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SMC Pre-Law Program Wins Diversity Award


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By Lookout Staff

February 29, 2024 -- The Santa Monica College (SMC) Law Pathway program was recognized this month for its efforts to promote diversity within the law field, college officials announced Thursday.

The program, which entered its seventh year, received the Diversity Champion Award, established in 2016 by the California LAW Pathways Advisory Council.

The award signaled out the program's 100 percent transfer and graduate rate since its inception. A total of 107 graduates have transferred to UCLA with the exception of one who transferred to UC Berkeley.

Last fall, 51 students enrolled in the rigorous pre-law program, which "requires completion of nine courses and offers one-on-one mentoring, exposure to careers in law, networking opportunities, tailored counseling and leadership training," SMC officials said.

Students who successfully complete the Law Pathway Program earn priority admission review, as well as the waiving of application fees—at California LAW’s 15 law school partners, officials said.

“This award is a celebration of our students and our efforts over the last seven years developing the program," the program's team said in a statement.

"It is also a testament to the collaborations and partnerships that we have forged with our community stakeholders and with the nonprofit, Cal LAW Pathways.

"We are very proud of our many students who continue to thrive and who ultimately are diversifying the legal profession to the benefit of all,” the team said.

SMC’s Law Pathway Program team includes counselor Vicenta Arrizon, Ed.D.; business professor Nathan Khalil, J.D.; political science professor Christina Gabler, Ph.D.; and Debra Locke, Ed.D, interim dean of special programs.

The award was announced at the Annual Pathways to Law Summit held February 23 and 24 at UC Davis School of Law.

Past awardees include UC Berkeley School of Law, UCLA School of Law, University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Rio Hondo College, and Saddleback College, among others.

Through the SMC Foundation and Financial Aid & Scholarships, two scholarships are made available exclusively for students in the SMC Law Pathway Program.

Applications for the coming academic year will be accepted in May 2024. For more information on the program, visit or email

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