(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.
UTSA prides itself on giving students a well-rounded education. Combining a top-tier academic program with opportunities for personal growth prepares students to compete in a global economy. And that's not all. They learn to be informed and engaged citizens as well. At the heart of that academic program is an award-winning core curriculum.
For four consecutive years, UTSA has received an A-rating from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni for the caliber of its core curriculum. According to ACTA, UTSA requires its students to take six of the seven courses deemed "crucial" to a well-rounded education: composition, literature, U.S. government or history, economics, mathematics and science. Only a handful of other institutions in the U.S. are giving students these tools, which are needed to succeed in careers and the community.
Did you know? UTSA is one of only three Texas institutions and 23 in the United States to receive the highest rating for its core curriculum in the 2014-2015 edition of the ACTA's "What Will They Learn?" report.
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