Bar Studies and Access to Justice Institute receive fellowship grant to study bar exam interventions

July 20, 2022
Isabel Freitas Peres and Lily Su
Isabel Freitas Peres (left), director of Bar Studies, and Lily Su (right), associate director of the Access to Justice Institute

Isabel Freitas Peres, director of Bar Studies, and Lily Su, associate director of the Access to Justice Institute, were awarded an 18-month grant to study the effectiveness of bar exam interventions as part of the Professionals in Legal Education Developing Greater Equity (PLEDGE) Fellowship. 

Seattle University School of Law is one of only three law schools in the country selected for this new program, aimed at building diversity and equity in the legal profession.

Each fellowship team will undertake an intervention-based research project, funded by a $25,000 grant. Together, Freitas Peres and Su will look at approaches aimed at improving performance on multiple-choice problems among students who enter law school with low LSAT scores. Other teams’ research topics include admission and academic performance.

“We believe this grant will be important to identify creative and innovative ways to help our students succeed on the bar exam,” Freitas Peres said. “Standardized tests, like the bar exam, are challenging by design and we want to remove any obstacles beyond the actual exam that our students may encounter, especially our diverse students.”

PLEDGE is a professional development program that launched this year as a partnership between AccessLex Institute and the Southern Education Foundation. The fellowship targets experienced law school administrators, faculty members, and other legal education professionals.

“We are excited to use this fellowship to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging at our law school,” Su said.

The Southern Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization that develops and disseminates research-based equitable education policies and practices that elevate learning for low-income students and students of color in the southern states. AccessLex Institute is a nonprofit organization committed to helping talented, purpose-driven students find their path from aspiring lawyer to fulfilled professional.

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