A year ago, Aminata Coulibaly, ’25, would not have predicted she would intern for Congresswoman Susan Wild.
Knowing how rigorous a congressional internship is, she did not envision herself embodying the role.
She said the Future Lawyers of Color club’s executive board members put the opportunity on her radar, and she credits them with growing her confidence and preparing her to ultimately land the job.
Future Lawyers of Color was formed in fall 2021 by pre-law students Paola Lebron Muniz, ‘24, Tanya Andino, ‘23, Mericel Mirabal, ‘22, and Benjamin Santos, ‘22, and Coulibaly.
The students wanted to create a space on campus that serves the needs of aspiring lawyers and policymakers of minority groups.
Lebron Muniz said it’s important for students who share similar experiences or feel intimidated by law school to have space to relate to each other.
“This is obviously a (predominately white institution), and some people come (to Lehigh) and they’re not used to this,” Lebron Muniz said. “With an organization that is specifically for people of color, it’s easy to go and voice what you heard in class or voice something that somebody did that made you frustrated and got in your way of believing in yourself.”
The club also works to connect students with lawyers. Lebron Muniz said the club hosts panels of lawyers of color who describe their experiences in law school and discuss how the club members can prepare for school themselves.
They lead workshops and provide resources for students pursuing law school applications and exam preparation.
Lebron Muniz said they held a Law School Admission Test workshop this semester to coach club members on how to approach each section of the test. Andino, who took the LSAT and is currently applying to law schools, led the meeting.
“The purpose of (Future Lawyers of Color) is to create a community where members can help each other, provide resources to each other and uplift each other in the hard process of joining the law and policy field,” Lebron Muniz said.
Treasurer Alyssa Morales, ‘25, said meetings typically focus on one topic, including how to study for the LSAT, books to reference, opportunities that can lead to career goals and planning for the future.
Morales said the club has provided her with a community, a way to network with other lawyers and opportunities to gain insight on her post-graduation chapter.
“What brought me more towards the club was just seeing the support that they had and the willingness that it would take to help others achieve their goals of becoming a lawyer or part of a legal team,” Morales said.
Coulibaly, vice president of the club, said trying to find people of color with experience taking the LSAT or in the law and public policy field can be difficult. However, she said Lehigh has a good alumni program that the club utilizes for networking.
Coulibaly said the club has had a positive impact on her, through developing industry connections and their various events.
“Our goal is to build a community where we feel comfortable in pursuing a career in law as a person of color and making it a more inclusive space for people who look just like us,” Coulibaly said. “Because they don’t see people like that, (the goal is) to just provide them with an opportunity to flourish and to feel confident.”