Every year, about 60 undergraduates participate in the Summer for Undergraduates Program at the Florida State University College of Law. The program introduces participants to law school, helps build their skills, and encourages them to pursue careers in the law.
Jacksonville, Florida, lawyer Wayne Hogan and his wife, Patricia, have endowed the program so that students can attend free of charge. Hogan also returns to the classroom every year to speak to participants about practicing law.
“Life as a civil justice lawyer has been great for me,” Hogan said, “but I am sure we all agree the profession needs to be broadened to include more minorities.” More than a decade ago, he met with students who had attended the program and learned how it had affected them. He realized that many students, especially minorities, might want to be lawyers, but without a program like this, they often lack opportunities to connect with law schools.
Participants take law school classes and learn about research and the law school admissions process. Hogan has also arranged for participants to tour the Florida state capitol and meet lawyers who work in the legislature and cabinet so they can see the broad opportunities available to them. The program gives students “a real, solid introduction to what law school and law practice are” and helps them decide whether law school is right for them, he said.
The program, which began in 1992, is the largest of its kind, and 860 students have participated. “It gives students a leg up based on merit and hard work,” Hogan said.
The Web site for the program is www.law.fsu.edu/summer_undergraduates.