UC Hastings Launches Accelerated J.D. Program with Spelman College

UC Hastings has forged a partnership with Spelman College, a historically Black liberal arts college for women, on a program that will allow students to obtain their bachelor’s degree and a J.D. in six years rather than the typical seven.

Under this “3+3” program, students will spend their first three years at Spelman in Atlanta and the following three years at UC Hastings. Upon earning their J.D., their first year’s credits at Hastings will complete the course requirements for their undergraduate degree from Spelman.

Participants will receive a minimum scholarship of $15,000 for each year they are at UC Hastings, said Mario Ernesto Lopez ’15, Associate Director of Admissions and Diversity Initiatives, who has been instrumental in forging ties with Spelman and other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). UC Hastings will accept 3+3 applicants in the upcoming admissions cycle.

Approved overwhelmingly by the UC Hastings faculty, the program is an important part of a larger effort to recruit and retain students of color.

“My goal has been to establish stronger relationships with HBCUs and to increase the pipeline of Black college graduates entering the legal profession, which remains in great need of more diversity, including racial diversity,” said UC Hastings Chancellor and Dean David Faigman said. “This program is an important piece of a larger strategy to realize our diversity goals.”

UC Hastings launched its California Scholars Program in Fall 2019 with a stellar cohort of four scholars from HBCUs, several of whom are now leaders in Black Law Students Association (BLSA) and Associated Students of UC Hastings (ASUCH). This fall, the school enrolled five more students in the program. “We are thrilled,” Faigman said, “to welcome our second cohort this year.” This year’s 1Ls are Dominique Armstrong from Spelman; Amira Bell-Jetton from Dillard University; Dominique Conway from Hampton University; Kaley Preciado from Howard University; and Lois Winn from Alcorn State University.

2L Kameelah Sims-Traylor, a Spelman graduate and California Scholar, welcomed the news. Having participated in promoting the program, she attended the virtual signing with Faigman, Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell, and others.

“The 3 + 3 program is a pioneering effort in the direction of representation and equality in the legal field,” she said. “This incentive not only promotes the pursuit of legal education from top tier students, but widens the scope of what’s possible within the law. I cannot wait for the first class of 3 + 3 scholars to arrive from Spelman and continue to drive us towards the justice and progress that our shared institutions stand for.”