College of Liberal and Fine Arts
Institute for Law and Public Affairs
The Summer Law School Preparation Academy (SLSPA), hosted by the UTSA Institute for Law and Public Affairs, recently celebrated its 12th year at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The academically intensive 12-credit-hour, ten-week intensive coursework is credited with helping academy students being admitted to and excel in law schools across the country.
The Institute for Law and Public Affairs (ILPA) is dedicated to providing a premier pre-law program at the UTSA. ILPA provides prelaw advising; supports the legal studies minor; brings, along with the Southwest Association of Prelaw Advisors, the Law School Fair at the UTSA; and administers its hallmark program, the Summer Law School Preparation Academy (SLSPA). Hundreds of students have graduated from the SLSPA since its inception in 2001, and its alumni have gained admission to over 150 law schools in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Europe.
This year, the SLSPA welcomed 89 students who benefited from its first and or second phase. The SLSPA is an intense and rigorous ten week program conducted in two phases across one or two summers at the UTSA Downtown Campus. SLSPA 2013 students were at various stages of their academic studies and included rising sophomores, juniors and seniors, graduate students, and several transient students coming from outside UTSA including students from the University of Notre Dame, Gardner-Webb University, TAMU Corpus Christi, The George Washington University, and St. Mary’s University. UTSA SLSPA 2013 students took demanding courses which were designed to hone their analytical skills, become skilled in writing, enhance reading comprehension, and increase ability to draw reasoned conclusions, all skills needed in law school and in the practice of the law. Students also benefited from the LSAT course, increasing their analytical and logic reasoning skills and their scores.
Along with the SLSPA academics, students completed their coursework with twice weekly plenary sessions, featuring law professors, law school admissions professionals from Texas and other states, judges and lawyers to replicate the law school environment, give insights into the law school admissions process, and share their experiences as former law students and current legal professionals. This year, plenary sessions’ lecturers included, among many others, University of Texas at Austin Law School Dean, Ward Farnsworth and Professors David Sokolow and Beth Youngdale; Baylor University School of Law Professor Laura Hernandez; as well as Texas Southern University Professor Fernando Colon-Navarro. Additionally, the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law Associate Dean Reyes Aguilar enlightened students about financing a legal education. Students who completed the four-course designated sequence earned the ILPA Certificate in Legal Reasoning.
The ILPA intervenes early in college, providing opportunities to those who may need academic uplift and prepare students to have stronger foundations for law school. The purpose of the SLSPA is to enhance pre-law educational opportunities and increase the number of Texas students who gain admission to and excel in high-quality law schools.