Haley Taylor Schlitz, 21, Youngest Black SMU Law Grad, Now Sworn in as Attorney

Haley Taylor Schlitz is one of the youngest Black attorneys sworn into the Minnesota State Bar Association. This follows her incredible achievement of passing the Minnesota bar exam and getting a license to practice law in the North Star State.

In 2022, she became the youngest Black student to graduate from Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law, after being accepted into nine law schools at the age of 16. Taylor Schlitz started teaching U.S. History to fifth-grade students at IDEA Edgecliff, a K-9 public school in Fort Worth, Texas, two years after graduation.

The 21-year-old told ‘Good Morning America’, “I did this because I believe it is essential that Gen Z, especially Black Gen Z, give back to our communities and serve as teachers in our schools if possible. I hope that by doing this, my students were excited that I was taking my Bar oath yesterday, that I can help inspire my students to pursue their wildest dreams.”

Trailblazers Forum: Youth Civic Engagement is a civic education program in the Dallas-Fort Worth region that teaches 12 to 16-year-olds how to effectively advocate for themselves and their communities while improving literacy skills, according to the website.

Still, Taylor Schlitz stated that the law will always be her top goal as she works to obtain additional bar licenses. Taylor Schlitz obtained her Juris Doctor two years ago, and her instructors, including Professor Jennifer Collins, expressed confidence in her success to GMA.

“We are incredibly proud of Haley and all she has accomplished during her time at SMU Law School. We know she is going to make a difference in this world, and we can’t wait to see all the wonderful places her career will take her,” the then-SMU Dedman School of Law professor expressed.

Though she couldn’t believe her accomplishments, she acknowledged that her family had been a major help throughout the years.

“My mom has been probably my absolute biggest motivator, my biggest supporter, the person that I look up to the most,” she said. “She’s an ER doctor and so for the longest time, I wanted to be an ER doctor, but even after wanting to be an attorney, and now going to law school, she’s still somebody that is such a huge life counselor, such a great adviser for me.”

She encouraged others: “You don’t find your path. You make it. Take life by the reins, by the horns, and just really make what you want your reality.”

“It’s OK to make mistakes. Just go back to your foundation and build up again, and don’t be confined to boxes or stereotypes or when other people are trying to say whether it’s no or yes. It’s really up to you,” she added.

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