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Hearing her name announced as a winner of a mock trial competition held in March at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles was a wake-up call for Tannis Watkins. “I didn’t think I was good enough,” said Watkins, 33, a mother of three of Puerto Rican descent who is working toward an associate’s degree in paralegal studies at Riverside, Calif., City College. “To have this unbelievable affirmation was amazing.”

In addition to confidence, she walked away with $11,000 toward tuition at either Southwestern or The John Marshall Law School in Chicago — which has got her thinking ­seriously about a career as an attorney, even though she doesn’t fit the description of the typical law school applicant.

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