Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Updates and Resources to Help Candidates Navigate Law School Admission
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are part of the Law School Admission Council’s origination story and are principles central to our mission.
In line with our ongoing commitment to DEI, we launched the LSAC Justice Hour series. This webinar series explores some of today’s most important issues with a goal of working together for true equity and positive change. The series kicked off with a focus on SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) in June as we celebrated Pride Month. Another episode cast a spotlight on the Law Deans Antiracist Clearinghouse Project, which was created by several law deans of color through the Association of American Law Schools. The project strives to focus on teaching, scholarship, service, activism, programming, and initiatives on strategies to eradicate racism. We were honored to host this webinar Q&A, moderated by LSAC DEI Committee Chair Kristin Theis-Alvarez, dean of admissions and financial aid at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and Tracy L. Simmons, assistant dean of admissions and financial aid at McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, with three of the distinguished deans who helped launch the project: Angela Onwuachi-Willig of Boston University School of Law, Carla D. Pratt of Washburn University School of Law, and Danielle M. Conway of The Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson Law.
Other Justice Hours have offered an inside look at recent SCOTUS rulings impacting LGBTQ+ and undocumented individuals in the United States, hosted by Dean Erwin Chemerinsky of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, and a conversation featuring a panel of formerly incarcerated prospective and current law students, and lawyers — a group known as the justice-impacted— who discussed the unique barriers and challenges they faced, or are facing, during the law school admission process. Moderated by LSAC Presidential Innovation Fellow Miguel Willis and Executive Director and Founding President of the National Justice Impact Bar Association (NJIBA) Dieter Tejada, this webinar also set the stage for a Justice-Impacted People’s Law School Survey. This survey was administered by LSAC and NJIBA to admission professionals at all LSAC member law schools to identify and assess policies and procedures that specifically affect each law school’s justice-impacted population.
Bringing the community together to discuss important topics like these reminds us that by truly taking the time to learn, listen, engage, and take action, we can together make a difference in the world. We saw overwhelming participation in these webinars and will continue to plan more Justice Hour events for prospective and current law school candidates and our legal education community.
We are also offering many other resources to help law school candidates connect while successfully navigating their enrollment journeys. For instance, we recently concluded this summer’s PLUS Online program. PLUS is focused on supporting college students from racial, ethnic, and minoritized groups that have been historically underrepresented in the legal profession. Due to COVID-19, the until-now residential learning programs moved to an online format hosted by seven law schools that allowed approximately 200 students to learn and engage remotely. An additional 430 students were able to participate in the Prelaw Focus: PLUS Webinar Series — a weekly webinar series exploring topics such as the LSAT, preparing for the law school admission process, how to finance a legal education, and careers in law. We are pleased with the impact this program continues to have as well as the other support, such as the COVID-19 resources page, we are able to offer to help candidates continue on their path to law school.
While the COVID-19 pandemic forced cancellation of this year’s in-person law school forums, LSAC is hosting a series of digital law school forum experiences on September 26, October 13, November 4, and December 12. Candidates will be able to connect with admission representatives, prelaw advisors, and other experts from schools across the U.S. and Canada and get answers to their questions from the comfort and safety of their own homes. They will also be able to participate in educational programs on the application process, financial aid, the LSAT, and more. By hosting our forums online this year, we hope to broaden access and garner even more participation from law school aspirants.
When it comes to the LSAT itself, LSAC is making candidates’ well-being a top priority. In-person administrations of the LSAT have been canceled through the November administration, and in their place, candidates can instead take the online, remotely proctored LSAT-Flex, which meets LSAC’s rigorous standards for test quality and security. As part of our commitment to ensuring test takers have the equipment and other resources they need to take the LSAT-Flex, we have assisted thousands of candidates in obtaining a loaner device, an internet connection, or a quiet place to test. Many of these individuals would not have been able to meet their law school application deadlines without this assistance. We are committed to helping these candidates and many more move forward with their law school journeys, many of whom have applied for this fall — as we saw with a spike in applicants following the May LSAT-Flex — with the number of Black or African American and Hispanic/Latinx applicants continuing to rise. We have administered more than 57,000 LSAT-Flex tests since the pandemic hit.
Lastly, our fee waiver program offers millions of dollars in financial assistance each year to help qualified candidates move forward with their law school journeys. We encourage candidates to take advantage of this and a wealth of other information and free resources, including Official LSAT Prep practice tests available from LSAC on LawHub and the Khan Academy to help them along their journeys to law school.