News - Capital University Law School

For First Generation Law Students, a Community Is Born

11/8/2017  -  A law student whose mother, father, sibling, or grandparent is an attorney has a ready source of guidance, advice, and connections. But for many Capital University Law School students, finding such assistance requires looking outside the family.

And that can present challenges.

Realizing this, second-year day students Jeff Lewis, L’19, and Sarina Glick, L’19, started a new student organization earlier this school year. The group, called “First Generation Law Students,” aims to augment the knowledge and experiences of students who do not come from a line of attorneys.

Inspiration for the group came during a continuing legal education event on diversity in the legal profession.

“The topic turned to first generation law students, who are not always getting the assistance they need,” said Mr. Lewis, president of the organization. He asked classmates and mentors for feedback on the idea of starting a group for these students, and the consensus was overwhelmingly positive.

“The more I talked to people, the more I knew that I had a solid idea,” he said. “I felt that I would be doing the legal community an injustice if I didn’t bring my idea to fruition.”

The group held its first meeting Oct. 9.

Its purpose is to help motivate, inspire, teach, and support those students who, as the first in their family to attend law school, may not have the same foundation as some of their peers. It will focus on networking, professionalism, academic success, career development, and a range of other issues. The plan is to offer programming at least once a month, whether it’s a roundtable discussion, speaker, or workshop.

“We’d like to educate students on what comes next after the school part is over,” said Mr. Lewis, a dual citizen from Frankfurt, Germany, who earned his undergraduate degree in business administration from The Ohio State University.

“Most importantly, we’d like to give back to the community,” he said. “We’re in the process of figuring out a way to show younger students that we’re the first in our families to do something like law school and that, if they want to pursue something beyond high school, whatever they choose, they can be successful.”

Ms. Glick, vice president of the group, saw the need for the group from her personal experience as a student with Lewis, her friend and study partner.

“Along with the trials and triumphs of our 1L year, we found ourselves navigating the unfamiliar and at times confusing world of the legal field,” she said.

While Capital offers resources for first generation law students, Mr. Lewis and Ms. Glick agreed that an organized group of peers and mentors might be helpful for students who don’t already have exposure to the legal profession through family or close friends who might point them in the right direction.

”When Jeff approached me with the idea to start a student organization that would do exactly that,” said Ms. Glick, “I was completely on board.”

“One of the first things they tell you in law school is how tight-knit the legal community is and how the sooner you build those relationships, the better,” said Ms. Glick, a Delaware, Ohio, native who earned her undergraduate degree in International Relations from Taylor University in Indiana. The new organization, she said, will start doing exactly that “by fostering a strong sense of community among Capital law students and as the legal practitioners among whom we will soon be practicing.”

Capital is one of only two Ohio law schools with a first generation student group. Such groups reflect an emerging trend, though, with similar organizations at Yale, Stanford, and Northwestern.

Lewis is taking the long view for Capital’s group.

“I really hope that law students in this group will one day come back and give their time to future members of First Generation Law Students,” Mr. Lewis said. “That might entail discussing how to open a private law practice, working for a large firm, working for a business outside the legal profession, or mentor current law students.”

For more information, contact Lewis at