People working in the legal profession rarely reflect the diversity of the society they serve. That’s why Northern Kentucky University’s Salmon P. Chase College of Law created the All Rise program.
All Rise removes obstacles for low-income, first-generation or racially diverse students by not only offering financial support but also professional development during all three years of law school.
"At Chase, our mission is to educate a diverse group of future lawyers who will bring knowledge, awareness and a capacity to lift up all who seek their services,” says Judith Daar, Chase College of Law dean. “All Rise aligns with that mission by supporting and mentoring law students historically underrepresented in the profession so that they can add value and perspective to the practice of law."
All Rise received more than $52,000 through NKU’s 2020 Innovation Challenge, a proposal competition hosted earlier this year. The challenge is part of NKU’s strategic framework, Success by Design.
All Rise will help students like Derrick Reedus, one of the first 10 incoming participants this fall.
"This program is important as it provides underrepresented students the extra attention, professional advice and financial support that is needed to help them overcome the barriers that they typically face when pursuing a degree in law,” he says.
One of the benefits of All Rise is removing the financial barrier that many law students face. First-year books, a bar preparation course and the bar application fee will be provided at no cost. Students will also receive a $1,000 stipend at the end of their first year to cover out-of-pocket expenses.
But All Rise doesn’t stop at financial support. The program provides monthly professional development opportunities during all three years of law school and also offers a leadership development component. Starting during their second year of law school, All Rise participants will serve as mentors to a group of NKU undergraduate students from similar backgrounds. In building relationships with these students, they will focus on leadership, compassion, empathy and creative brainstorming—skills they will utilize as lawyers for their future clients.
At its core, All Rise is a support system for underrepresented students from the first interaction through the walk across the stage at commencement.
“All Rise is an investment of time, energy, effort and connection to make sure students are supported in ways we normally don’t think about,” says Ashley Siemer, director of student affairs and enrollment management for Chase College of Law. “Our goal is to provide a life-cycle support system for students to be successful all the way through the bar examination.”