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Heritage and other universities create pipeline to law school for diverse WA students

UPDATED: Thu., June 23, 2022

By Vanessa Ontiveros Yakima Herald-Republic

YAKIMA – Heritage University in Toppenish has partnered with other Washington schools to create a law school pipeline to increase access and readiness among students for law school, according to a Heritage news release. The program targets Latino and Indigenous students.

The partnership is between Heritage University and the law schools at the University of Washington, Seattle University and Gonzaga University, the release said. HU does not have a law school.

The program is funded by a grant from the Law School Admission Council Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars Program, according to the release.

The program will last for three weeks and began June 14. It includes in-person classes for 37 students on the Heritage campus three days a week, according to the release. The program includes mock trial classes, visits from state Supreme Court justices and discussions on the law school application process and experience.

There will be a follow-up program in October. Students who complete the full program will receive a stipend, according to the Seattle University School of Law website.

Heritage University serves about 1,000 mostly undergraduate students. It has the rare distinction of being both a Hispanic Serving Institution and a Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institution.

No Heritage graduates have enrolled in a Washington law school in five years, citing barriers such as tuition costs, test prep costs, the need to relocate for school, familial commitments and lack of confidence, according to the Seattle University School of Law website.

The goal of the program is to provide students with an understanding of what it takes to get into and succeed in law school and forge connections between students and industry leaders, the Heritage announcement said.

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