(June 21, 2012) -- The UTSA Summer Law School Preparation Academy (SLSPA) celebrated its 11th opening ceremony June 4 at the UTSA Downtown Campus. The Institute for Law and Public Affairs hosts the academically intensive program annually, allowing students to earn 12 credit hours over 10 weeks in courses that introduce them to the rigors of law school and prepare them for the challenges of the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT).
The SLSPA is credited with helping students gain admission to and excel in law schools across the country and with establishing UTSA as a pipeline for law schools seeking bright, well-prepared students who historically have been under-represented in law school.
The opening day ceremony featured presentations from legal experts, judicial officials, faculty and alumni of the SLSPA program. Guest speakers included UTSA President Ricardo Romo; Lawrence Williams, UTSA vice provost and dean of undergraduate studies; Michael Bernard, San Antonio city attorney; Lisa Tatum, president-elect of the State Bar of Texas; 73rd District Court Judge Renée F. McElhaney; Stefanie A. Lindquist, A.W. Walker Centennial Chair in Law at the University of Texas at Austin; Cliff Herberg, Bexar County first assistant district attorney; Anthony Arriaga, assistant city attorney; David Hinojosa, regional counsel for MALDEF; Patricia Alvarez, attorney, UTSA Alumna, and ILPA benefactor; and several SLSPA alumni currently pursuing legal studies. Guest speakers shared their experiences and advice to the 2012 Class of SLSPA students.
"Beginning today, you are in the first steps in the pursuit of your legal career," said Tatum. "Be a sponge. Challenge yourself, challenge one another and learn from one another, just as you learn from all of the individuals dedicated to guiding you through this program."
Bernard focused on the need for excellence and passion in the legal profession, reminding students "there are too many lawyers, but not enough good ones."
Academy students are at various stages of their academic studies and include UTSA sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students, as well as students from New Mexico Highlands University, University of Central Florida, George Washington University, Boston College, University of Miami and St. Mary's University.
The SLSPA was developed by UTSA faculty in conjunction with the University of Texas School of Law to enhance pre-law educational opportunities and increase the number of Texas students who gain admission to and excel in high-quality law schools. SLSPA graduates have gained admission to more than 150 law schools including Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Michigan, UC Berkeley, University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Austin.
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