Gabby Garrison, a first-year student at the University of Kansas School of Law, was recently accepted into the Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP) as a scholar. She is the first Jayhawk to receive the honor.
Garrison is a first-generation college student and a non-traditional student. She attended Emporia State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in English as well as minors in leadership and Spanish. She also worked as the assistant director of admissions for the University of Kansas Honors Program.
DAPP aims to diversify the legal profession by expanding opportunities for women of color, a group underrepresented in the legal field. DAPP provides its scholars with placement assistance, academic support, coaching, counseling, financial assistance, tutoring, workshops, professional development, mentorship and more.
“Being a DAPP Scholar will give me a strong academic foundation I can build on as I continue law school as well as academic tools I can use for future classes,” Garrison said. “It has already given me the confidence to meet with faculty and TAs as I have questions and accountability to iterate on my outlines and a general understanding of each class as I go.”
Garrison does not have any connections to the legal profession and is the first in her family to go to law school. DAPP has helped her bridge the gap by demystifying law school and pushing her to ask questions when she needs help.
The DAPP application process requires assessments of applicants’ undergraduate performance, career goals, plans to positively affect diversity in their law school and the legal field upon graduation, and an interview.
“I chose to apply because I wanted to be part of a national group of first-year women of color law students from different law schools. DAPP has an intensive academic program to ensure success in the first year of law school with the goal to place each scholar in a big law summer position for 1L summer,” Garrison said.
As Garrison continues to navigate her first year of law school, DAPP continues to provide. The program has an active network of women of color, including an advisory board of scholars and new attorneys. All the women have been in similar shoes and value diversity, especially in the eyes of the law.
“Diversity is important to me because our life experiences shape our perspective and approach to solving problems or answering questions,” Garrison said. “Our diverse experiences result in richer conversations that yield unique perspectives and different outcomes to legal questions. We are better students and will be better lawyers for listening and learning through the uncertainties and vulnerability of what considerations each of us makes when answering legal questions.”
Before coming to KU Law, Garrison worked at a healthcare IT company. The experience grew her interest in subjects such as law and technology, privacy, intellectual property, and mergers and acquisitions. Garrison is open-minded to many areas of law and continues to navigate her future. The DAPP Program will be there for her as she continues her law school career.
—By Sarah Pickel