Our Approach and Guidelines: The Seven Principles1.
1. Go local: We seek to foster connections between Denver Law / DU and young people in the city of Denver, the state of Colorado, and the Rocky Mountain region. We are committed to opening doors to those “in our own backyard” and creating opportunities that ultimately will strengthen diversity within the practicing bar
2. Build relationships: Our goal is to build genuine connections and relationships, both with partner organizations and the students with whom we are engaged. Relationships serve to strengthen our efforts and ultimate outcomes.
3. Level the playing field: Structural barriers and barriers of thought both undermine the competitiveness of diverse students in law school admissions and in law school performance. We want to break those down, or at least chip away at the walls.
4. Embrace the long-term view: The developments we envision will not happen overnight; a first-year high school student with whom we are engaged now is at least seven years away from admission to law school.
5. Monitor and assess: We must be able to offer compelling arguments for why we are undertaking particular projects and monitor indicators that tell us whether we are on the right track. In the long term, outcomes must be quantifiable.
6. Be efficient—in terms of cost and expertise: Programs with large price tags are not necessarily going to be more effective than programs with smaller ones. Further, we do not want to reinvent the wheel; we acknowledge that our partners in the University and broader community often have skills and expertise we do not.
7. Support the bigger picture: Our broad interest is in breaking down barriers that impede the success of less privileged individuals and groups in our communities and in society. Although our goal is for the students with whom we engage to ultimately choose the University of Denver and the SCOL, if a student chooses another undergraduate program or law school, or opts for business or medical school instead, that is still a success, because it is a success for that student and for equity in our society.
1. See Catherine E. Smith, Seven Principles: Increasing Access to Law School Among Students of Color. 96 IOWA LAW REVIEW 1677 (2011).