Elon to host inaugural national gathering of first-generation law students

A Zoom conference on April 16 aimed at creating a new alliance of first-generation law school students, and first-generation undergraduate students with interest in the legal profession, will feature panels of students and legal educators from across the nation.

The opportunities and challenges faced by first-generation law school students will be the central theme of panel discussions and breakout groups as Elon Law hosts a Zoom conference on April 16, 2021, with legal educators and students from around the United States.

“National Alliance of First-Generation Law School Students” takes place from 1-5 p.m. The program remains open to first-generation undergraduate and law students, faculty, and administrators from any law school. There is no cost to attend; advanced registration is required.

The program aims to bring first-generation law school candidates together to talk about their experience navigating law school while exploring ways to enhance candidates’ experience prior to entering law school, during law school, and after law school.

The convening will be open to all law school candidates that identify as first-generation college students, as well as first generation undergraduate students thinking of pursuing the law as a profession. First-generation students are defined as students with neither parent or legal guardian having obtained a bachelor’s degree.

Members in attendance will be undergraduate and law school first-generation students, law school faculty, and other first-generation college allies.

Professor Steve Friedland

With guidance from Elon Law Professor Steve Friedland and Oscar Miranda in Elon University’s First-Generation Student Support Services in the Center for Access and Success, the afternoon program is organized by the Alliance of Legal Pioneers and Supporters, an Elon Law student group that provides support and resources for first-generation law students.

Breakout sessions and full-group conversations will focus on the reflections and observations made by students and law school educators taking part in two separate panels.

Student Panel

  • Brittany Graybeal, first-year student at Elon Law
  • Sean Jeffcoat ’11, Elon University alumnus and a second-year student at Elon Law
  • Kaitlyn Smith ’23, Elon University sophomore
  • Gaby Jimenez ’21, Elon University senior

Professionals Panel

  • Reyes Aguilar, associate dean for admission and financial aid at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law
  • Jessica Fonseca-Nader, assistant dean for enrollment & scholarships and associate professor of legal writings at St. Thomas University School of Law
  • Dustin Benham, professor of law at Texas Tech University School of Law
  • Olympia Duhart, associate dean for faculty and student development & professor of law at the Shepard Broad College of Law at Nova Southeastern University

Friedland said his aim is for the conference to be the first step toward the creation of a new National Alliance of First-Generation Law School Students with resources and data on related issues managed at Elon Law.

It also meant to provide a forum in which first-generation undergraduate students interested in the law might be able to learn from the experiences and expertise of current first-generation law students and legal professionals.

The program includes prizes, and networking availability with other law school candidates, professors, and professionals.

For more information on the event, contact Elon Law Professor Steve Friedland at sfriedland2@elon.edu, or Oscar Miranda, assistant director of First-Generation Student Support Services, at omiranda@elon.edu.