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Diversity at KU Law

Diversity at KU Law

KU Law values diversity in its student body and believes that the intentional creation of a diverse learning environment is essential to achieving the university's educational mission. The university fosters a multicultural environment in which the dignity and rights of the individual are respected. The law school's Faculty and Staff Committee on Diversity & Inclusion, its alumni Diversity Advisory Council, its Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council and its diverse student organizations help support diversity through workshops, presentations, awareness exercises and social events. 

Admissions Criteria

To build a diverse community, the university considers, in addition to academic credentials, the following criteria for student admission decisions, scholarship recognition and program participation. While each factor is significant, no one factor will be considered determinative in the decision process:

  • Bilingual or multilingual abilities
  • Cultural background
  • Ethnicity
  • Evidence of commitment to diversity
  • Evidence of leadership skills
  • First generation college student
  • Geographic diversity
  • Financial, social, family, physical or educational hardships
  • Previous career before pursuing higher education
  • Race
  • Service to community
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Urban/rural background
  • Other unique contributions

Diverse Student Organizations

The following student organizations at KU Law provide support and assistance to their members, promote cultural awareness in the law school and in the legal profession and serve as vehicles for law school and community involvement. They often partner in planning service and social activities throughout the year. Members also collaborate in their efforts to recruit and mentor new students.

Membership in each of these organizations is open to all students. Contact information is available by clicking on the links below.

Dean's Diversity Leadership Council

Established in 2015, the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council (DDLC) is a student organization dedicated to promoting diversity and fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of the KU Law community. The DDLC serves as an advisory council to the Dean and to the KU Law Faculty/Staff Committee on Diversity & Inclusion, which assists all members of the KU Law community in diversity and inclusion matters. Among other accomplishments, the DDLC has created and distributed a KU Law Climate Survey and hosted a panel discussion on the importance of diversity in the legal profession. Moving forward, the DDLC will build on these actions and take an active role in helping to ensure that the KU Law environment is one in which everyone is comfortable talking about their ideas and concerns in a manner that is respectful and productive.

Council members for 2019-2020 are:

  • Malika Baker
  • Michael Bene
  • Terra Brockman
  • Claudia Chavarria
  • Denise Dantzler
  • Aidan Graybill
  • Delaney Hiegert
  • Saber Hossinei
  • Joy Merklen
  • Bria Nelson
  • Abraham Pfannenstiel

Diversity in Law Banquet

Asian Law Students Association, Black Law Students Association, Hispanic American Law Students Association, Native American Law Students Association, and OutLaws & Allies take turns hosting this annual event, which celebrates the ways in which diversity enriches KU Law and serves as a fundraiser for the Diversity Scholarship Fund.

NIC Inc. and KU Law present the
24th Annual Diversity in Law Banquet

February 22, 2019 | 6 p.m. cocktails | 7 p.m. dinner
The Oread Hotel, Hancock Ballroom
1200 Oread Avenue, Lawrence, KS

RSVP + select entree by February 13:

The 2019 Diversity in Law Banquet is hosted by the Black Law Students Association. The Title Sponsor is NIC, Inc.

Keynote Speaker

Chief Judge Julie Robinson, L'81, will be the keynote speaker at the 24th Annual Diversity in Law Banquet.

Judge Robinson was appointed a United States District Judge in 2001. She is the first African American appointed to the federal district court in Kansas and the second woman. Judge Robinson became chief judge of her court in 2017, effectively becoming the chief executive officer of the court, with responsibility for the court’s operations and its 200 employees.

Full bio

Chief Judge Julie A. Robinson was appointed a United States District Judge in 2001. She is the first African American appointed to the federal district court in Kansas and the second woman. Judge Robinson became Chief Judge of her court in 2017, effectively becoming the chief executive officer of the court, with responsibility for the court’s operations and its 200 employees. Judge Robinson served as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Kansas from 1994 to 2001, the first female bankruptcy judge in Kansas and the second African American female bankruptcy judge in the nation. For eleven years before that, she was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Kansas, representing the federal government in a variety of civil cases as well as prosecuting criminal cases.

Judge Robinson has served the federal judiciary in a number of capacities. She currently serves on the federal judiciary’s Workplace Conduct Working Group, tasked with recommending procedural and structural changes designed to address and prevent sexual harassment and other forms of harassment and discrimination in the federal judiciary’s workplace. She also currently serves on the board of the Federal Judges Association. Judge Robinson is a past chair of the Court Administration and Case Management Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, a past Commissioner of the United States Supreme Court Fellows, and was involved in developing Strategic Plans for the federal judiciary in 2010 and 2015. Locally, she serves on the board of Healing House of Kansas City and has served in a variety of capacities as a member of the Church of the Resurrection United Methodist Church for 28 years. She is also a proud alumna of KU Law School, where she served as chair of the Board of Governors, taught trial practice, and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Special thanks to our sponsors

Title sponsor

NIC Inc.

Gold level

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner Stueve Siegel Hanson
Lathrop Gage Foulston
Polsinelli Husch Blackwell
Leverage Law Group LLC Koch
Shook Hardy Bacon Littler
Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Stinson Leonard Street LLP

Silver level

  • Jackson County Bar Association
  • Kansas Trial Lawyers Association
  • Rebein Bangerter Rebein, PA
  • Seyferth, Blumenthal & Harris LLC
  • Spencer Fane LLP
  • Treviño Law Office LC
  • Wallace Saunders, Chartered

Bronze level

  • Baird Holm LLP
  • Betsy & Steve Six
  • Cerner Corporation
  • Clark, Mize & Linville Chartered
  • Hite, Fanning & Honeyman LLP
  • Kansas Bar Association
  • Kansas City Lesbian, Gay and Allied Lawyers (KC LEGAL)
  • Lewis Rice LLC
  • Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace & Bauer LLP
  • Sloan, Eisenbarth, Glassman, McEntire & Jarboe LLC
  • The Law Office of David J. Brown, LC
  • Wichita Bar Association

In-Kind Sponsors

  • Minuteman Press
  • Oread Hotel
  • Owens Flower Shop

Scholarship donors

  • Burke McClasky Stevens
  • Payne & Jones, Chartered

Thanksgiving Food Drive

The entire student body actively supports this annual food drive sponsored by the Black Law Students Association. First-year small sections compete to contribute the most items. Faculty members support the cause by exchanging "passes" in class for a canned food donation. Items collected provide Thanksgiving meals for hundreds of families in the Lawrence community.

Thurgood Marshall Law Day

The Black Law Students Association reaches out to the youth of the community to provide them with cultivating and enriching discussions on contemporary law topics and diversity in the profession.

Pub Night

A live auction and variety show with faculty and student participants highlights this event. Hosted by Women in Law, Pub Night raises funds for local charities that provide support and assistance to women and children.

Faculty/Staff Committee on Diversity & Inclusion

Led by Assistant Dean of Academic and Student Affairs Leah Terranova, the Faculty and Staff Committee on Diversity & Inclusion promotes tolerance and professionalism in law school and the practice of law. Committee members include Professors Jean Phillips, Betsy Six, Kyle Velte, Shawn Watts and Lua Yuille, Dean Stephen Mazza, as well as Margaret Hair and Yolanda Huggins from the KU Law staff.

Donald Prophete | From the NFL to the Law Firm: Making a Play for Diversity

Committee Activities

  • Fall Diversity & Inclusion Social at Johnny's North | View photos
  • Guest speakers and panels on diversity-related issues
  • The Diversity Dash, a diversity-themed scavenger hunt for students
  • First-year student orientation session on professionalism, communication, and community in the law school and the practice of law
  • Professionalism training for clinic students in their third year of law school
  • Annual diversity training for faculty during the fall faculty retreat
  • Periodic meetings with the Diversity Advisory Council (alumni), the Dean’s Diversity Leadership Council (DDLC), and law student organizations

Diversity Advisory Council

The Diversity Advisory Council counts among its members culturally diverse and accomplished KU Law alumni who have agreed to share their wisdom and experience. They serve as a resource to Dean Stephen Mazza in the recruitment and retention of students from groups that are under-represented in law school classrooms, among the practicing Bar and on the Bench. Current members of the council are:

  • Mayra Aguirre, L’07
  • Laura Clark Fey, L’92
  • Amy Fowler, L’00
  • Rico Kolster, L’00
  • Pat Konopka, L’94
  • Jehan Kamil Moore, L’05
  • Demetrius Peterson, L’09
  • Melissa Plunkett, L'11
  • Kelley Sears, L’74
  • Henry Thomas, L’13
  • Jabari Wamble, L’06
  • Issaku Yamaashi, L’00
  • Alyse Zadalis, L’15
  • Holly Zane, L’86
  • Gabe Zorogastua, L’07

Climate Survey

KU Law was one of 66 ABA-accredited law schools to respond to the National LGBT Bar Association’s inaugural Law School Climate Survey. Survey responses outline policies and procedures impacting the school’s LGBTQ+ population. See KU Law's responses to the LGBT Bar's Law School Climate Survey 2019.

Contact KU Law Admissions

Steven Freedman, Assistant Dean
Mallory Baker, Admissions Coordinator

103 Green Hall