Walmart To Provide $150,000 for School of Law Diversity Program
Posted on April 13, 2016
The Walmart Legal Department has committed $50,000 per year for the next three years to support the University of Arkansas School of Law’s existing diversity program.
The Summer Pre-law Program Arkansas – SPPARK – is an annual program designed to expand diversity in law schools and in the legal profession by providing a pipeline for underrepresented population groups to enter law school. During the in-residence program, rising college juniors and seniors from underrepresented population groups are introduced to the legal profession and trained in strategies for taking the law school entrance exam, known as the LSAT.
The primary goal is to increase diversity in the legal profession by encouraging underrepresented populations to consider careers in law and prepare them for admission to law school.
“We are thankful for Walmart’s tremendous generosity for SPPARK,” said Stacy Leeds, dean of the University of Arkansas School of Law. “This is an established program that is making a real difference, and Walmart’s support gives it the opportunity to continue and to grow.”
“The legal profession has trailed most others in attracting, retaining and advancing diverse talent,” said Karen Roberts, executive vice president and general counsel for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “Through the leadership of Dean Stacy Leeds, the University of Arkansas Law School has created a successful program that is attracting more diverse students and making an impact by combining law school training with practical law exposure through interactive sessions with courts, law firms and corporate law departments like Walmart’s. We are proud to support such a meaningful program.”
The law school’s summer pre-law program was initially established in 2012 through a grant from the Law School Admission Council. The University of Arkansas School of Law has been able to continue the program with independent funds, a rare occurrence among the LSAC-funded programs. Approximately 80 students have successfully completed the program since it began.
The program has two distinct components: traditional curriculum and professional development. The curriculum component introduces students to the feel of law school coursework and develops critical thinking, problem solving and oral and written communications skills. The professional development component provides students with practical skills in resume building, interviewing for jobs, applying for law school and networking with lawyers, judges and business leaders.