When alumnus Al Jenkins ’76 first took the California Bar Exam, he could not have foreseen the legacy he was establishing. The selfless attorney dedicated his life to helping Black law school graduates pass the exam, which by some measures is the most difficult bar exam in the country. And help he did: Jenkins' mentorship and tutoring aided more than 3,000 Black attorney candidates become licensed lawyers. Now, his incredible story is the basis of the forthcoming documentary, “Bar Daddy” [view trailer], which will have its worldwide premiere at a special event beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 23 at the LMU School of Film & Television’s Mayer Theater.
Jenkins had two criteria for working with students: that they identify as Black and that they wanted to pass the bar. He welcomed thousands of test-takers into his home for bar preparation without expecting anything in return -- other than a passing score. He did all of this while maintaining a law practice. Even in retirement and well into his 80s, Jenkins still meets test-takers at his kitchen table to prepare for the essay portion of the exam.
Along the way, Jenkins' work earned him myriad accolades for his work. This includes the 2013 Johnnie L. Cochran Public Service Award named in honor of the legendary civil rights attorney and LLS alumnus. "This was Al’s way of paying it forward to the Black community and the legal community," said Jay Gerren one of the film's producers. "Please consider this your opportunity to give Al his roses while he is still with us and to support this important documentary project honoring his service for nearly 50 years."
The event will feature a Jenkins along with those who came to know him best, including the Hon. John V. Meigs '78, who knew Jenkins as a student, and mentee Capri Maddox, executive director, Los Angeles Civil + Human Rights and Equity Department, City of Los Angeles. It will also include a Q&A with producers Jay Gerren, Michael Preston, Stacie McClam, and Evangeline M. Mitchell after the screening.
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Members of the Loyola community may use the promo code "Loyola" for a complimentary ticket.