Watch Laura’s interview on our YouTube channel here!
Laura Kyte, a single mother of two, is planning to take the Utah State Bar exam this Fall. Yet growing up, she never considered she would become a lawyer. As a young girl in California, Kyte grew up in a low-income household. The only experience she had with the law was through TV and interactions she had with the men working with her Dad after he had gone to prison. “I thought, kids like me don’t go to law school,” Kyte laughed, “I remember my younger sister wanted to go and I thought she was naive.”
Laura did not do the typical undergraduate experience. She was married in her early 20s, working on and off, receiving a real estate license, later going through a divorce, and returning to school to maybe pursue a degree in history. When a professor encouraged her to go to law school she finally realized law would be a great fit. A great fit it is! Kyte graduated from BYU Law School and currently works at the Attorney General’s office in litigation. She plans to clerk for a judge for a year to pursue her interest in civil rights work and criminal law.
When asked about the barriers to becoming a lawyer as a single, working mother, Laura believes she got lucky. “I was married for 18 years and wasn’t completely financially devastated by the divorce,” Kyte said. “I could sell my house to afford law school, I received child support and alimony… If I hadn’t had those things ….” Kyte trailed off. BYU Law is a full-time program. To juggle classes with being a single mom and working full time would be almost impossible. “I was lucky, my circumstances were such that I could overcome… most women in my position probably wouldn’t have the option if they wanted to.”
Yet, Laura is still apprehensive about being able to afford the Bar. “Right now I am living on dwindling savings,” Kyte said. Kyte has an 18-year old who is attending college in the Fall. Her budget is tight and anything at this point helps. “The Bar prep scholarship from UCLI made it possible for me to survive for the summer,” Kye explained, “if I don’t pass the Bar it will be financially devastating, I have to take off time for work just to study.”Laura also greatly appreciates the UCLI mentorship program. “It’s incredibly valuable to me, I didn’t know anyone in the law growing up, my mentors are like my brothers.” Kye said.
Laura believes in UCLI because she believes in equity in legal education. Kyte mentioned, “The barriers to becoming a lawyer are so high for kids in lower socioeconomic status.” Kyte understands that it’s time to even the playing field for these kids. The same goes for women in the legal profession. “There needs to be a recognition about the realities women still face, we need to acknowledge what it’s like to work as a woman, a person of color, or other minority in the Utah legal field.” Kyte affirmed, “Once we directly confront these realities, we can begin evening the playing field.”
Pictured: Laura Kyte, recipient of 2021 Bar Review Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship
To stay in the loop on future UCLI scholarships, subscribe to our newsletter!