19-year-old could become youngest African-American law school graduate

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Haley Taylor Schlitz is old enough to vote, but not old enough to drink. Soon, however, she could be representing clients in court. At 19, Schlitz is set to become the youngest African-American to graduate from law school, according to a university press release. Taylor Schlitz was accepted to nine different law schools across the country when she was 16, but she chose to attend Southern Methodist University’s Dedman Law School.

Haley Taylor Schlitz

SMU’s Dedman School of Law


Taylor Schlitz is slated to graduate on May 13 and hopes to work on education policy issues for an elected official or nonprofit, the statement said, and find ways to expand opportunities for girls and students of color. gifted and talented.

His path to law school was unconventional. When her previously high grades began to drop in fifth grade, according to Essence, her parents went to school to understand the rapid change. When her mother suggested she was bored and needed more advanced lessons, the administration disagreed. Disappointed with the school’s response, her parents decided to homeschool her.

“I was just being taught to pass the end-of-year test to get to the next level,” she told the Birmingham Times. “I was not taught to learn.”

Schlitz said on her website that she was also not allowed to take the test to enter the gifted program in public schools. Her parents had her tested privately and found she was gifted.

“Many girls and students of color are excluded from gifted and talented programs in our country,” Taylor Schlitz said in the SMU statement. “Society will lose the would-be scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who launches the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color.”

She graduated from high school when she was only 13 years old. By age 16, she had earned her undergraduate degree from Texas Woman’s University and was heading to law school. At first, Taylor Schlitz wanted to be a doctor. Then she understood that she wanted to fight against inequalities. Her experience as a person of color who was denied the opportunity to enter the gifted program “ignited a fire in me”, she told the Birmingham Times.

Just a year later, in June 2020, Haley was elected a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. At 17, she was one of the youngest delegates to the DNC that year.

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