08.11.2020 | Firm News
Burr Wraps up First-Ever Virtual Pre-Law Program with Two Scholarships Awarded
Burr & Forman recently wrapped up its Pre-Law Program, its first year in a virtual format.
Despite a challenging year, the firm felt it was important to be able to still offer this resource to undergraduate students who are preparing for law school, and ultimately, planning for a career in the legal field.
In 2019, the firm’s diversity committee set out to overhaul and revitalize its former program to better focus on activities and applicable experience to provide career resources to students who are passionate about diversity and inclusion. The firm’s Diversity Committee pivoted from its traditional in-person Pre-Law internship to a virtual format due to the current pandemic.
The three-week virtual program took place July 6 – 24, welcoming 33 undergraduate students from across the U.S. to the eLearning class. The three-week course features case assessments, a resume/cover letter workshop, a LinkedIn class, a mentorship program, class discussions, and a moot court competition.
Students had the opportunity to join virtual meetings with law school admission directors and career counselors from law schools across the U.S., as well as virtual meetings with professors, judges, and practice group leaders at the firm.
Pre-law Kaitlyn Phillips had this to say about the value of the law school panels, “From listening to the law school admission panels, one thing that stuck with me is the importance of making sure that my application, personal statement, and cover letter communicate who I am and what is important to me outside of the numbers and statistics shown on my resume.”
Flexibility was a key component of the virtual class with many pre-law students taking college classes online or maintaining part-time and full-time jobs. All of the pre-law program’s meetings and presentations were recorded to give students the ability to view and re-watch programming at their own convenience, even after the program had concluded.
Being able to facilitate and create connections between pre-law students and firm attorneys has always been one of the highlights of the program. To be able to still offer this opportunity, each pre-law student was paired with an attorney mentor within the firm. These relationships served as a sounding board for students during the program as well as will prove to be a valuable asset long after the program has finished.
Pre-law Khyla May had this to say about her mentee experience, “Speaking with my mentor was very helpful in not only helping me understand the different aspects of the law, but also helping me better understand what practice areas of law would be best for me in the future. It was great to hear that my mentor had attended one of my top choices for law schools and they were able to provide me with some great advice and insight on the school.”
In 2019, the firm started the tradition of wrapping up the Pre-Law Program with a Moot Court Competition. Each student is paired against one another, one serving as the defense and the other as the prosecutor with prepared opening and closing statements. This year, the students had to compete virtually and were given a case that dealt with Fourth Amendment rights.
In addition, this year, the firm created two scholarships as part of the Moot Court competition. One scholarship was given to the undergraduate student who received the highest total score in the competition and another scholarship was given to one incoming law student with the highest total score. Jackson Waddleton, a rising junior at Mercer University and Laura Taylor, an incoming law student at Vanderbilt University Law School were the firm’s scholarship recipients.
The application process for the firm’s 2021 Pre-Law Program will open starting in January 2021.