DePaul University College of Law is excited to announce its new partnership with Minority Legal Education Resources, Inc.
(“MLER”). After 40 years at Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, MLER starts its next chapter with DePaul Law in Summer 2017. This strategic partnership between DePaul Law and MLER emphasizes DePaul's commitment to diversity, inclusion and community-building, as well as its holistic, supportive environment for students and recent alumni.
MLER was co-founded in 1977 by Northwestern Law professor Ronald Kennedy and attorney Ann Claire Williams (now a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit). Its mission is to increase diversity and inclusion in the legal profession by maintaining its tradition of excellence through its supplemental bar process management program. Open to everyone, but specifically targeted towards minority and underrepresented groups, its bi-annual program aims to provide students with the tool box and encouragement necessary to pass the Illinois bar exam.
MLER is considered a companion program to commercial bar preparation courses, such as BARBRI and Kaplan. Professor Ben Alba, DePaul College of Law’s Director of Academic Success and Bar Passage, describes the distinct contribution of MLER: “While commercial review courses focus on the black-letter law, MLER teaches how to navigate the daunting bar review process and use study time effectively.” He recognizes MLER as a valuable resource for all bar-takers, noting that “half of effective bar exam preparation is psychological, meaning that if students develop a constructive attitude toward the bar prep grind, they will put in the time and effort and do all the things needed to ensure their success.” MLER provides students with the guidance and inspiration necessary to achieve this “professional and personal milestone.”
Joi Thomas, president of MLER, and alum of DePaul College of Law, first joined the organization as a student and has since been active within the program. She considers her achievements in this group to be one of the “more meaningful aspects of being an advocate” because she is “part of the doing.” Like Ben Alba, she wants students to leave with the confidence to be successful throughout the bar exam, and their careers.
Thomas recognizes the diligent effort of all MLER members in making the group a success. She remains impressed with the dedication shown by its current, nine-person Board of Directors, which consists of legal practitioners from across all sectors. She also acknowledges Jerome Taylor, MLER’s program coordinator and DePaul College of Law adjunct, whose energy and enthusiasm “keeps students in their chairs,” and tutor coordinator Candice Smith, whose countless efforts ensures each MLER volunteer is prepared to lead their classes and student groups towards success.
The move to DePaul is not the only major milestone for MLER in 2017. This year marks the first time MLER is expanding out of Illinois with a new program in California, partnership with the California Bar Foundation.
To learn more about MLER, please visit mler.org.