Fordham Law

Fordham Law Students Reach Out to Young, Urban Minorities

August 14, 2009

At the top 100 corporate law firms, slightly more than 1% of attorneys are minorities, and minorities represent only 4.6% of partners at law firms generally. Fordham Law students Valerie Hooker '11 and Daniel White '11 are helping to improve those statistics.

Hooker and White participated in the 2009 Summer Law Institute organized by Legal Outreach, a New York-based nonprofit that introduces middle school and high school students in underserved areas to legal careers. The Summer Law Institute is an intensive five-week program for rising ninth-graders that inspires them to strive for academic excellence and to pursue careers in the law.  

"The Fordham Law community is dedicated to making a legal education accessible and desirable to the broadest range of students possible," said Dean William Michael Treanor. "The Summer Law Institute ensures that the legal profession in the 21st century will represent the talents and diversity of students from all backgrounds."

Hooker and White served as coordinators of the program's mock trial competition. They oversaw four teams of prosecutors and defenders as they competed to determine who would make it to the final trial, which was held at the Kings County Supreme Court and presided over by Judge L. Priscilla Hall. They also taught a criminal law class for the students.

"Valerie and Dan did an outstanding job introducing the young students to the law and encouraging them throughout the program," said Nitza Milagros Escalera, assistant dean of student affairs. "The Summer Law Institute is one of many pipeline programs that the Law School sponsors, and we are proud that our students and alumni perform such a prominent role in fostering diversity within the legal profession."

Also participating in the program as guest speakers were ten Fordham Law alumni: Judge Denny Chin '78, Jason Otaño '04, Melissa Rooker '97, Mark Torres '08, Chantal Senatus '97, Jose Arocho '00, Annabel Nau '97, Khari Parson '05, Wendy Credle '98, and Bret Parker '03.

The program also included field trips to the Bronx Hall of Justice and Kreindler & Kreindler LLP. The students received additional mock trial coaching at Dewey & Leboeuf.

Fordham Law works with Summer Law Institute students recruited from Bronx junior high schools. This is the first year Fordham Law has participated in the program.

Contact: Stephen Eichinger