LSAC Welcomes New Chief Diversity Officer
The Law School Admission Council, a champion for quality, access, and equity in law and education, has named Angela Winfield as its chief diversity officer. Winfield will be joining LSAC this May and at a pivotal period for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the legal profession. She will help shape the future of LSAC, of law and education, and of access to justice. She will also lead DEI initiatives to help students from underrepresented groups find pathways into the legal profession.
“When I was growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer. But I’d never seen anybody practicing law who looked like me — a blind, Black woman. I didn’t know what someone who looked like me could do, but no one else knew either. To me, that was an opportunity to see what was and what is possible. I’m excited to join LSAC and inspire people everywhere to pursue legal education. I want to help them open their minds, open their eyes, and open doors to opportunities that they may have never imagined for themselves or for others.”
Winfield, a lawyer, mentor, motivational speaker, writer, and advocate for disability rights, has devoted her life’s work to ensuring equal access and opportunity for all. She currently serves as associate vice president for inclusion and workforce diversity at Cornell University and as an attorney at Barclay Damon, LLP, focusing on labor and employment and higher education.
She is deeply committed to community service and to bringing experience from her roles on various boards including the YMCA and United Way, and organizations devoted to legal assistance, accessible transportation, and the performing arts.
Reflecting on what makes Angela a great fit for LSAC, President and CEO, Kellye Y. Testy, said, “Angela impressed us all — the Board, the Search Committee, and our staff. She inspires people with her story, her achievements, and her experience. She knows the importance of DEI because she’s lived it with an intimacy that few people have. Making progress on equity is vital for law and legal ed, and we can’t wait to welcome Angela and learn from her leadership.”
Despite being declared legally blind at age ten and sharing her battles with severe depression before going completely blind at age 20, Winfield graduated from high school at the top of her class, earned her BA in political science and human rights from Barnard College of Columbia University and her JD from Cornell University, became a practicing attorney, published author, community leader, and successful entrepreneur — all before reaching age 30. You can learn more about Winfield’s personal story here.
“Angela already has accomplished much in her career, and we’re excited about what she will be able to achieve at LSAC,” said LSAC CDO search committee co-chair Marcilynn Burke. “Angela rose to the top of a very impressive pool of candidates for the CDO position.” Co-chair Michael States added, “In addition to her extraordinary personal, academic, and professional strengths, Angela brings a proven track record of building relationships, solving problems, and motivating people to action. She is just what LSAC needs at this time.”
The search for LSAC’s next CDO began last summer when Testy appointed Burke and States co-chairs of a nine member search advisory committee comprised of distinguished leaders from legal education. LSAC hired Ben Reese to conduct seven listening sessions, including a session specifically designed for HBCU institutions, which he hosted with Lynell Cadray to learn more about various stakeholders’ interests in the hiring of LSAC’s CDO. More than 100 people including law school deans, admission officers, prelaw advisors, faculty, LSAC board and committee members, and LSAC staff participated in the listening sessions. LSAC then hired national search firm Isaacson Miller (IM) to conduct the search. IM reached out to more than 250 potential candidates. The search committee conducted interviews in early February 2021 and recommended three finalists for the LSAC Board, DEI committee, senior members of the LSAC staff, and CEO to interview.
Testy, along with LSAC Board Chair Kevin Washburn and DEI Committee Chair Kristin Theis-Alvarez, thanked the committee and community for their involvement in the effort to find LSAC’s next CDO. In the letter they wrote, “The core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the heart of LSAC’s work, particularly at a time in our world where the imperatives of antiracism and inclusion are more important than ever. We are humbled by the work our community is doing to strengthen and highlight the importance of lawyers as leaders in our society, and our ability to come together even (and especially) in the most difficult times to build a just and prosperous world where everyone can thrive.”
They also thanked Camille deJorna for her leadership in designing and managing the CDO search process, and for serving as LSAC’s interim CDO while maintaining her role as deputy for legal education. deJorna will continue to serve as our interim CDO until Winfield joins LSAC in May, at which time deJorna will return to her role as deputy for legal education full time.
About the Law School Admission Council
LSAC’s mission is to advance law and justice by encouraging diverse, talented individuals to study law and by supporting their enrollment and learning journeys from prelaw through practice.
Law School Admission Council