Law Schools Honored for Commitment to Increasing Diversity in Law

The Law School Admission Council recently awarded the top prizes in its annual Diversity Matters Awards to three law schools, two in the Southwest and one on the East Coast, that demonstrated the utmost commitment to increasing diversity in the legal profession.

Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law won the award in the Impact category for having the most students from LSAC’s target audience who participated in LSAC pipeline events. The school hosted a daylong event in which more than 30 members of the Hispanic National Bar Association, along with some ASU law school students, taught a legal method class to a diverse group of 500 eighth-graders. Later, the students took field trips to the state Capitol to tour the Legislature and learn about the legislative process.

The Innovation award, given to the school that showed the most creativity in its program agenda and in targeting its audience, went to Nova Southeastern University’s Shepard Broad College of Law in Florida. Its “Make an Impact with the Law Day” introduced South Florida high school students from historically underrepresented backgrounds to the field of law, while another program, “Make an Impact with Law and Medicine Day,” helped students think about ways of addressing legal and medical hurdles through collaboration.

The final top honoree was the University of New Mexico School of Law, which won in the Justice category for offering a program that connected participants to criminal justice issues or made a positive impact on the community. The school hosted a "Know Your Rights" event to help minority students in rural areas learn about the possibilities of law school, and its "American Indian Senior Day" gave Native American high school seniors a chance to visit campus and learn about the next steps for higher education.

Regional awards, which honor one school from each of four regions for hosting pipeline programs that promote access to justice and the legal profession, went to Washburn University School of Law (Midwest), all New York law schools of the New York Statewide Diversity Pipeline Initiative (Northeastern), Florida International University College of Law (Southern), and Loyola Law School at Loyola Marymount University (Western).

The top award winners received $1,000 each, while the regional award winners received $200 apiece. LSAC announced the award winners at its Annual Meeting and Educational Conference in Boston.

In addition to the awards, LSAC encourages school participation in its Diversity Matters initiative by offering grants that colleges can use to host events targeting prospective law students from underrepresented groups. Every LSAC-member school can apply for a grant of up to $3,000 annually. And the results speak for themselves: In 2018, schools utilized more than $100,000 from LSAC’s Diversity Matters fund and hosted 161 events, up from 97 in 2016. The number of student participants more than doubled, from 3,339 to 8,120.

For more information about the Diversity Matters program, visit LSAC’s Diversity Matters Grants page.

Kent D. Lollis

Vice President & Chief Diversity Officer, LSAC
Kent D. Lollis is vice president and chief diversity officer at the Law School Admission Council, where he leads external outreach to organizations, associations, and other stakeholders working to enhance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the legal profession. He also directs diversity, equity, and inclusion goals within the LSAC organizational structure.