Diversity in the Legal Profession

The legal profession continues to be one of the least diverse of any profession. Approximately 85% of lawyers are white and 38% are women. Very few lawyers report having a disability or being openly LGBTQ in the workplace. This reality can seem daunting if you are considering a career in the law, especially if you self-identify as first generation, low-income, an immigrant, person of color, woman, disabled and/or LGBTQ.

Fortunately, there are various diversity initiatives aimed at increasing equity, inclusion and belonging in the legal profession. One such effort is the formation of pre-law diversity pipeline programs. Usually held over the summer, these programs allow underrepresented students and alumni with little prior exposure to the law to learn more about the legal profession, law school and the law school admissions process. Additionally, there are numerous diverse law student and attorney bar associations that a can be a great resource in your law school journey.

Pre-Law Diversity Pipeline Programs

Pipeline programs are usually offered free of charge or at a very low cost to you. Some are held remotely and others in person. As a participant, you will typically be eligible to sit in on a law class, network with attorneys, observe court proceedings, get financial assistance for LSAT prep and applying to law school. We encourage you to research and apply to programs, such as the ones listed below.

TRIALS (Training and Recruitment Initiative for Admission to Leading Law Schools)– http://trials.atfoundation.org/index

Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) Six-Week Pre-Law Summer Institute– https://www.cleous.org/index.php

Delaware Law School Jurist Academy, Widener University– http://delawarelaw.widener.edu/prospective-students/jd-program/apply/diversity-and-inclusivity/jurist-academy/

St. John’s University School of Law Prep Program for College Students– http://www.stjohns.edu/law/ronald-h-brown-center-civil-rights/ronald-h-brown-law-school-prep-program-college-students

The Florida State University College of Law Summer for Undergraduates – http://www.law.fsu.edu/academics/summer-for-undergraduates

IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program– https://www.kentlaw.iit.edu/academics/pre-law-undergraduate-scholars-program

Seton University School of Law’s Summer Institute of Pre-Legal Studies –http://law.shu.edu/About/News_Events/Program_Highlight/summer-institute-prelegal-studies.cfm

University of Houston Pre-Law Pipeline Program– http://www.law.uh.edu/pipeline/

University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law – Tennessee Institute for Pre-Law– http://www.memphis.edu/law/about/tip.php

University of Texas at El Paso – Patricia and Paul Yetter Law School Preparation Institute– http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?alias=academics.utep.edu/law

University of Texas at San Antonio Institute for Law and Public Affairs – Summer Law School Preparation Academy– http://www.utsa.edu/ilpa/academy.html

University of California Davis School of Law – King Hall Outreach Program/Pre-Law Boot Camp– https://law.ucdavis.edu/outreach/khop.html

University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Law – Law Fellows Outreach Program– https://law.ucla.edu/admissions/outreach/

Pre-Law Summer Institute for American Indians and Alaska Natives– http://ailc-inc.org/PLSI.htm

American Bar Association – Pipeline Diversity Directory –http://www.americanbar.org/groups/diversity/diversity_pipeline/resources/pipeline_diversity_directory.html

National Pre-Law Diversity Initiatives, Inc. – http://www.nationalprelawdiversity.org

Law School Admission Council’s Discover Law– http://www.discoverlaw.org/

Just the Beginning Foundation, A Pipeline Organization– http://www.jtbf.org/

For People of Color, Inc.– http://forpeopleofcolor.org/

NYC Bar’s Office of Diversity Pipeline Initiatives– http://www.nycbar.org/diversity/student-pipeline-program


Diverse Law Student and Attorney Bar Associations

Diverse law student and attorney associations are an additional resource for diverse individuals applying to law school, and we encourage you to connect with them. Some membership benefits include scholarships, networking, leadership opportunities, career resources, conferences, events, mentorship, social activities, etc. Each bar association has its own membership guidelines, which typically includes a student section. To start your search, please refer to the list of national associations below.


National Asian Pacific American Law Student Association– http://napalsa.com/

National Association of Law Students with Disabilities– http://www.nalswd.org/

National Association of Women Lawyers– http://www.nawl.org/

National Black Law Students Association– http://nblsa.org/

National Latina/Latino Law Student Association– http://nllsa.org/

National LGBT Bar Association – Law Student Congress– http://lgbtbar.org/what-we-do/law-student-resources/law-student-congress/

National Native American Law Students Association– http://www.nationalnalsa.org/

National Women Law Students Association– https://womenatuprlaw.wordpress.com/

North American South Asian Law Students Association– http://nasalsa.org/

American Bar Association – Lawyers with Disabilities – http://www.americanbar.org/diversity/lawyers_with_disabilities.html

Hispanic National Bar Association– http://hnba.com/

National Asian Pacific American Bar Association– http://www.napaba.org/

National Bar Association– https://www.nationalbar.org/

National LGBTQ+ Bar Association– http://lgbtbar.org/

National Native American Bar Association– http://www.nativeamericanbar.org/

By Dovie King
Dovie King Pre-Law Advisor