Law school program pairs mentors and students

9NEWS at 6 p.m. 5/6/16.

KUSA - For those who are the first in their families to set foot on a college campus, even thinking about a post-graduate degree can seem out of reach. That is something U.S. District Judge Christine Arguello can relate to.

“I came from a family that was low-income,” Arguello said. “My parents didn’t graduate from high school. I had nobody who had gone to college before.

With that in mind, Judge Arguello started a program called “Law School, Si Se Puede,” which is Spanish for ‘Yes, You Can.’ It is designed to help low-income and minority students interested in pursuing a career in law, by guiding them towards law school.

“I’m trying to get them to start thinking, as if they were lawyers,” Judge Arguello said.

She is spearheading the program and getting help from 75 mentors – some lawyers, some law school students -- for the 25 college students currently in the program, like Viridiana Valdez.

“It’s made college so much easier for me,” Valdez said.

DU junior Demetrius Wells said he has also benefited from joining the program.

“I’ve definitely had opportunities that I would not have had, had I not joined the program,” said Wells, who already has his sights set on a particular law school. “I’d love to go to USC, Southern California. That’s been my dream school since forever.”

CU Boulder student Valdez said she has dreams she wants to make a reality.

“I just want to be there for people and help people,” she said.

A team of three mentors – two lawyers and one law school student – are assigned to each student in “Si Se Puede” when they are freshmen. The students remained paired up with their mentor team for the entire four years of undergraduate course-work.

“It’s a program that I think people really understand the impact we can have on changing the face of our local bar by making sure that it is reflective of our population,” Arguello said.

“Law School, Si Se Puede” started in 2014, so those who began the program as freshmen will begin applying to law schools within the next two years.

For more information on the program and when applications can be submitted, go to http://lawschoolsisepuede.org/

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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