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Reaching high school scholars


     More than 100 high school students from educationally and economically disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles will be getting an early sneak peek at a law school education from people in the know — law faculty and a recent law school grad.outrch

     Local high school students who have shown academic promise and are part of UCLA's campuswide Career-Based Outreach Program (CBOP) will get an inside view from faculty and alumni of such legal topics as alternative dispute resolution, jury trials and equal protection laws in a series of workshops Feb. 27.

     Sponsored by the law school and CBOP, the event is part of a campuswide outreach initiative designed to boost students' awareness of the requirements of higher education and careers while improving participants' academic competitiveness and chances for admission. Buses will bring students from Crenshaw, Dorsey, Fremont, Garfield, Hamilton, Inglewood, Jefferson and other Los Angeles high schools to campus for the daylong event.

"     This is an effort to demystify the law school experience," said Leo Trujillo Cox, director of outreach for the law school, and to drive home the importance of setting their sights high early on. "If they are not thinking about college and graduate school early on in their academic careers, they cannot go about optimizing their potential to achieve those goals. The planning needs to begin early."

     In an effort to equip talented and motivated disadvantaged students with the tools that will help them take maximum advantage of the opportunities available to them, UCLA has initiated a comprehensive outreach program that incorporates numerous graduate and professional school programs.

     The law school, for example, has begun participating in a "scholars" program for high school students. A second program, the Aguilera-Glassman Fellows Program, now in its second year, is targeted at college students who are considering law school. Students in that program are assigned a law school student mentor, are taught  study skills and given other enrichment exercises in series of Saturday academies led by law school faculty, students and alumni. The program is named for Jeff Glassman and Cecilia Aguilera, UCLA  alumni who facilitated funding for the program through the Wallis Foundation. Already, students from last year's first fellows program are applying for law school this year.

     "It will be years before we see results from some of these efforts," said Trujillo Cox, himself a recent graduate of the law school. "But we are hopeful that we can get some students on the right track to a top-notch education."

     The Feb. 27 event for high school students marks National Minority Law Student Recruitment Month, which is funded by the national Law School Admission Council to raise awareness of minority issues facing all law schools. The LSAC's call for awareness comes on the heels of laws passed in California and Texas that have reduced minority representation in law school classes.

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