JTB’s Associate Board’s first roundtable showcased the impact of education and mentorship on students of color and other underrepresented groups. In a lively discussion, panelists advised that students who may not know where to begin to explore their options should utilize their smartphones to look into all educational possibilities: programs like those that JTB offers, scholarships, and schools. They also stated that students should look for mentors beyond their own culture and comfort zones.
Participants described the benefits that mentors have on students. Mentors can point students toward educational paths; help debunk popular perceptions of lawyers; provide exposure to different aspects of the legal profession; and introduce students to judges, lawyers, law clerks; and help arrange visits to court rooms and law schools.
Most importantly, it was agreed that reaching students early, as JTB does with middle schoolers, shows our Scholars that it’s not impossible to become a lawyer. Our diverse group of mentors demonstrate leadership as they share their journeys of overcoming adversity, and very often becoming the first one in a family to go to law school, to become a lawyer, or to serve on the bench.
Special thanks to our roundtable sponsor, Winston & Strawn, and to our panel:
Judge Ann Claire Williams, Ret.; Judge Ruben Castillo, Ret. Chief Judge for the Northern District of Illinois; Juan R. Thomas, Founder of Thomas Law Group and former National Bar Association President; Rather Stanton, Legal Prep Charter Academy Founder; and Lauren Hofmann, Exec. Director / Assistant General Counsel at JP Morgan Chase.