The Youth Law Academy Centro Legal de la Raza in Oakland, California, will receive the 2022 Alexander Award for excellence in pipeline diversity at the ABA Virtual Midyear Meeting. The award, presented by the ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline, will be presented at a joint reception with the Spirit of Excellence honorees on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 5-6 p.m. CST.
The Youth Law Academy (YLA) — launched in 2005 by Centro Legal de la Raza, a nonprofit legal services organization founded in 1969 — is a three-year program for Oakland high school students designed to build confidence and understanding of the path to college. YLA recognizes the need for more diversity in the legal profession and ultimately hopes to inspire students to seek a career in the law. In a typical year, YLA serves 36 high school students and 40 college students. Nearly 90% of the students will be the first in their family to enroll in college and 90% are from low-income households.
YLA is one of the few programs in the country that provides support on the law-school career pipeline from high school through college. The students receive SAT prep in high school and are given the opportunity for LSAT prep in college, as well as access to internships and work-placement assistance.
The Alexander Award recognizes an individual or organization that has demonstrated exemplary leadership and success in educational pipeline work. It is named after the life and legacy of two legal trailblazers — Raymond Pace Alexander and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander. Raymond was the first Black graduate of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and first Black judge on the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia. His wife, Sadie, was the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D. in the United States and the first Black woman to receive a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.