ABA Diversity Resources for Students
The ABA offers an array of resources and guidance for law students of color and those from low economic backgrounds.
On March 2nd, the ABA Law Student Division celebrates Diversity Day across the country. Law schools are encouraged to participate.
The Division’s Dean Henry J. Ramsey, Jr. Diversity Award recognizes excellence in activities contributing to the achievement and advancement of women, minorities, persons with disabilities, and LGBT legal professionals and students. Application deadline: April 15
- Diversity Criteria
- Diversity Nomination Packet
The American Bar Association offers an array of diversity activities, resources, and guidance for law students interested in taking on the task of combating bias in law school, within the legal profession and in their communities.
The mission of every American lawyers should be to build public trust and confidence in the justice system — and in the legal profession — through partnerships with the public in justice reform. Discover how the ABA can help you get involved in improving the administration of justice in your area.
- Diversity Center
- Coalition for Justice
- Advisory Council on Diversity
- Council on Racial and Ethnic Justice
- Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline
- Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Profession
- Commission on Disability Rights
- Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Commission on Women in the Profession
- Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities
- AIDS Coordinating Committee
- Youth at Risk Initiative
Also, don’t miss the exciting opportunities available to students of color and those from low income backgrounds through The Council on Legal Education Opportunities (CLEO).
Law Students who are in recovery from alcoholism or drug dependency can communicate with other law students struggling with how to stay clean and sober through law school and related issues. The ABA Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs maintains a listserv for recovering law students. If you are interested in joining this group online, contact Matthew Reel.
Scholarships and Resume Building Opportunities
Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund
Sponsor: ABA Fund for Justice and Education
Eligibility: Must be entering first-year of law school; must have a grade point average of 2.5 (based on 4.0 grading scale); must be a citizen or permanent US resident; and must plan to attend an ABA-approved law school.
Judicial Clerkship Program
Sponsors: ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the ABA Judicial Division
Designed to bring judges and minority law students together through structured networking activities.
Judicial Intern Opportunity Program
Sponsor: Section of Litigation and the Section of Litigation
This program includes a full-time, six-week minimum, summer internship program open to all first-or second-year minority and/or financially disadvantaged law students.
Mentor Program for Students with Disabilities
Sponsor: Commission on Disability Rights
This program is open to all law students with physical, mental, or learning disabilities. Students are paired with practicing attorneys, based on the student’s interest in either being matched according to disability, geographical location, or area of interest. Mentors offer students both academic and career advice, in addition to insights into the private and government sectors.
Commission on Disability Rights
The ABA Commission on Disability Rights provides a webpage containing some scholarships and financial assistance resources available to students with disabilities. These sites are simply suggestions and are not affiliated or supported by the ABA or the Commission.
Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO)
The CLEO diverCITY Network is an online portal recently established by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity (CLEO) to be “the virtual destination for minority law students.”CLEO is actively encouraging minority/underrepresented law students seeking membership in CLEO to register as a new CLEO Affiliate. Registration is Free.
Asian Pacific American Bar Association Educational Fund (AEF)
Robert T. Matsui Annual Writing Competition
Entry deadline: June
Award: $1,500 and publication in the UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal
The National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Bar Association
Michael Greenberg Student Writing Competition
Awards: $3,000, $2,000, and $1,000. First-place winner will also receive registration, airfare and lodging to attend Lavender Law and publication in the Journal of Law and Sexuality.
Entry deadline: June
Commitment to Diversity
American Bar Association Goal III
- Promote full and equal participation in the association, our profession, and the justice system by all persons.
- Eliminate bias in the legal profession and the justice system.
Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award
Sponsor: ABA Commission on Women in the Profession
Recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of women lawyers who have achieved professional excellence within their area of specialty and have actively paved the way to success for other women lawyers.
Thurgood Marshall Award Honoring Outstanding Contributions to Civil Rights
Sponsor: Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities
Honors long-term contributions made by those in the legal profession to advance civil rights, civil liberties, and human rights in the United States.
Spirit of Excellence Award
Sponsor: ABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Celebrates the achievements of diverse lawyers and others who contribute to the legal profession and society.