Minority youth will be challenged during 2012 to consider becoming part of the legal profession

That doesn’t necessarily mean that all will become lawyers, said Damario Solomon-Simmons, Northeastern Oklahoma Black Lawyers Association (NOBLA) program director.  Rather, it means introducing the young people to the possibility of entering the various legal professions, something that many do not aspire to.

Solomon-Simmons said a NOBLA representative (me) will be visiting with counselors this spring at six Tulsa High Schools to introduce both himself and the program.   The challenge will be getting young men and women interested in considering some type of legal career, he said. Then in the fall there will be a return visit to those high schools to review what had been presented earlier and get the students involved at their level.

Selected students will have the opportunity to visit the Federal Court in Tulsa, meet with judges, marshals and others in those legal careers.
Afternoon activities will include a panel of law students describing their experiences and legal professionals representing their areas of practice.

It’s exciting to tell young people in minority races about the opportunities available to them, Solomon-Simmons said. During the day they will be able to see people like themselves who have accomplished their dream and career.

Now in its third year, the Williams/NOBLA Pipeline+Program more than $9,000 in scholarships have been presented. They ranged from $2,000 to $500 and are awarded based on both demonstrated need and academic achievement.  The Program also includes a commendation component.

In the Program’s first year, Williams and NOBLA recognized and honored three African-American attorneys who have been admitted to the Oklahoma Bar for 50 years.   Last year, Williams and NOBLA recognized and honored African-American federal and state judges in Oklahoma.
For Williams and NOBLA, the Pipeline+Program seeks to go beyond the discussion of the lack of diversity and, by example and inspiration, close the “diversity gap” in the legal profession, Solomon-Simmons said. The Williams/NOBLA Pipeline+Program seeks to close this gap by identifying, educating and motivating minority and disadvantaged high school students to consider a career in the legal profession as well as by providing financial assistance to minority law students.

Story Originally Printed in Tulsa Business Journal

2/2/2012 8:18:00 AM