At USC Gould, we know that First Generation Professional students face special hurdles in the law school assimilation process. The study and practice of law demand certain lifestyle and perspective changes. The time and intensity of focus required to achieve mastery of the law is daunting. Many of the changes the law student experiences may initially isolate her from her community of family and friends at a time when support is needed most. For example, the First Generation Professional student is often coping with pressure to spend more time attending to family commitments at the same time that law school and professional life are making more demands on her time. Also, the First Generation Professional student may find that his or her voice or perspective is changing in ways that make it harder to relate to some of his or her community members and, additionally, he or she may experience some ambivalence about the study of law. Finally, First Generation Professional student may face economic pressures that are difficult to talk about with others that have not experienced the same kind of financial anxiety. Student-peer networks and alumni support networks can play a key role for the First Generation Professional student as she copes with the pressure of being a law student and a young professional.
At USC Gould, First Generation Professionals are paired with a peer mentor and an alumni mentor to help these students navigate the law school experience. Also, we serve as a resource for recently graduated First Generation Professional students to connect with more senior alumni members. Students and alumni will make additional connections by participating in our speaker series.