Office of Diversity Affairs

Volunteer Opportunities

The Honorable Jesse Reyes

"There is an aura about being a judge," says Judge Jesse Reyes. "That's why I usually invite stundents to lunch, speak about my personal experiences, and let them know they can ask anything they want. More

There are many ways that the legal community can volunteer to help expand the pipeline and create a more diverse legal profession. The following list is a sampling of Chicago area opportunities:

The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) was founded as a non-profit project of the ABA Fund for Justice and Education to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school through mentorship and academic skill building. Contact Chipo Nyambuya, Midwest Regional Coordinator at 312-207-2426 or chipo@cleoscholars.org.

Griffith Tutoring is a non-profit organization preparing at-risk Chicago high school students for the ACT college entrance exam by partnering with businesses and training their professionals to tutor and mentor the students. If you are interested in partnering with Griffith Tutoring and providing volunteers for programs, please contact Rather A. Stanton at 847.331.6253 or rstanton@griffithtutoring.org.

The Just The Beginning Foundation (JTBF), invites you to volunteer with Just The Beginning Foundation's Summer Legal Institute, Advanced Summer Legal Institute, and/or Middle School Law Camp. This year, as we look ahead to the summer programs, we are looking for additional ways to directly engage SLI students with attorneys, teachers, and legal professionals. JTBF welcomes volunteer presenters to all the Summer Legal Institutes to coach students in oral arguments, help with moot court activities, present JTBF curriculum, help SLI students practice networking, and serve as mentors. To learn about volunteering your time and resources, please contact Dana Horst, Director of Development & Marketing, at 312-258-4574 / dhorst@jtbf.org, or Paraisia Winston, Program Director, at 312-258-4868 / pwinston@jtbf.org.

Legal Prep Charter Academies - Former JTBF staffers, Sam Finklestien and Rather Stanton are seeking support from the Chicago legal community to join their efforts to provide a high-quality, free high school education to students who are currently in underperforming schools., where statistics tell us they have little chance of ever setting foot in a four year college. Legal Prep Charter Academies is a nonprofit organization founded to create a legal-themed charter high school in a high-need Chicago community. Legal Prep will offer students a college prep education, with legal topics infused into the core subjects. Legal Prep Charter School founders can be reached at: http://www.legalprep.org.

The Legacy Charter School was founded by the Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, law firm, which provides financial and management support to the school. Its attorneys and staff are involved in Legacy and the lives of its students through activities such as tutoring and mentoring. The school invites you to become a tutor at Legacy Charter School (www.legacycharterschool.org) where each week adults are positively influencing scholars through their talents and guidance. Whether you can bring a special skill like knitting, quilting, gardening, sports trivia, carpentry; or whether your expertise lies in tutoring, math games, technology or reading--we have scholars eager to meet you. Contact Kristen Brady at 773-542-1640.

The Legal Education Access Program (LEAP) is a one week program for college juniors and seniors interested in pursuing a legal career held from August 8 - 13, 2010, at The John Marshall Law School. This program will support diversity in the legal profession by inspiring students from groups historically under-represented in the law to become lawyers. The program will bring together students from diverse backgrounds and provide them with the training necessary to successfully prepare and navigate the road to law school. The program will also introduce students to the law school application process and extinguish any apprehensions about applying and gaining admission. If you are interested in volunteering to mentor the students; judge the program's mock trial competition; or otherwise support LEAP, please send a message to diversity@jmls.edu.

The Hispanic Lawyers Association JD Mentor Program is designed to assist Hispanic college and law students in developing their educational and professional interest in law. The program is designed so that a lawyer, law student and college student are placed in a mentor group. This arrangement allows the attorney to serve as the main mentor, but also allows the college student to have access to a current law student, one who most likely to be more recently familiar with the law school application process and current experiences in law school. For more information, please go to the following website: http://www.hlai.org.

The PreLaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program brings approximately 25 disadvantaged students from across the country together for a four week period at Chicago-Kent College of Law. During those four weeks, the students get a taste of what it is like to be a law student, as well as what it is that those in the legal profession actually do. Students take substantive law school courses, visit lawyers who practice in varied areas of the law and spend time in state and federal court talking to legal professionals and observing their work and the legal environment. For more information, please go to the following website: http://www.kentlaw.edu/adm/plus.

Minds Matter of Chicago provides mentorship and tutoring to disadvantaged high school students. We are a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to transform the lives of accomplished high school students from low-income families by broadening their dreams and preparing them for college success. Each student is paired with two mentors with whom they meet weekly throughout the school year to work on essays, summer prep program selection, and college/university selection. To volunteer with Minds Matter contact chicago@mindsmatter.org.

Minority Legal Education Resources, Inc., is a not for profit organization that provides tutoring and mentoring to recent law school graduates to support passage of the Illnois bar examination. MLER is dedicated to the mission of increasing the number of practicing minority attorneys. MLER's primary activity is the administration of its Bar Preparation Program (Program), which is designed to supplement, not compete with, commercial bar preparation courses already available. The Program, offered twice a year, stresses the development of study and exam-taking skills and involves extensive advice and counseling to the student. Students are advised on how to manage his or her life, including test strategies, during the period prior to the examination and during the two-day period over which the examination is administered. More information is available at www.mler.org.

The area law schools have a myriad of volunteer opportunities during the year. Please contact your favorite local law school or one of the following member schools of the Chicago Consortium of Law School Diversity Professionals: