Academic Resource Center honored for fostering diversity

Seattle University School of Law’s programs and professors who work toward creating a more diverse legal community received the Washington State Bar Association’s 2006 Excellence in Diversity Award.

The award went to Professors David Boerner and Paula Lustbader and the School of Law’s Alternative Admission Program and Academic Resource Center. This award is given to a lawyer, law firm or law-related group that has made a significant contribution to diversity in the legal profession’s employment of ethnic minorities, women and persons with disabilities.

The only law school program of its kind in the state, the Alternative Admission Program allows a number of promising students who don’t meet traditional admission requirements to be admitted to the law school. They attend an intensive seven-week summer program that integrates a traditional Criminal Law course with legal writing and study skills.

Students admitted through the alternative program are supported throughout law school by the Academic Resource Center. ARC’s primary purpose is to help diverse and non-traditional students adjust, succeed and excel in law school. It also contributes to a more diverse legal profession. In the fall, ARC students have access to resources to keep them on track. The center also helps non-ARC law students referred by professors for support.

“This program is helping create a more diverse legal field, and I couldn’t be prouder of the work done by Professors Boerner and Lustbader to ensure that these bright and talented students become ethical lawyers working in the service of justice,” Dean Kellye Testy said.

Statistics show the program is meeting its purpose of helping diverse students excel. In fact, two ARC students were faculty scholars, one graduated number one in his class, and several ended up in the top 20 percent of their class. In addition, ARC students have made significant contributions to the law school community by serving on student committees and participating in student government.

And they have gone on to great success after graduation.

“Our 550 alums are doing amazing things, and they are people who would not have been admitted into law school without this program,” said Lustbader, director of the Academic Resource Center. Among them are a county prosecutor, a Superior Court judge, federal court clerks and lawyers working in both the public and private sectors.

Sullivan Hall