For nearly 50 years, CLEO has been the country’s main “gateway” for diverse students to get into law school and learn about the legal profession!

The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) has served as the pre-eminent “pipeline to the legal profession” national organization for many years. Founded in 1968, when the total number of lawyers of color was less than one percent, CLEO has helped more than 10,000 traditionally underrepresented students enroll in law schools across the country. Although best known for its Pre-Law Summer Institute, a rigorous, residential simulation of the first year of law school (which, in 2016, will take place at Drake University Law School in Des Moines, IA); since the year 2000, CLEO has also sponsored two hugely popular and demanding weekend seminars: 1L Prep – Attitude Is Essential (AIE) and Achieving Success in the Application Process (ASAP).

Designed to introduce admitted 1L students to the requirements for a successful first year, the AIE seminar exposes participants to topics such as: case briefing; issue spotting; time management; essay exam writing; legal reasoning; and financial management.

“Getting involved with CLEO is quite possibly the best decision I have ever made in preparation for law school!” boasted recent Georgetown Law Center graduate and CLEO alumnae DeEricka Aiken. “The ongoing academic and professional development support CLEO provided while I was in school was extremely valuable.”

The ASAP seminar prepares students to be better law school applicants by exposing them to aspects that are often overlooked or undervalued by diverse and low-income students when applying to law school, including: selecting a law school; drafting personal statements; preparation strategies and the impact of the LSAT and GPA in the selection process; debt management; selecting sources for letters of recommendation and other common mistakes committed by law school applicants.

“I was really grateful that CLEO accepted me into the ASAP program at Costa Mesa. I am so glad I had the opportunity to attend and meet such wonderful people” said 2015 ASAP participant, Danessa Navarro. “I learned so much this last weekend and I feel more ready, prepared and confident to embark on my journey to achieve success in the application process and gained a better understanding of choosing a law school and how important that is.”

Although previously operating under the umbrella of the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education for over 45 years, CLEO began an exciting new chapter of its historic existence in March 2015 when it began operating as an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. “CLEO is grateful for the invaluable contributions received from law firms, corporations, alumni, and other friends in the legal community,” stated CLEO Chair Angela Birch Cox. But our work is far from done and as CLEO, Inc. approaches its 50th Anniversary, continuous support from those who care is needed now more than ever!

In the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall, “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps…we got here because somebody bent down and helped us pick up our boots.” CLEO, Inc. needs you to be that somebody now that bends down to help a student manifest his/her dream of joining the legal profession. Are you up to the challenge?

This summer’s AIE and ASAP weekend seminars will be held from late-June to early August in the following locations: New York, NY & Irvine, CA (June 25-26); Chicago, IL (July 9-10); Washington, DC & Winston-Salem, NC (July 16-17); Berkeley, CA (July 23-24); and Austin, TX (August 6-7). For more info about AIE, please visit: For more info about ASAP, please visit:

In closing, now that we are successfully operating as CLEO, Inc., we are in an even better position to fulfill our mission of bringing greater diversity to a profession that still lags significantly behind other high-level professions (see: accounting, medicine, engineering, etc.) with respect to diverse representation. With that said, in order for us to “help more,” quite frankly, we “need more.” More in the form of funding (sponsorships, contributions, grants, etc.), support (event speakers, internship connections, networking/professional opportunities, etc.), and promotion (marketing, free press, conference invitations, and panel participation, etc.)!

If you, your employer, or an organization you are connected with is interested in getting involved with CLEO and/or participating in our 2016 AIE/ASAP Pre-Law Seminar series, please contact Leigh Allen II, Vice President of Marketing and Development at or 240-582-8600 (ext. 201). Additionally, Mr. Allen will also be happy to hear from any NAMWOLF members who are CLEO alums themselves so that they can get “reconnected” with us as we approach the organization’s historic 50th Anniversary celebration in 2018. Thank you for your time and we look forward to hearing from you!