

This summer’s programming began May 29 and concludes with Moot Court Oral Arguments before New Jersey Superior Court Judges on Thursday, June 24 at the law school.

For more information on the Summer Law Institute, click here.