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DSU creates new law school pipeline

Delaware State University President Harry Williams (left, seated) signs an agreement with Delaware Law School dean Rod Smolla to create a new pipeline between the schools for aspiring lawyers.

Delaware State University students hoping to become lawyers have an easier path starting next school year.

DSU students who maintain a 3.0 grade average and score about a 150 on the LSAT get automatic admission to Widener University Delaware Law School.

That’s thanks to a new agreement signed by top officials from both schools Wednesday, which also comes with a renewable $10,000 scholarship.

Delaware Law School dean Rod Smolla says the state needs an infusion of young lawyers who want to live and work here – not to mention a boost in diversity in the field.

“We live in a diverse society and a diverse culture and the more that the legal system reflects the various identities and the voices that live in our society, the more we’ll have a shared, just culture and be able to face a lot of the problems that divide the country,” Smolla said.

He notes the two schools have partnered together on several initiatives in the past, calling the agreement a natural next step.

"I guess we've been dating for a while and now we're finally married."

Sam Hoff, director of DSU's Law Studies program, says the scholarship will help pull more people into the pipeline who otherwise couldn’t afford tuition.

“In addition to that incentive to get into law school, it obviously takes care of a lot of expenses and relieves students debt coming out of law school, which is another plus of this agreement,” Hoff said.

In all, the scholarship alone will cover about a quarter of tuition costs for incoming students.

Delaware’s lone law school signed a similar agreement with Rowan University last year.

Those eligible can apply through the program to enroll in classes for the upcoming school year.