BY Dollita Okine, 1:30pm March 04, 2024,

Haley Taylor Schlitz sworn in as attorney at just 21 after becoming youngest Black graduate of SMU law school

Haley Taylor Schlitz -- Photo Credit: Southern Methodist University/Hillsman S. Jackson

Haley Taylor Schlitz has become one of the youngest Black attorneys to be sworn into the Minnesota State Bar Association. This follows her remarkable feat of passing the Minnesota bar test and obtaining her 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, having previously been accepted into nine law schools at the age of 16. Two years after graduating, Taylor Schlitz began teaching U.S. History to fifth graders at IDEA Edgecliff, a K-9 public school in Fort Worth, Texas.

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.”

The pacesetter also started Trailblazers Forum: Youth Civic Engagement, a community civic education program in the Dallas-Fort Worth region that equips 12 to 16-year-olds with the tools to advocate for themselves and their communities effectively while enhancing their literacy skills, its website says.

Still, Taylor Schlitz clarified that the law will always be her priority as she is working toward getting more bar licenses. Taylor Schlitz received her Juris Doctor two years ago, and at the time, her professors, including Professor Jennifer Collins, told GMA that they believed she would succeed.

“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. 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: March 4, 2024


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