Established in 2000 and housed within the ABA Center for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, the ABA Council for Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Educational Pipeline (Pipeline Council) works to increase opportunities for racially and ethnically diverse students to enter the legal profession. The Pipeline Council partners with members of the bar, legal education, and the judiciary to identify and address pipeline diversity issues. By identifying and spotlighting model programs that successfully foster diversity in the legal profession, the Pipeline Council hopes to address grassroots issues and work within the legal community to make a difference.
During the 2012 ABA Annual Meeting, the Pipeline Council presented a CLE Showcase called “Beyond Diversity: How Stereotype Threat and Implicit Bias Contribute to the Status Gap.” The panelists discussed how cultural stereotypes affect women’s ability to perform well, the effect of these stereotypes and how they can be reduced, and how implicit bias impacts the private legal area.
Also during the Annual Meeting, the leadership of the Pipeline Council met to discuss ways to assist groups that are underrepresented in the legal profession. Diversity of the profession is important to prevent the law from losing touch with the population. The Council seeks to do so by identifying and supporting programs that inform students of color of career opportunities within the legal profession, ways to overcome the financial and cultural barriers to law school admission, and how to successfully pursue a legal career.
For prelaw students, the Pipeline Council supports BA to JD programs, which educate pre-law advisors on how they can better serve diverse students. For incoming first-year law students, the Pipeline Council, in conjunction with other ABA entities, administers the Legal Opportunity Scholarship Fund, which grants incoming diverse first-year law students with financial assistance during their three years of law school. For current law students, the Pipeline Council, together with the ABA Judicial Division, holds a yearly three-day Judicial Clerkship Program, which educates 100 minority law students about the benefits of judicial clerkships and gives them the opportunity to speak to judges and former judicial clerks. The program has led many participating students to successfully obtaining judicial clerkships.
Law students can further the goals of the Pipeline Council by actively participating in the Law Student Division diversity initiatives, such as Law School Diversity Day on March 2, 2013. Law students can get involved in the Pipeline Council’s Judicial Clerkship Program by advising the dean of their law school to contact Sharon Tindall at 312-988-5642 or Robin Rone at 312-988-5137.
To learn more about the Pipeline Council, students are invited to access the Council’s website and download the program book, free of charge.