Today's Law As Amended

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SB-770 College and Career Access Pathways partnerships: California LAW Pathways: appropriation.(2021-2022)

As Amends the Law Today

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The state’s attorney workforce does not accurately represent the diversity of the state, which can significantly impact administration of justice, access to appropriate representation, and workplace satisfaction.
(2) According to the statistics published by the State Bar of California, despite significant growth in the proportion of attorneys who are women and people of color over the past 30 years, California’s attorney population does not reflect the state’s diversity, with Latinos being particularly underrepresented.
(3) Additionally, according to the State Bar of California’s “First Annual Report Card on the Diversity of California’s Legal Profession,” White attorneys account for nearly 70 percent of California’s active licensed attorney population, while people of color constitute 60 percent of the state’s population.
(4) These same statistics are reflected in the judicial branch. While there has been increased focus on diversity within the ranks of justices and judges, White judges account for nearly 66 percent of justices in the trial courts, courts of appeal, and the California Supreme Court.
(5) A statewide initiative was established in 2011 through the California Partnership Academies focused on high school law academies, with a specific mission of building a diverse educational pipeline from high school to law school. Brought together through a unique partnership between the State Department of Education and the State Bar of California, this pipeline has expanded to include higher education partners with the creation of the Community College Pathway to Law School initiative. In 2015, California LAW (Leadership, Access, Workforce) Pathways was formed to merge both statewide initiatives and is housed at the Foundation for California Community Colleges.
(6) Since its inception, California LAW Pathways has grown to include agreements with 21 high school law academies, 30 community colleges, 10 undergraduate four-year universities, and 10 law schools.
(7) California LAW Pathways is designed to fit seamlessly into the existing educational system.
(8) California LAW Pathways uses the framework of the highly effective California Partnership Academies for underrepresented students, and is designed to align with the “Vision for Success” of the office of the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.
(9) There are currently more than 700 community college students and 3,000 high school pupils enrolled in the program statewide. Of these high school pupils, 87 percent are underrepresented minorities and the program has a 98-percent graduation rate.
(10) California LAW Pathways creates a model pipeline to help close the diversity gap in the state’s attorney workforce population.
(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to provide assistance to establish dual enrollment agreements, expand partnerships to include the California State University system, enable more students to participate in this pathway, and diversify the future workforce in the state.
SEC. 2.
 (a) For the 2021–22 fiscal year, the sum of $10,000,000 is hereby appropriated from the General Fund to the Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.
(b) The funds appropriated pursuant to this section shall be used for the purpose of expanding California LAW Pathways, which may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) Establishing dual enrollment agreements between community colleges and local high school law academies.
(2) Implementing partnerships with the California State University system.
(3) Establishing transfer models with the University of California.
(4) Providing guidance to assist students in transferring.