McGeorge alumna and Wood, Smith, Henning & Berman associate Melissa Aristizabal (’17) was recently appointed to the New York City Bar Association Minorities in the Profession Subcommittee for a second year. Committee work is a service that, given the opportunity, we encourage all lawyers participate in because it allows for exploration of personal interests outside
In the last article about diversity in the law, I discussed the need for diversity within the legal field. Here, I will discuss diversity efforts I have come across through law school.
Diversity fellowships, internships, and scholarships recognize the need for diversity in the legal field by providing equitable platforms for law students. I had no contact with the legal field prior to law school beyond what I learned in the undergraduate pre-law programs, and I was unfamiliar with how law school operated. The three programs discussed below showed me the importance of specific opportunities for diverse students.
Sacramento Bar Association Diversity Fellowship
During my first year, I learned about the Sacramento Bar Association 1L Diversity Fellowship. It encourages diverse law students to apply to firms and promote diversity in the legal field. Diverse students have an opportunity to apply to the fellowship, and if selected are matched with a Sacramento-area private law firm or organization. The program guarantees an interview for each applicant, which allows first-year students to practice interview skills for future opportunities. Further it shows students various firms’ commitment to diversity and inclusion. The program provides an equitable pipeline for diverse students pursuing legal careers in private firms.
Why do we need diversity?
Diversity in law brings diverse perspectives. As I read cases in my classes, I notice how laws and rulings impact a wide range of communities. However, the legal field does not reflect a diverse population. According to the American Bar Association, 2008 statistics show that only 34.4% of lawyers are women, 4.6% Black or African American, 2.9% Asian, and 3.8% Hispanic or Latinx. 86% are non-Hispanic white people. Further, in 2019, LGBTQ+ lawyers represented only 3% of all lawyers at firms that participated in a National Association for Law Placement report, and only 0.5% of lawyers identify as having a disability.
What do we mean by a diverse population?
Diversity means representation from a wide range of communities. However, representation is not enough. Systemic racism may be linked to the lack of diversity within the legal profession. It is embedded in various institutions within society and the legal profession is not excluded. Systemic racism exists when ideas of white supremacy operate in various levels of institutions. It is difficult to dismantle considering we are still speaking out against oppressive systems in society today. As diversity efforts in these institutional levels are pursued, it is important to understand that it is not isolated from civil rights movements. Rather, it should propel them forward by creating equitable access to the legal field.
This blog is the first post in a series that will examine diversity in the legal field. The blogs will highlight diversity issues and efforts within the legal community. Click here for a list of Asian American ally resources.
I want to start off this blog post by honoring victims of hate and violence. Victims that were attacked, only because of their identity.
I am writing this as a Filipino American immigrant woman and as a law student. I am writing this from my perspective as I am processing the attacks against my community.
The Asian American community is mourning. In the past few months, there has been a rampant increase in Asian American hate and violence. As I hear about these attacks, I think of my family members. I think of my great uncles, great aunts, and my grandmothers as I hear about attacks on the elderly. I think of my mom and my aunts as I hear about attacks on Asian American women.
The McGeorge School of Law Asian Pacific American Law Student Association wrote a statement in response to these attacks:
“We are not a virus. We are not a model minority. We are not a monolith. We are not your punchline or your scapegoat. We need to stop normalizing complacency. We need to amplify the narratives of our Asian storytellers, victims, survivors, and family members. And in the process, we need to look unto ourselves, in striving for anti-racism for ALL communities, for we do not tolerate selective support or solidarity. Anti-racism does not work unless we remain in total solidarity, together.”
“Right place, right time.” That’s how Ronald Ussery, a McGeorge J.D. candidate in the class of 2021 who is interested in sports law, landed his new job with sports management firm, Accelerate Sports LLC. While attending a weekly event as part of the SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship this past summer, Ronald was approached by…
The Environmental Law Section is pleased to announce its Diversity & Inclusion Fellowship program for Summer 2020. The program provides law students an opportunity to spend 8 to 10 weeks over the summer practicing environmental, energy, land use, and/or natural resources law at a participating government agency or public interest organization. Each Fellow receives a…
“Under the law, all people are created equal” – that’s the idea, at least. In a society saturated with tabloids, news outlets, and social media platforms, it’s nearly impossible to go a single day without coming across some kind of racially-charged issue. Much of the spotlight is given to issues of discrimination, and rightly so…
The SCBA 1L Diversity Fellowship is a unique opportunity for first-year law students from McGeorge and UC Davis who are looking to gain practical hands-on experience in a law firm and are members of a racially or ethnically under-represented group, LGBTQ+, disabled, or are otherwise under-represented in the legal profession. According to a recent NALP…
We are proud to announce that 6 rising 2L McGeorge students have secured a Diversity Fellowship through the Sacramento County Bar Association. Patricia Castillo, Arvinder Kaur, Erika Munoz, Cheyanne Martin, Ronald Ussery, and Jules Jallab will join students from UC Davis Law School in working at some of the most prestigious private law…