We are deans of Big Ten law schools, joining together to affirm our commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion through legally permissible means, regardless of the outcome of the cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. These are core values of our law schools and the universities of which we are part. If we are to prepare people to be effective lawyers and future leaders, it is essential to create a learning environment that welcomes people who embody a wide range of identities, backgrounds, and experiences.
Association of American Law Schools (AALS) and American Bar Association (ABA) policies properly recognize the centrality of diversity, equity, and inclusion to legal education and the legal profession. For example, AALS Bylaw Section 6-2 requires that: “A member school shall seek to have a faculty, staff, and student body which are diverse with respect to race, color, and sex.” This reflects the judgment of member law schools, including ours, that it is essential both to provide access to historically underrepresented communities and to create a learning environment that “incorporates the different perspectives necessary to a more comprehensive understanding of the law and its impact on society.” The ABA has likewise identified the elimination of bias and the enhancement of diversity as one of its four primary goals.
Why are diversity, equity, and inclusion so integral to legal education and the legal profession? Among the many reasons is that preparing students for successful careers as lawyers and for leadership roles that they will one day occupy is core to the mission of all our law schools. Many legal employers actively seek to hire and retain lawyers with the capacity to work cooperatively with a wide range of people and groups. From big law firms, public entities, and multinational corporations, to small nonprofits, firms, and other businesses, employers place considerable value on a diverse workforce. It is therefore critical that law schools include a diverse group of students and prepare them to work with clients and communities who embody the differences that make this country great.
Because diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values of our law schools, we have been following the Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College cases with great interest. Whatever the outcome of those cases, our law schools will both respect that decision and remain open and accessible to people of diverse backgrounds who we believe will succeed as lawyers and leaders serving the diverse communities that constitute our nation. We commit to advancing our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion through whatever practices and policies remain legally available to our law schools.
Incoming Dean and Professor of Law (effective July 2023)
Co-Dean & Professor of Law
Interim Co-Dean, Professor of Law and Chancellor's Social Justice Scholar
Rutgers Law School
Danielle M. Conway
Dean and Donald J. Farage Professor of Law
Penn State Dickinson Law
Lincoln L. Davies
Dean & Frank R. Strong Chair in Law
The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law
Linda Sheryl Greene
Dean and MSU Foundation Professor of Law
Michigan State University College of Law
Mark D. West
David A. Breach Dean of Law and Nippon Life Professor of Law
University of Michigan Law School