UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Lawyers of Color, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting diversity, democracy, and equality in the legal profession and in marginalized communities, has recognized Penn State Law in University Park on the list of The Top 65 National Law Schools for Black Students. Ranking at No. 62, Penn State Law is progressing as a school committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Lawyers of Color reviewed all 199 American Bar Association-approved law schools for their list.
Penn State Law places DEI at the forefront of its values and strives to nurture a community where students feel included, safe, and represented. The law school also provides resources and opportunities for minority students to ensure they have the tools they need for success.
Penn State Law’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA) chapter is one example of how students can find community and success with their peers. BLSA’s goal is to develop talented and involved Black attorneys, as well as further the National Black Law Students Association’s mission to increase the number of successful Black and minority attorneys.
Vice Admiral (Ret.) James W. Houck, interim dean of Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs, reflected on BLSA’s successful year. "BLSA had several impressive accomplishments in 2021-2022, including being named the Mid-Atlantic Black Law Students Association (MABLSA) of the Year. They also won the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Constance Baker Motley Mock Trial Competition. They were one of 18 teams in the country that made it to the national competition.”
Penn State Law’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion happens at every level. The school innovated and piloted a course on law and inequity which features more than one dozen faculty members, created a concentration on Race, Equity and the Law, operates law clinics dedicated to advocating for rights of minority groups, and engages in community outreach that gives students the opportunity to work with local organizations. Further steps Penn State Law has taken to promote DEI can be viewed on the highlights page.
Other opportunities available for Penn State Law students include:
- Financial support for rising second or third-year BLSA member through the George Floyd Memorial Scholarship Fund;
- Support in academic success and emotional well-being through the Minority Mentor Program; and
- Minority Business Development class
Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar, clinical professor of law, and director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights Clinic, said, “I am grateful to our leadership, Black Law Student Association, and community members who work to make Penn State Law a place where our Black students can find community and thrive. I look forward to continuing the work in the years ahead to provide our students with the tools to advance racial equity in the law school and beyond.”