Akron Law promotes inclusion, diversity and equality through its recruitment and admissions policies, its student organizations, its community involvement, and its broader support of diversity in the legal profession, starting in high school and continuing after graduates have begun their careers.
In recruiting and admissions, Akron Law adopts a multifaceted strategy in assembling each year's entering class to recruit a student body that is academically talented and representative of a diverse set of racial, ethnic, social, economic, geographic, and educational backgrounds. We actively recruit at HBCUs and at diversity-focused law school events.
Every year, we allocate substantial scholarship funds for diversity recruitment and retention, drawing on the resources such as the Lewis W. Adkins, Jr. and Yamini Atkins Student Diversity Recruitment and Retention Fund, and the Lewis W. Adkins, Jr. and Yamini Atkins Scholarship.
Coupled with financial support, various forms of outreach matter, too. Once a student decides to enroll, programs offering mentorship, academic coaching, and professional-development assistance can support their success and encourage them to remain at Akron Law.
Akron Law's student organizations work hard to promote socio-cultural diversity and diversity of ideas within our student body. The Black Law Students Association, Asian-Latino Law Students Association, and Law Association for Women sponsor numerous community service, academic development, and diversity promotion events each academic year. In addition, other organizations such as the Federalist Society, the Gay-Straight Law Alliance, the ACLU, and the Student Bar Association seek to encourage public discussion on political, legal, and public policy issues by sponsoring guest speakers and debates.
We serve as one of eight sites across Ohio for the Law and Leadership Institute. Students enroll as rising ninth graders and continue in the program through the summer following high school. All students attend a summer program and an academic year program in our building.
The Akron Law Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholars (PLUS) Program offers an innovative and supportive environment for rising second- and third-year college students with diverse backgrounds who want to explore a legal education. During the four-week summer program, students experience the law school classroom, meet lawyers and judges, gain the confidence and skills needed to apply to, enroll and succeed in law school. Since 2018, more than 60 students have taken part in the program. Several have subsequently applied, been admitted, and enrolled as Akron Law students.
The University of Akron School of Law is proud to be a founding member of the Ohio Legal Diversity Consortium (OLDC), an alliance developed to empower diverse law students and junior attorneys in their legal careers and provide them with opportunities to advance their professional development.
In fall 2020, Akron Law offered a 12-week online course, free and open to the public, designed to offer an introduction to the impact of the law on equality in America. Taught by Assistant Dean of Diversity & Social Justice Initiatives Brant T. Lee, “Racial Equality and the Law” has attracted than 5,000 registrants from across the country.
Professor Lee also oversees the Social Justice Fellows program, in which participants explore opportunities to achieve their goals as law students and lawyers who will have an impact. He also teaches the Social Justice Lawyering Practicum, one of the social justice-focused experiential opportunities offered by Akron Law.
Law students in our nationally recognized Reentry Clinic assist low-income clients to help file applications to expunge their criminal records, obtain Certificates of Qualification for Employment (CQE), and file clemency applications. In the Inmate Assistance program, law students travel to nearby county jails under the direction of staff attorneys to interview inmates and provide general legal information on criminal and civil problems.
In 2019 the Reentry Clinic was selected to operate the new Ohio Governor’s Expedited Pardon Project, in partnership with The Ohio State University College of Law and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Law students screen pardon candidates to ensure that they meet the project’s requirements. The students also assist the project’s clients with preparing their pard petition to the governor.