The commitment to diversity, equity and inclusivity that Chase College of Law displays for prospective students begins months before they even apply. And the newest outreach in that commitment is the result of insights from the college’s assistant admissions director who had been a Chase student herself.
Maria Llambi, who graduated in 2015 and joined the Chase Office of Admissions in 2019, studied the research on obstacles diverse students often face in applying to a law school and saw that one of the first could be the admissions test virtually all American Bar Association-approved law schools – including Chase – require. Her strategy: Help those prospective students master the nuances of the Law School Admission Test.
“The common thread from the research and my personal interactions was that the LSAT entrance exam was keeping prospective students from having a competitive application. For many prospective students, test preparation companies are cost-prohibitive. I wanted to provide to individuals who were self-studying the advantages that test-prep participants receive.”
As part of Chase Law efforts to attract and maintain diverse applicants, including first-generation college students, Chase implemented the online LSAT Study Group. The program was designed to ensure that prospective students have a solid understanding of the requirements for admission to law school, including where to find resources to help them attain their goals. Ultimately, the hope is that participating students will build personal connections with Chase Law and with each other.
That hope takes the program beyond just a tally for test score numbers and interweaves the essence of Chase itself. “It is well-known that what sets Chase Law apart is our strong sense of community,” Ms. Llambi says. “I felt the combination of providing prospective students the tools to succeed on the LSAT as well as providing the sense of community Chase is known for would translate to greater law school access.”
Communities of prospective students have met online with Ms. Llambi Tuesday evenings, a time chosen to make participation easier for non-traditional students.
Over the past year, participants have accomplished several tasks, including practicing LSAT problems together, reading the text Law 101, engaging in online social activities and attending online legal presentations. Ms. Llambi further assisted them by presenting tutorials on essay writing, reading comprehension and time management.
The LSAT Study Group has attracted a diverse array of participants, including individuals of varying ages, careers and career levels, racial and ethnic backgrounds and geography, with individuals joining from as far away as Texas and California.
Among them have been Jarvis Graham and Daisy Zapata.
For Ms. Graham, the LSAT Study Group was an opportunity to have support among people like herself and to recalibrate her approach to reading for law school. “I got to see that at 35 years old I’m not alone. There were other people my age, and we got to share our similar struggles, brainstorm and support each other, which gave me a sense of peace about where I am at this point. Previously, I read for enjoyment, and I was now able to work on reading for content and making sure I’m picking out major themes.”
For Ms. Zapata, the program provided not only a running start on the LSAT, but also a preview of what could be her journey through law school. “This group provided me with their personal strategies to pass the test. They wanted to help you succeed. Not only did I get the chance to read Law 101 virtually with a group, but I gained friends. It was also super neat how Ms. Llambi invited us to participate virtually in the Black History Month Chase Faculty Series."