When Cindy M. Lopez set out to become the first person in her family to attend law school in the 1980s, there was no one there to review her personal statement, help prepare her for the Law School Admissions Test, or advise her on which law schools might be a good fit for her.
So after retiring from the California Attorney General’s Office in 2019, she decided to make sure students following in her footsteps would have support to overcome their challenges. Lopez founded the Legal Education Access Pipeline (LEAP), whose mission is to diversify the legal profession by preparing underrepresented students to become successful law school applicants, lawyers, and agents of social change.
The nonprofit has already helped more than a hundred students pursue their dreams. Surveys showed that all the students felt knowledgeable about the law school admissions process after completing the eight-month program. Ninety percent were confident about taking the LSAT. Student fellows are now attending prestigious schools such as UC Berkeley School of Law, UC Hastings Law, and Loyola Law School, Lopez’s alma mater. One fellow was recently accepted to Stanford Law School, one of the most competitive schools in the country.
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