Texas Teen Set to Become Youngest Black Law School Graduate in American History

Haley Taylor Schlitz is just 19 years old.

Graduate Student Haley Taylor Schlitz and Marillyn Burton Seeberger Graduation Portraits
Photo: Photos courtesy of Southern Methodist University, Hillsman S. Jackson

Haley Taylor Schlitz was just 16 years old when she accepted into nine different law schools back in 2019. Now, three years later, the 19-year-old is set to become not only Southern Methodist University's youngest-ever law school graduate, but the youngest Black law school graduate in American history.

Taylor Schlitz has been on a unique path since 5th grade. Frustrated with the public-school system's refusal to acknowledge her as a gifted student, her parents turned to homeschooling.

"Many girls and students of color are left out of our nation's gifted and talented programs," Taylor Schlitz said in an SMU news release. "Society will lose out on the potential scientist who cures a major disease, the entrepreneur who starts the next Amazon and so much more. All because of their gender and/or skin color."

She thrived in a homeschool environment and graduated from high school when she was only 13. By age 16, she had her undergraduate degree from Texas Woman's University.

Taylor Schlitz told Essence that she wasn't always interested in law. She studied chemistry in her first year of undergrad before switching her major to education. Inspired to reform the education system, she soon realized she could also help students like herself by pursuing law.

After graduating on May 13, Taylor Schlitz plans to work on education policy issues and increase opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color. One day, she hopes to be a law professor.

"I just always live by the motto that you don't find your path, you make it," Taylor Schlitz told Essence. "So don't let anybody else tell you what you can't do."

Congratulations, Haley!

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