Thrive Scholars Announce New Law Track to Foster Diversity in the Legal Profession

University of Michigan Law School
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Thrive Scholars (Thrive) – an organization that supports high-achieving, low-income students of color so they can thrive at top colleges and achieve their full career potential – announced it has created a law track, Thrive Scholars Law, aimed to create a greater pipeline of Black and Latinx attorneys.

Thrive Scholars Law will provide these students with the full range of support based on Thrive’s program model that has proven to work by starting early and supporting the students in their junior year in high school, getting them into the right college, ensuring they thrive academically so that they can apply to top law schools and become attorneys.

“We created Thrive Scholars Law because there is potential for a deeper pipeline of students of color attending law schools, and there is a hunger among law firms to increase diversity in the legal profession,” said Steve Stein, CEO of Thrive Scholars. “Data from our 20-years of experience demonstrates that talent pipeline expansion needs to start before college to ensure that students from under-resourced schools are academically ready to thrive in top colleges. And when you do that- it works. Our low-income Black and Latinx students not only outperform similar students, but they actually do better academically than their entire student body of the Top 100 schools they attend. By supporting them before college they have the grades they need as seniors to get intoand excel in Top law schools.”

Among law firm equity partners in the larger law firms, only 2% are Black and only 3% are Latinx. According to Thrive Scholars, there are more than 50,000 low-income high school students of color in the United States who have the academic qualifications to get into a Top 100 college, and many are interested in the law profession.

Working with Zeughauser Group, a leading international law firm consultancy that work with many firms in Big Law, Thrive Scholars formalized the Thrive Scholars Law Track. As part of the Thrive methodology, the organization recruits high school juniors and provide two summers of an academic boot camp before college – six weeks each summer, three hours a day each of calculus and college writing.

“Thrive Scholars’ approach is unique in that it focuses early and intensively on advanced writing and math skills, and it has a track record of increasing the number of Black and Latinx students who can get to their senior year of college with the grades they need to get into top law schools and get jobs at top law firms when they graduate,” said Peter Zeughauser, chair of Zeughauser Group. “I applaud the firms joining on this initiative as it takes vision to make a long-term investment to improve the diversity of their firm specifically, and our profession as a whole.”

To provide its Scholars with the full breadth of support from their junior year in high school through law school, Thrive is seeking law firms to become a Law Track Partner and sponsors for these students. Law firms who become a Law Track Partner would sponsor a cohort of Scholars every year, provide mentorship and internships during college and potentially hire them from law school.

Leading Law Firms Have Joined Thrive Scholars Law as Partners 

To date, several leading law firms have committed to become a Law Track Partner and to sponsor several Thrive Scholars Law Scholars. Law firms that have signed up as Thrive Scholars Law Partners include Holland & Knight and Honigman LLP.

“We are very proud to be sponsoring four Thrive Scholars in three cities,” said Steven Sonberg, managing partner of Holland & Knight. “This program gives us a unique opportunity to support high-potential students early in their academic careers and continue that support through college and law school. Our hope is to help improve the number of traditionally-underrepresented candidates who enter the law firm recruiting pipeline, and ultimately create a more diverse and inclusive profession.”

“Diversity, equity and inclusion are fundamental in our culture at Honigman,” said David Foltyn, Chair and CEO of Honigman LLP. “We understand if we want our firm and profession to better represent society, we need to support our most talented Black and Latinx high school students who are interested in the law. This will lead to the opportunities students need to develop the skills and experiences to get great grades in top colleges, go to law school, and excel in our profession. We are proud to partner with Thrive Scholars to make that a reality for the scholars, our firm, and the profession.”

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