State Bar of Texas Blog
UTEP's Law School Preparation Institute receives $250K gift
Former Texas State Bar President Bob Black has gifted $250,000 to the University of Texas at El Paso Law School Preparation Institute.
“I made a 10-year commitment to LSPI because I believe in its mission and am proud of its accomplishments,” Black said. “At their graduation ceremony this summer, I got to meet the young people and their families who have sacrificed to go through the challenging program. They are our future and I am optimistic about our future because these young people are exceptional. We need programs like LSPI to help prepare these future leaders for the challenges ahead. No other university in the country has a program as successful at LSPI, and this brings added distinction to UTEP.”
As state bar president, Black presented a resolution honoring the LSPI in conjunction with a September 2011 meeting of the Bar’s Board of Directors in El Paso. The resolution recognized the LSPI’s efforts and accomplishments in providing educational and practical opportunities for UTEP students interested in pursuing a career in the legal profession. Black, who earned his bachelor’s in history from UTEP in 1977, was named a 2011 Distinguished Alumnus.
"Bob Black is one of the most beloved and best-regarded attorneys in Texas, and LSPI is lucky to count him as a friend,” said William Weaver, J.D., Ph.D., co-founder and director of the Law School Preparation Institute. “Bob has been a potent mentor to LSPI students and staff and is a vocal advocate of LSPI in his work with the State Bar and other organizations. His extraordinary gift to LSPI helps ensure that our students will continue to receive the best academic preparation and advice available concerning admission to law school."
The UTEP Law School Preparation Institute was established in 1998 to help students prepare for law school through an intensive summer academic program and reap the benefits of direct access to the legal community through instructors, clerkships and internships. The program strives to educate and guide students, as well as the community, about the responsibility and integrity required of law students and lawyers.
The program’s students have partnered with the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program of El Paso to volunteer as legal advocates for children in the local foster care system. Students also reach out to local high school students by providing activities and programs to encourage them to pursue a career in the legal profession.
The UTEP Law School Preparation Institute has also partnered with the Texas Young Lawyers Association (TYLA) since 2009 to hold a pre-law symposium to emphasize to El Paso high school students the importance of diversity in the legal profession and to encourage them to pursue a legal education and help prepare them for that path.
About 60 percent of UTEP Law School Preparation Institute graduates go on to first-tier law schools, and more than 40 percent attend top 25 law schools.
“LSPI has received terrific support from lawyers in El Paso,” Black continued. “When I was president of the State Bar, I used the opportunity to make the case to all lawyers across the state who had benefitted from an education at UTEP to help LSPI. This is an ongoing effort and I hope to continue advocating on behalf of statewide support from alumni for LSPI. It deserves it.”
More information about the LSPI can be found at www.academics.utep.edu/law.
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