ELPO Law’s legal diversity pipeline project encourages local students to study law

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP (ELPO Law) has created a program to help mentor students who would like to enter the field of law, with a particular focus on underrepresented populations. The goal of the program is to help diversify the field of law by ensuring that students of many different backgrounds consider law as a career option. ELPO Law attorney Rebecca Simpson is serving as the organizer of the program which began in the fall of the 2017-2018 school year.

The program works to bring attorneys into high school classrooms, make attorneys available at college and career fairs to discuss what educational paths students should pursue if they would like to pursue law as a career, identify students who may be interested in a mentoring relationship with a local attorney to provide that guidance if desired, and provide jobs or internships to students who are interested in working in law.

On April 16, freshmen from Bowling Green High School had the opportunity to participate in a field trip to various legal venues as part of this initiative as organized by ELPO Law. Students began with a welcome and tour kick off from Chief Justice Minton at the Warren County Justice Center followed by the opportunity to observe Judge Brent Potter’s courtroom in action. Next, the students heard from a variety of professionals in the legal field including Chris Cohron (Commonwealth Attorney for Warren County), Jamie Spinks Meredith (Assistant Warren County Attorney), James Rhorer (Assistant Public Advocate at the Department of Public Advocacy), Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower, and Vanessa Arguello (Spanish Interpreter). This led into a tour of the Warren County Regional Jail and the Bowling Green Police Department.

Finally, the students completed the day with a panel presentation from a variety of legal roles available in private practice including Attorney Carlos Bailey, and Runner Kenan Mujkanovic, Paralegal Oysara Demir, Office Assistant Adriana Qehaja, Marketing Director Mandy Hicks, Receptionist Cheryl Snydor, and Attorneys Rebecca Simpson and David Anderson, the last seven of which all represent ELPO.

“If we’re going to diversify the field of law, we’re going to need to do so in all aspects, from law enforcement to law firms,” says Bob Young, managing partner of ELPO. “People who are from different racial and ethnic backgrounds or who are considered diverse in other ways enrich the profession, challenge our thinking and help us better represent all people. We truly believe that many people would consider the field of law or law enforcement if they know there will be opportunities available to them, and that’s the message we’re bringing.”

Throughout the school year, ELPO attorneys and staff will continue to work with students to educate them about the legal profession. “Our goal is to encourage students from all backgrounds, especially those who have been historically under-represented in the legal profession, to consider pursuing a career in law,” said Rebecca Simpson, senior attorney at ELPO who has led the project.

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