Stanford Law Scholars Institute Welcomes Its First Cohort

20 scholars to receive legal training and support on campus and throughout their law school journeys

June 20, 2022 – Today, Stanford Law School (SLS) welcomed the first cohort of 20 college students to the law school’s new Stanford Law Scholars Institute (SLSI). SLSI is a leadership and law school pipeline program designed to provide support and training to college undergraduates who want to explore the opportunities and benefits of a legal career. 

“As part of SLS’s commitment to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within the legal profession, we have designed this program to help address obstacles that underrepresented minority, first-generation, and low-income undergraduate students in particular might face in accessing a legal education,” said Jenny Martinez, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School. “Our goal with programs like SLSI is to expand and develop innovative policies and practices across our entire institution to ensure that Stanford Law becomes a model for 21st century legal education in a pluralist society.” 

SLSI Program Leadership

The co-leads for the SLSI program, Diane T. Chin, Faye Deal and Tirien Steinbach, have expertise across the full gamut of the law school experience, from applying to law school to life at law school to deciding on a career direction. Chin serves as the Associate Dean for Public Service and Public Interest at SLS and is a first-generation lawyer. She is also a civil rights lawyer by training and has taught at the law school for almost twenty years. As the Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid, Deal works to support law school applicants and students through their entry into law school and to work with them to address financial hurdles to accessing law school. Steinbach serves as the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at SLS and has years of experience as a public interest/civil rights lawyer, nonprofit law center executive director, law instructor, and is an advocate for increasing the diversity, equity, and inclusion of the legal profession.

A Week at Stanford

The first cohort of 20 scholars will spend a full week on the Stanford Law School campus where they will take part in a variety of activities from receiving guidance on law school applications to opportunities to meet with leading practitioners, faculty, and students. The small group size will allow for each scholar to receive individualized attention and provide an intimate environment where the cohort can get to know each other during their time together.

Stanford Law Scholars Institute Welcomes Its First Cohort
The inaugural Stanford Law Scholars Institute 2022 cohort.

During their week on campus, the cohort will gain insight into academic life at a law school through several classes with prominent SLS faculty, including an overview of the U.S. Legal system with Professors Shirin Sinnar, an expert on national security and civil rights, and Jayashri Srikantiah, an immigration expert and the SLS Associate Dean of Clinical Education. The scholars will also hear an overview of Algorithmic Bias and Anti-Discrimination Law by Professor Dan Ho, a leading scholar on data science in public policy and a Biden Administration appointee to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Commission. The cohort will round out their week with SLS faculty with classes with Professor Rabia Belt on criminal law and Erik Jensen, Director of the Stanford Rule of Law Program. 

“Meeting with a variety of our world-renowned scholars as well as practicing attorneys from our alumni and teaching communities will provide exposure to the many areas of law and the vast array of options a law degree can provide,” said Chin. “Not only will this group of scholars be immersed in the law school academic life while they are here, they will also get the opportunity to spend time with some of our current law students, alumni, and staff to receive advice and mentoring.” 

Beyond the academic and social activities of the week on campus, the cohort will receive  assistance with the law school application process, including a free LSAT preparation course and ongoing coaching until they gain entry into law school. In addition, the SLSI program will provide online training, speakers’ series, and office hours throughout the course of the next year.  

“Much of the knowledge needed to apply to law school is not taught in the classroom. By providing guidance in crafting a strong law school application and building soft skills such as time management and addressing imposter syndrome, we hope this program will help prepare our scholars to be successful in their law school journeys.” said Deal.

The SLSI 2022 cohort includes a diverse array of backgrounds, racially, geographically, and economically. “We have 20 participants in the inaugural program,” said Steinbach. “Fifteen participants identify as first-gen/low-income. Six participants are immigrants and several more are first-generation immigrants. They are from schools representing almost all parts of the country. We can’t wait to support them on their paths to law school.” 

Meet the SLSI 2022 Cohort

  • Oneyda Ayala, University of Florida 
  • Connor Barrett, Swarthmore College
  • Tracey Do, Northeastern University
  • Kardelen Ergul, Emory University
  • Wyatt Hammond, Temple University
  • Pilli Jaquez, Occidental College
  • Jennifer Lopez, Washington University 
  • Tamia Rene Mitchell, Temple University
  • Luis Moros, Florida International University
  • Morgan Kinuthia Njeri, Hardin-Simmons University
  • Olivia Northcutt-Wyly, University of Southern California
  • Paulina Mendoza, American University
  • Denizcan Ozdemir, Columbia University
  • Zenayah Roaché, Columbia University
  • Blaine Samson, Rice University
  • Mehreen Shahid, Swarthmore College
  • Moira Tañedo, Occidental College
  • Sabreen Tuku, University of California, Berkeley
  • Kyran Williams-Roberts, Duke University
  • Isidro Zuniga Vazquez, University of Southern California

To learn more about the Stanford Law Scholars Institute, including eligibility requirements and the application process, please visit the program website

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.