In 1990, a young, bright student graduated from Harvard Law School, after graduating with honors from Stanford University with a bachelors and masters in four years. He then went to work for the Dallas office of the second largest law firm in the world as an Associate for five years. The White House was his next calling where he was a White House Fellow in the Office of the Chief of Staff from 1999-2000. There he focused on race, civil rights, immigration and Hispanic education issues.

This biography may not sound that fascinating until you learn that Reynaldo Anaya Valencia is the son of migrant farm workers and was the first in his family to earn a college degree.

Valencia is now the Associate Dean for Administration and Finance, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Latina/o Legal Studies at St. Mary’s University School of Law. Valencia’s own personal experience with overcoming societal and economic hurdles to gain a quality education and pursue a law career is what motivated him to co-found the Minority Pre-Law Student Symposium.

For eight years, the Symposium has reached out to high school and college minority students around the state to show them that law school is indeed a possibility. Students spend a day on the St. Mary’s campus learning about the law school application process (overall, not just St. Mary’s process), admissions, financial aid, student life and career options. Students also participate in an interactive mock law school exercise conducted by St. Mary’s law professors.

The Symposium is coordinated and sponsored by St. Mary’s University School of Law’s Center for Latina/o Legal Studies. Students will hear from Sylvia A. Cardona, President of the Texas Young Lawyers Association and an attorney at Langley & Banack, Inc.; representatives from all nine Texas law schools; the Texas Young Lawyers Association; and the Upward Bound program.

Check-in begins at 10:30 a.m. and the program begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Law Classroom Building. Participants are urged to enter the university from the 36th Street entrance for direct access to the law school campus.

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