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Ja'Nise Company-Ray, a sophomore Criminal Justice major in the College of Arts and Sciences, completes an internship at the Jackson County Family Court with Commissioner Martina Peterson.

Preparing for the future

School of Law program helps undergraduates experience the legal profession

Although they have not yet completed their undergraduate degrees, 20 students from across the nation experienced the legal profession through the DiscoverLaw.org Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program at the UMKC School of Law. UMKC is one of five schools across the nation that offers the PLUS program.

PLUS scholars complete two consecutive four-week programs:

  • A residential academic program that runs from June 1 through June 30
  • An internship program that runs from July 1 through July 30

The academic component includes classes on intellectual property, contracts and legal research/writing. Students also learn logical reasoning, problem-solving, writing, advocacy, time management and academic skills. At the conclusion of the academic component, students attend a lunch with area judges, showcase skills through a mock trial and receive three undergraduate credit hours.

During the internship component, students are placed in Kansas City's legal and business communities. Ja'Nise Company-Ray, a sophomore Criminal Justice major in the College of Arts and Sciences, completed her internship at the Jackson County Family Court with Commissioner Martina Peterson.

"I learned so much -- there are so many sides to family law and practices," Company-Ray said. "This program confirmed my desire to be an attorney!"

Lola Oduyeru, a senior Political Science major in the College of Arts and Sciences, participated in PLUS scholars to gain more knowledge about the practice of law and the law school experience before applying to law schools.

"This program has helped me by providing me with a support system at the UMKC School of Law," said Oduyeru, who interned at the Jackson County Family Court with attorney Marina Bell. "I have gained critical thinking and reading skills that I feel will benefit me no matter what field I choose to pursue. I also have learned about various doors of opportunity that can be opened when one obtains a JD."

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For more information about the Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) program at UMKC, click here.

PLUS scholars eat lunch with a School of Law student,  judges and a commissioner at the 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Jackson County.