Cumberland Law partners with Tuskegee University to create dual-degree program

Two of Alabama’s more venerable institutions of higher learning are teaming up to offer students an accelerated way to earn a law degree.  

Tuskegee University — founded in 1881 — and Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law — which dates back to 1847 — have agreed on a program that allows students to forego their senior year at Tuskegee and begin their first year of law school at Cumberland. 

Both schools hope the partnership will produce more Black lawyers. Tuskegee is a historically Black university with a student body that’s about 80% African Americans. It was founded by Booker T. Washington. 

The so-called 3+3 program creates a pathway for Tuskegee students to receive a bachelor’s degree from Tuskegee and a law degree from Cumberland in only six years of study, rather than the traditional seven. The newly added program will allow Tuskegee students to venture straight into one of the most highly regarded law programs in the state of Alabama.

“We are excited to partner with Tuskegee University, which is known for its extraordinary history and outstanding academic reputation,” said Henry C. Strickland, dean of Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham.  “As we worked to create this program, I was struck by the dedication of Tuskegee faculty and administration to promoting their students’ success, the same priority we have at Cumberland. I look forward to this partnership helping prepare great leaders for our state and country.”

Students with a competitive GPA and LSAT scores are eligible to receive a scholarship ranging from 25% tuition scholarship to a full tuition scholarship. In addition, the partnership with Cumberland will create summer coursework and internship opportunities to help students build relationships with attorneys and judges within the Birmingham legal community. 

“We believe that this partnership with the Cumberland School of Law will make law school more accessible for students of color within the state of Alabama and will ultimately increase the number of African Americans practicing law both in Alabama and in the Southeast,” said Channa Prakash, dean of Tuskegee’s College of Arts and Science.

“We noticed that the largest number of Tuskegee students are from Alabama and we also recognized that Cumberland School of Law has a long history of producing a large number of lawyers who practice law in the state,” said Tammy Laughlin, assistant professor of political science and co-advisor of the pre-law program at Tuskegee University.  “With Cumberland being situated in Birmingham, the largest legal market in Alabama, we have no doubt that this program will prepare our students to become better acquainted with the legal profession,” said Tammy Laughlin, assistant professor of political science and co-advisor of the pre-law program at Tuskegee University said.  

Currently, Tuskegee juniors who have completed all core and major requirements in political science will be able to use coursework from their first year of law school to fulfill the requirements for the bachelor’s degree at Tuskegee University. Being a part of the program will require a very disciplined student to plan their course of study to fulfill the requirements of this unique program.  

In recent years, Cumberland has also partnered with pre-law programs at Samford University, Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Montevallo, and Troy University to create joint 3+3 programs. 

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