UTA pre-law students honored as Sidley Scholars

Two students from The University of Texas at Arlington were chosen for the national Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program in recognition of their academic achievements and their potential as future lawyers.

Junior political science major Tiffany Nicasio and junior communication and history major Mickaela Alves were honored by Sidley Austin LLP, a large U.S.-based law firm with headquarters in Chicago. The firm’s Sidley Scholars Program is dedicated to increasing diversity in law schools and the legal profession. As Sidley Scholars, Nicasio and Alves will receive financial assistance to help them pursue their law degrees.

“Mickaela and Tiffany have exceptional credentials in the classroom, extensive co-curricular achievements, and enormous dedication to public service,” said Amber White, Director of the UTA Pre-Law Center. She praised the students for their well-balanced records, which include notable success in pre-law activities such as moot court, mediation, and mock trial. 

Elisabeth Cawthon, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, noted that this recognition places UTA among an elite group of universities that boasts not just one Sidley Scholar but two winners in a single year. “Yale, Berkeley and Harvard typically are the only institutions that have multiple Sidley honorees,” Cawthon said.  “For UTA to be included in such company is an affirmation of the tremendous talent that exists in our students which is nurtured by our excellent and dedicated faculty.” 

The Sidley Scholars Program will provide Nicasio and Alves with tuition for commercial Law School Admission Test (LSAT) preparation courses which often cost thousands of dollars.  They will attend the Sidley Scholars Summer Seminar, a multiple-day introduction to the structure of the American legal system.  They will also receive substantial instruction on traditional first-year law school courses, including tips on how to succeed in law school, and an opportunity to meet and converse with Sidley lawyers and other leaders in the legal community.

Sidley Austin LLP has built a reputation as an adviser on global business with more than 1,900 lawyers in 20 offices worldwide. Sidley specializes in litigation and transactional and regulatory matters spanning virtually every area of law and is committed to achieving greater diversity for the firm as well as within the legal profession as a whole. The firm strives to attract and retain outstanding lawyers of varied backgrounds who are a reflection of the global marketplace that they serve.

UTA’s Pre-Law program is based in the College of Liberal Arts, and serves students across campus.  The center is a resource for students exploring law-related careers. About 500 students are currently accessing its services. White advises students as they explore academic paths leading to legal specializations and assists with the multi-year law school admissions process.  The center facilitates high impact practices such as service learning, internships and mentoring to prepare students for law school and the practice of law. 

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution. With a projected global enrollment of close to 57,000, UTA is one of the largest institutions in the state of Texas. Guided by its Strategic Plan 2020 Bold Solutions|Global Impact, UTA fosters interdisciplinary research and education within four broad themes: health and the human condition, sustainable urban communities, global environmental impact, and data-driven discovery. UTA was recently cited by U.S. News & World Report as having the second lowest average student debt among U.S. universities. U.S. News & World Report lists UTA as having the fifth highest undergraduate diversity index among national universities. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2017 Best for Vets list.