Bowen law student attends U.S. Supreme Court lecture

May 13-19, 2024

By Alexus Raymo


Keeli Wallace, a graduating law student at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law, recently visited the United States Supreme Court for a distinguished lecture and discussion with the United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.


The trip, arranged by the Dominican Bar Association, benefited more than 80 law students from 13 different law schools. Wallace serves as president of the school’s Latin American Law Student Association (LALSA) and an executive board member of the National Latina/o Law Student Association.


“As an affinity bar association, we recognize the important role we play in creating meaningful and prestigious educational experiences for our students,” the association said in an Instagram post. “As the first Latina and third woman to serve on the [United States] Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor serves as a beacon of hope and source of inspiration for our students and general membership.”


Students who attended were welcomed to the United States Supreme Court where they received a distinguished lecture by a staff member, followed by a Q&A session with Justice Sotomayor. Afterwards, the students received a tour of the court’s chambers, and later participated in a discussion with the Supreme Court Justice.


“The biggest thing that I learned from Justice Sotomayor is that you shouldn’t disqualify yourself from anything,” Wallace said. “She was very honest with us, sharing that she didn’t have the expectations or goals of being a Supreme Court justice when she was in high school or college, but she kept pushing herself and never looked at something and thought she couldn’t do it, and I think that’s an important skill to learn and mental muscle to develop.”


Wallace described the experience as surreal, expressing that she hopes it’s the first of many similar opportunities for Bowen students.


“The experience was almost surreal,” Wallace said. “As a first-generation American and a first-generation law student studying in Arkansas, opportunities like this can often feel out of reach. I was the only person who attended who was not from the Tri-State area. In fact, I’m the only person who attended from the Southern region, so it was very important to me to be able to attend and represent not only the south, but Arkansas, and all communities that I’m a part of,” said Wallace. “I hope this is the first of many trips of its kind for Bowen’s students.”


Wallace’s trip was sponsored by two of Arkansas’s largest and most prominent law firms and longtime supporters of Bowen, Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP and Mitchell, Williams, Selig, Gates & Woodyard, PLLC.


“Friday and Mitchell have been longtime, reliable supporters of LALSA,” Wallace said. “With their support, in addition to experiences like this, we’ve been able to send our students to conferences all over the country, participate in mock-trial competitions, and award the highest number of scholarships than any other Bowen student organization each year. We wouldn’t be able to do any of this without their support.” 


Photo Caption:


Bowen law student Keeli Wallace in front of the U.S. Supreme Court (photo submitted)