The William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has announced the creation of the Center for Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform. The center’s stated mission is to advance legal equity, access to justice, and fairness in Arkansas and the region. In addition, the Center will focus on specific criminal justice research projects while offering workshops and educational events for the legal community and the community as a whole.
Another part of the Center’s mission is to increase diversity in law school and the legal profession. The law school recently received a grant to create and implement a law school pipeline program that will include an LSAT prep course as well as prospective student visits to the law school to sit in on classes and learn how to navigate the law school application process. The course will be part of Bowen’s existing pipeline programs with historically Black colleges and universities in Arkansas.
Professor Anastasia Boles is a co-founder of the Center and will act as a co-director. “The Center will provide educational and professional development opportunities for Bowen law students, empowering them to become the next generation of legal leaders,” said Professor Boles. “Research fellowships, such as the newly created Sam Reeves Racial Justice and Criminal Justice Reform Fellowship, will provide stipends for student researchers.”
“The Center is firmly rooted in Bowen’s core values of access to justice, public service, and professionalism,” added Theresa M. Beiner, dean of the law school. “The events over the past year have brought these values to the forefront. Many students choose to attend law school because they seek to improve their communities and to be part of local, regional, and national conversations about the legal system. The Center, through research opportunities and educational programs, will give them the opportunity to achieve those goals.”