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Steps Law School Deans Can Take to Improve Diversity and Inclusion from Dean Leonard M. Baynes

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Leonard M. Baynes, the first Black dean of University of Houston Law Center, offers five steps law school deans across the US can take to improve diversity, inclusion, and well-being in a recent ABA Journal article.


Read the full article by Dean Leonard M. Baynes: 5 Steps Law School Deans Can Take to Improve Diversity and Inclusion published here by the ABA Journal on November 12, 2020.


Dean Baynes summarized his remarks from the Dean’s Dialogue, convened by the LSAC and AALS on September 25th. Recognizing the extent of our national crisis “runs deeper” than both the recently increased awareness of police violence and disproportionate effects of Covid-19 on Black and Latinx Americans, he explains,

There is still a persistent income and wealth gap between Blacks and whites in the United States; African Americans still attend segregated schools; there is significant underrepresentation of lawyers of color in law firm associate, partner and prosecutor positions. There also are several premier law firms that still have no Black equity partners.


The lack of inclusion in the legal profession were recently highlighted in the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession’s latest study, Left Out and Left Behind: The Hurdles, Hassles, and Heartaches of Achieving Long Term Legal Careers for Women of Color. Two of the study’s authors, Paulette Brown and Eileen Letts, joined the Boston Bar Association for a fireside chat discussion about the study in a program on Nov. 19, 2020 — the program is available here on demand for free, but requires a (free) account on the BBA website.


Noting the particular obligation for law school deans “to treat racism that members of our community face with the same degree of seriousness as we have the pandemic and the economic downturn,” Dean Baynes offers five practical steps to follow:

  1. Share your vision of diversity and inclusion, and others will follow without you having to take any specific action.
  2. Celebrate racial and ethnic holidays.
  3. With pipeline programs, you can create your own diverse pool of talent of students.
  4. With visiting professor programs, you can create your own diverse pool of faculty.
  5. Faculty and students need to know how to discuss these complex issues of diversity in a comprehensive and complex way.


Read the full article by Dean Leonard M. Baynes 5 Steps Law School Deans Can Take to Improve Diversity and Inclusion published here by the ABA Journal on November 12, 2020. Leonard M. Baynes is the dean of the University of Houston Law Center and has a national reputation as a communications, business and diversity law scholar. In 2010, he received the Diversity Trailblazer Award from the New York State Bar Association; in 2019, he was named a diversity champion by the National Diversity Council; and in 2020, Baynes was named to the Lawyers of Color Power List by the Lawyers of Color Foundation. Baynes received his bachelor of science degree from New York University his and JD and master of business administration from Columbia University.


Related Resources:

Law Deans Antiracist Clearinghouse Project

How to Be an Effective Antiracism Ally in the Legal Profession: Resources & BBA Program Notes

CATEGORIES: Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion | Law Schools | Leadership | Well-Being

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