ABA Honors Pre-Law Summer Institute for Diversity Efforts

Marsha BaumThe Pre-Law Summer Institute (PLSI) at the American Indian Law Center (AILC) received the 2012 Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Award for Excellence in Pipeline Diversity during the American Bar Association’s Midyear Meeting in early February. The award was presented by the ABA Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Education Pipeline and honored PLSI for its “outstanding accomplishments and significant contributions to diversifying” the law profession.

“The Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives is especially honored to receive this year’s award from the American Bar Association,” said Helen B. Padilla (`97), director of the AILC and a PLSI alumna. “Our mission to build, promote and honor self-sustaining American Indian and Alaska Native communities through education and leadership is the foundation of our efforts – and we are grateful to be recipients of this prestigious award.”

PLSI is an intensive two-month program that prepares American Indian and Alaska Native individuals for the rigors of law schools nationwide, and helps those students establish a network with other Natives who will be graduating from law schools and entering the legal profession at the same time they will. The summer institute was a trail-blazing program when it opened its doors in the mid-1960s as part of the University of New Mexico School of Law. It is now run by the American Indian Law Center, an independent nonprofit, but remains housed in the UNM School of Law, and retains close ties to the school.

The award honors those demonstrating success working along the educational pipeline in a collaborative approach involving more than one segment of the continuum from K12-to-college-to-law school-to the practice.

February 6, 2012