September 11, 2023

BIPOC Mentorship Program Aids BIPOC Student Success in Law School

The BIPOC Mentorship Program’s 2023 Reception will be held on Sept. 28 at 6:00 p.m. in the Legal Research Center.

The BIPOC Legal Mentorship & Community Program will begin its second year helping underrepresented students find community at Lewis & Clark, with an event September 28. By creating a space for students of color to meet, providing networking opportunities and career advice from BIPOC attorneys, and matching students of color with mentors who relate to them culturally, the BIPOC Mentorship Program has provided a vital resource to students in need of representation.

Chloé Clay ’22, the founder of the BIPOC Mentorship Program, is a first generation law graduate, first generation college graduate, and a natural-born changemaker. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020 and battling the challenge of finding community as a student in an overwhelmingly white state, Clay saw a critical need for BIPOC students at Lewis & Clark to connect with students and mentors with whom they could relate. “There were only two Black women in my pod of about 70-80 students. As the reality of law school started to set in, I realized I lacked a mentor who related to me culturally. I also realized I lacked BIPOC friends,” said Clay, recalling her experience during her 1L year. “In my spring semester of 2L year, I finally found a sense of community. For the first time, I saw other Black and Brown faces in my classes. This was the community I was missing! At that point, I knew Lewis & Clark needed a program tailored to its students of color.”

The BIPOC Mentorship Program combines peer mentorship with BIPOC attorney mentorship to achieve and promote its goals of creating a sense of community for Lewis & Clark BIPOC students, increasing diversity at Lewis & Clark, and increasing diversity of BIPOC lawyers nationally.

In its first year on campus, the BIPOC Mentorship Program has created a space for BIPOC students to socialize, learn from one another, and find community. “We celebrate each other’s cultures by sharing a meal together,” said Clay. “The special thing about this program is sharing and embracing our differences together. By sharing a meal, we get to invite people into our lives and cultures. We are breaking down walls and barriers.”

The program has bolstered student success by matching students with upper division peer mentors and BIPOC attorneys. The program also hosts campus career panels for students to learn about opportunities post-graduation. “We show BIPOC students that they too can enter niche fields,” said Clay. “Representation matters.”

The BIPOC Mentorship Program will host its 2023 Reception on Sept. 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Legal Research Center. To RSVP or learn more about the event, please visit our website here.