Campus News

Three Dillard University Students Earn Full Rides To Law School

Title: #BlackGirlMagic: Three Dillard University Students Earn Full Rides To Law School

Author: Lauren R.D. Fox

Photographer: Sabree Hill

Dillard University’s Pre-Law program is nationally recognized and one of the leading programs in the HBCU consortium. Its Mock Trial Team was founded in 2016 and is a member of the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA); Dillard University Pre-Law Advisor Adria Kimbrough, local attorney Roman Griffith, and Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge, the Honorable Kern Reese, serve as coaches for the Mock Trial team.  In 2018, Dillard’s Pre-Law program was awarded the AccessLex Institute Legal Education Diversity Pipeline Grant, which funds programs that provide students from historically underrepresented groups with resources to aid them in successful matriculation into law school and the legal profession. Dillard is the only undergraduate institution in the nation, and the only Historically Black University in the nation to be awarded a grant through this program.

Dillard also received $125,00  to launch a program called LEAD (Legal Education Advancing Diversity) that provides students and graduates from the three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in New Orleans with a comprehensive year-long program that will include intensive preparation for the Law School Admissions Test (“LSAT”), law school admissions support, and a mentor in the legal profession.

Three 2019 graduates, Raven Morris, Chevel Powell, and Madison Torry are winning examples of Dillard’s Pre-Law program challenging the status quo by creating lanes for future Black female attorneys. These three women received full scholarships to their law school of choice; learn how they received full funding, a feat that is hard to come by.

Dillard University (DU): How has Dillard's pre-law program prepared you for law school?

Chevel Powell (CP): Dillard's Pre-law program has prepared me for law school in several ways. For one, Mrs. Kimbrough is exceptional at what she does and has a way of ensuring that each student's needs are met, regardless of her busy schedule. For another, I was exposed to all the requirements of the law school application process in Freshman year and so my aspiration of going to law school was no longer a distant dream but the pre-law program made it real. Having the constant support of the program has made me confident in my ability to succeed in law school. The preparation was hard but with the help of the program, I was able to do it. Due to this success, I now know that as difficult as law school will be, I can excel.

Madison Torry (MT): Mrs. Kimbrough always says that we put in the work. I always respond that without her there would be no work for us to do. For that, I will always be grateful for what she has done for me.The Pre-Law Program at Dillard University has greatly contributed to success at Dillard. The program gave me an understanding on each step that I needed to get into law school, grew my professional network in the New Orleans legal community, led me to summer internships and fellowships, and most importantly, gave me an amazing support system. I knew that I was going to law school, but the LEAD program gave me an opportunity to see that I could go to law school for free.

Raven Morris (RM): The Pre-Law Program at Dillard University has helped me in ways unimaginable. I have gained so many relationships and life long mentors in the legal community. Specifically, the Mock Trial Team gave me the opportunity to gain confidence and most importantly discipline that I know will be beneficial in Law School. The LEAD Program was invaluable. I was able to increase my LSAT score by 11 points through the LSAT prep course and ultimately receive over $400,000 of scholarship offers to law school. The Pre-law Program at Dillard University prepared me in ways I didn’t even know I needed and made my dreams of attending law school for free a reality.

DU: Why do you want to be an attorney?

CP: I was initially attracted to a career in law because I had an interest in education policy and I wanted to take to pursue that interest through law. However, through programs such as the University of Houston's Pre-Law Pipeline Program, I have been exposed to areas of law I was not previously aware of. Through my experience with mentors in the corporate field and a brief stint at a corporate law firm, I have developed an interest in corporate law.

MT: The law is the most powerful thing in the world. The law is in everything that we do, see, and hear. As cliche as it sounds, I want to make the world a better place. As a lawyer, I will be able to do so. I am most passionate about gender equality and education reform. I don't believe that a man should make laws that determine what women can and cannot do or what women have access to. I also believe that future of children should be in the hands of educators and focus on equity rather than equality.

RM: Growing up witnessing violence, despair and police brutality in my community, I decided I wanted to be the change I wanted to see in my community by obtaining a Juris Doctorate.

DU:What advice do you have for incoming pre-law students?

CP:  I would advise incoming Pre-Law students to take advantage of Mrs. Kimbrough and the LEAD program. Not everyone-especially students of color-has the kind of guidance that we receive here. Immerse yourself in the program as thoroughly as possible. Explore mock trial, go to Pre-law events, check in with Mrs. Kimbrough periodically, try a summer program. These things are readily available and at your disposal. If you are serious about pursuing law, use them.

MT: I would tell incoming and continuing students in the Pre-Law Program to go at their own pace. That going to law school, the application process, and the LSAT is not a race. It is okay to know that what is your highest score or accomplishment may not be someone else's. Be encouraged by your peers, but never compare yourself to them. The sacrifices that you make will all be worth it, guaranteed.

RM: My advice for any incoming Dillard University Pre-Law students is that the foundation is in place for your success. Success in this program is not an accident, so you have to put in the work.

Raven Morris

Raven Morris hails from Memphis, Tennessee. She graduated Dillard University Summa Cum Laude with a Political Science degree. While at Dillard, Morris served as the Mock Trial Team Captain, Political Science Society President, Student Government Association, Political Action Committee Chair, Sophomore Class Vice President, Presidential Ambassador and DU Ambassador for the Office of Admissions.Morris was a Dean's Scholarships Recipient, member of Pi Sigma Alpha National Political Science Honor Society, Alpha Beta Theta Chapter and 2018 Justice Revius Ortique Scholarship Recipient. She received the following awards before her May 2019 graduation: 2019 Presidential William Sutton Prize Recipient- Best All Around Senior, 2019 Most Outstanding Student in the School of Social Sciences, 2019 Undergraduate Research and Creative Works Competition, Third Place- “Redistricting: The Case Against Gerrymandering,” 2019 “Improving the Human Condition” Award for my civic engagement and leadership through the Politicals Science Society, 2018 “Program of the Year” Award for the success of an event through my position as Political Action Committee Chair entitled “Letters to Legislators,” 2016 Intramural Mock Trial Competition- Best Attorney Award, 2016 Diaper Dandy Award recipient- Award by University President to a freshman who excels in and out of the classroom and stands out as leaders among their peers. Morris will attend the University of Tennessee College of Law on a full scholarship.

Chevel Powell

Chevel Powell, a Jamaican native and Political Science Major, earned a 4.0-grade point average during her undergraduate career. While at Dillard, Powell wrote for the University’s annual magazine Dillard Today and the digital business site Walker’s Legacy. When she wasn’t writing, Powell worked as an Upward Bound tutor and resident assistant for the University’s Residence Life department. Powell was also as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Scholar for the White House Initiative. The program was designed to honor students who improve standards of living in their communities. In the fall, Powell will enroll in Washington University School of Law, located in St. Louis, Missouri to earn her Juris Doctorate degree. Washington University provided Powell with a full scholarship to complete her education.

Madison Torry

Floridian Madison Torry studied Political Science during her undergraduate career at Dillard University. During college, Torry served as the Senior Class Council President, Mock Trial, the Founder of InspiHER Awards, a Fellow of the Walton/UNCF K-12 Education Reform Program, a Scholar of the Howard University Pre-Law Summer Program; Treasurer, Political Science Club. Her honors and awards include the Thompson/Samuel DuBois Cook Honors Program; Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society; Alpha Chi National Honor Society; Dean’s List recipient Fall 2015-Spring 2019; 2018 - 2019 Student Life Awards (Event/Program of the Year - InspiHER Awards); 2019 Williams Sutton Prize. Torry will attend Loyola University New Orleans College of Law on a full tuition scholarship.


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