Through academic preparation, personal and professional development, leadership identification and professional hands on training, SWEL has provided the Greater Cincinnati legal community, through its premier pipeline program, with direct access to a large pool of talented high school and college students who have a strong desire to have successful careers in the legal profession.
The SWEL program began in the spring of 1988 as a pilot program of the Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Bar Association Round Table, under the leadership of then appellate judges Robert L. Black Jr. (deceased) and Nathanial Jones. The program was established to address the disparate number of African American attorneys employed in the Greater Cincinnati legal and judicial community. In its first year, SWEL provided seven high school students with internships in public sector law offices, utilizing attorneys as mentors. In its second year, SWEL added private sector internships and increased the student roster from seven to sixteen. By 1990, the program had grown to 24 internships for both high school and college students. With a longstanding history of success, SWEL became incorporated in 2006 as a non-profit organization, and in 2008 received 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Since its inception, SWEL has enhanced the legal community and offered more than 300 students experience and exposure to the world of law.
Through SWEL, high school and college students interested in law, receive first-hand experience within the legal profession. SWEL is designed to foster academic, personal, and professional growth through real-world legal experience, community service opportunities, internship placements and network opportunities with legal professionals and law students. Through the legal internships, weekly SWEL forums and seminars, students gain exposure to the law preparation process, law school, and legal career options.