Recent Initiatives Fostering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Updated September 2022


Faculty and Administrative Hiring

Admissions and Student Outreach

  • The Law School recently launched a first-of-its-kind path to preparing first-generation and low-income undergraduate students to become competitive applicants to the nation’s leading law schools. The Roadmap Scholars Initiative welcomed its first cohort of scholars in summer 2022.
  • The Class of 2025, which began classes in August 2022, set new school records in diversity, with 40% identifying as people of color and 16% as LGBT.
  • The Admissions Office has expanded its efforts to recruit a diverse class of students, including increased attendance at HBCU pre-law conferences, networking events in partnership with pipeline programs, undergraduate affinity group panels and other virtual events aimed at recruiting candidates historically underrepresented in law schools and the legal profession.
  • The Admissions team has collaborated with law student affinity groups to expand its outreach to prospective and admitted students.
  • The Law School has raised $1,000,000 for the Elaine R. Jones ’70 Scholarship fund since its launch in summer 2020, as well as funds for additional scholarships that foster diversity and support students interested in careers in racial justice.

Structured Opportunities for Learning and Discussion

  • For the 2021-22 school year, the Law School added new courses related to race and identity: Identity, Law and Politics; Critical Perspectives in Business Law; and the January term course Social Identity, Critical Theory and Law. The school has a longstanding Race and Law concentration that lists relevant courses.
  • The school’s Diversity, Equity and Belonging Committee and numerous student organizations are sponsoring a Common Watch of the film “Minari” in the fall of 2022.
  • During the 2020-21 school year, the Diversity, Equity and Belonging Committee and the Faculty Enrichment Committee co-sponsored workshops on navigating difficult topics in the classroom and building racial and social justice topics into courses across the curriculum, and provided follow-up resources.
  • In the past two years, the John W. Glynn Jr. Law & Business Program has co-hosted three national faculty workshops with the University of Chicago Law School’s Center on Law and Finance about incorporating race into business law courses, business law scholarship, and diversity and inclusion in investing.
  • The third season of the Common Law podcast focused on the relationship between law and equity.
  • The Law School co-sponsored the spring 2021 Racial Equity Speaker Series with the UVA Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, featuring Laura Morgan Roberts, Ijeoma Oluo and Ibram X. Kendi.
  • The 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Day event focused on “Inside Sines v. Kessler: A Case Holding White Supremacists Accountable,” about the lawsuit against organizers of the violent 2017 rally in Charlottesville. The Law School’s 2021 MLK Day commemoration honored Elaine Jones ’70 for her pioneering role as the school’s first Black alumna and as the first woman to serve as president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Jones was also the keynote speaker for the symposium “From the Equal Rights Amendment to Black Lives Matter: Reflecting on Intersectional Struggles for Equality,” sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race and Law and the Virginia Law Review.
  • During the 2020-21 academic year, the Law School hosted several other events addressing racial discrimination, racial equity and related topics. These include: PLACE and Power: Pathways to Racial and Economic EquityHow the Law Treats Hate: Antisemitism and Anti-Discrimination Reconsidered; and A Conversation With Virginia Sen. Jennifer McClellan ’97 on Race, Equity and Policymaking. Richard Rothstein gave a lecture titled “Race and Place” for the 2021 Lillian K. Stone Distinguished Lecture in Environmental Policy.
  • During the 2020-21 school year, four visiting professors affiliated with the Center for the Study of Race and Law taught four new short courses, with topics ranging from Latinos and the Law to Racial Ambiguity Blues.
  • In 2020-21, the Diversity, Equity and Belonging Committee and other student organizations sponsored a Common Watch of the film “Moonlight.” In 2020-21, the committee and students sponsored the Common Read of Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” and related events. 
  • During the summer of 2020, the Law School hosted a National Faculty Workshop series “From Policing and Protest to Discrimination and Systemic Racism.”

Clinical and Scholarly Contributions to Racial Justice

New Digital Resources

Alumni Relations and Fundraising

  • The Law School Foundation has expanded its programming targeted to diverse alumni, including inaugural BLSA Law Alumni Weekend programming during virtual reunions in May 2021 and beyond, and a Black UVA Law Alumni virtual event in March 2021.
  • The Foundation has also prioritized fundraising for diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives as part of the school’s ongoing capital campaign. Some recent examples include the Carlos M. Brown ’99 and Tamara A. Charity-Brown, M.D., Bicentennial Scholarship and the F. Blair Wimbush Bicentennial Scholarship.

Historic Landscape and Representation

  • The Law School commissioned a portrait of Elaine Jones ’70 in honor of the 50th anniversary of her graduation. In 2022, the Law School held a ceremony to mark the occasion of its hanging in Clay Hall, where it is presented alongside portraits of UVA and UVA Law’s first Black student, Gregory H. Swanson ’51; the Virginia Supreme Court’s first Black justice, John Charles Thomas ’75; the Law School’s first female graduate, Elizabeth Tompkins ’23; and recent deans of the Law School.
  • In August 2020, an ad hoc committee recommended removing Henry Malcolm Withers’ name from the Law School’s Withers-Brown Hall. Dean Risa Goluboff adopted their recommendation and requested that the University rename the building. University President James Ryan ’92 and the Board of Visitors approved the request in September 2020. The building is currently known as Brown Hall.