The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) Pre-Law Program, offered through the BMCC Academic Advisement and Transfer Center, has just selected 10 students to be mentored at Brooklyn Law School.
The BMCC Pre-Law program started in Fall 2017. Rick Naughton, a Senior Academic Advisor at BMCC who holds a law degree from Penn State University, developed the program after consulting with pre-law advisors at Baruch College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hunter College.
“I was motivated to create the program after meeting with dozens of students who expressed an interest in attending law school but weren’t sure what steps needed to be taken to achieve that goal,” says Naughton, who in addition to being an admissions counselor, is BMCC’s Pre-Law Advisor, on record with the Law School Admissions Council.
He adds that another option for students is the BMCC Pre-Law Society club, which gives students the opportunity to learn about law and legal careers in an informal social setting.
The Pre-Law Program: Networking, law fairs and other resources
Students in the Pre-Law Program at BMCC attend networking events and law fairs throughout the New York City area, among other activities.
“It’s important for students to be able to talk first-hand with law school representatives to learn about scholarships and other resources, and to be able to ask any questions they might have,” Naughton says.
Through these events, students will broaden their awareness of the diverse options available to a person with a law degree, he says, which include working in the public or corporate sector, and in areas such as human rights, criminal law, immigration, estate planning and many others.
The Pre-Law Mentoring Program: A first-hand look at law school
Ten students in the Pre-Law Program at BMCC have been selected to be paired with a law student at Brooklyn Law School, through that college’s mentoring program.
“Participants will meet regularly with their law school mentors, sit in on actual law school classes and witness first-hand the rigors of law school,” Naughton says.
He adds that both the Pre-Law Program and mentoring program “will provide role models to underrepresented students who might not have considered the option of a legal career.”
BMCC students in both the Pre-Law Program and mentoring program will meet law students and working lawyers, as well as learn about the long-standing tradition of minority lawyers such as those who graduated from Brooklyn Law School and went on to be trailblazers in their field.
These include David Dinkins, the first African American mayor of New York City; Percy Sutton, the first African American Manhattan borough president and Dorothy Chin-Brandt, the first Asian American woman judge in New York State.
The Pre-Law Society: Learning about law in a social setting
BMCC student interest in the field of law has also resulted in a new club, the Pre-Law Society. “This club will provide a social setting through which students can focus on legal careers and the law,” Naughton says.
Events the Pre-Law Society might present could include movie nights, “with a theme surrounding the legal profession,” he says. “Or they might bring in speakers who are friends or family members who are in law school or have gone on to start a career in law.”