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ABA Pipeline Council's 2022 Reimagining Pipeline Programs Virtual Series

Re-Imagining Legal Education: Innovations in Pipeline Programs

Image includes photos of students at various stages of the pipeline to law school surrounded by instruments of justice.

Image includes photos of students at various stages of the pipeline to law school surrounded by instruments of justice.

ABA Pipeline Council's 2022 Reimagining Pipeline Programs Virtual Series

The goal of equity and inclusion in the legal system requires diverse representation in the legal profession. We are at a critical point in time where the pandemic has further crystallized how historically marginalized communities are disparately impacted by individual and systemic racism and oppression. Pipeline programs are critical to help ensure that students already on the margins do not fall out of the pipeline, but the environment in which pipeline programs operate has changed. This ten-part series of collaborative programming will address a number of issues impacting the pipeline to the legal profession. Each session will include an opportunity for attendees to learn and share with the goal of strengthening the educational pipeline into the legal profession.

Sponsored by Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline;  Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization; StreetLaw, Inc; Law School Admissions Council; and Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Co-Sponsored by the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions

Part I: Re-Imagining Legal Education: Courage, Conviction and Commitment

January 29, 2021 

Our keynote speaker reflected on our collective call to action to reimagine the possibilities for legal education as a social and racial justice imperative.

Speakers included:

  • Keynote Speaker Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Dean and Professor of Law, Boston University College of Law
  • Cal Gonzales, Executive Director, Morgan Stanley; Chair, ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline

Part II: Pipeline Programs in a Pandemic: Access, Hurdles, and Innovations

The pandemic has further exposed the inequities faced by underserved communities. Now, more than ever, it has been important for the legal community to coalesce to ensure that the pipeline to becoming a lawyer broadens and that we double our efforts to support diverse students in higher education. In an effort to continue to reach out to underserved communities, pipeline programs have had to quickly maneuver and innovate to provide access to their programming and support in a world where so many students were already having to deal with a digital divide. We learned from a few of those innovators who have reshaped their pipeline programs to serve students through the pandemic. We heard from our panelists about what worked, what didn’t, and what issues will still need to be addressed in order to continue to serve our students. 

Speakers included:

  • Rodina Cave Parnall, PLSI Director, American Indian Law Center Pre Law School Institute
  • Eric Dieter, 2020 PLUS Online Program Director, University of Texas at Austin
  • Antonette Smith, Executive Director, Just The Begining- A Pipeline Organization 
  • Moderator Fe LopezGaetke, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Law School Admission Council

Part III: Re-Imagining Legal Education: Magic Happens When Students and Faculty Collaborate

March 26, 2021   

Students are keenly aware of issues that are presented based on  the concept of otherness. This program explored best practices and model programs that identify successful faculty and student collaborations.  The panel focused on methods of addressing issues that are top of mind for students when dealing with issues associated with diversity, inclusion and equity within law schools.
Breakout Rooms included in session

Speakers included:

  • Ada Goodly, Director, Louis A. Berry Institute for Civil Rights and Justice, Southern University Law Center; Owner, The Goodly Group, LLC  
  • Miranda Johnson,  Clinical Professor of Law; Director, Education Law and Policy Institute, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Carla Kupe, Chief Executive Officer, The Impact Alliance; Director, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Professional Identity Formation Program; Gender and Racial Equity Director, YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
  • Jayne Reardon, Executive Director, Illinois Supreme Court Commission on Professionalism
  • Brittany Green, Class of 2021, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Elizabeth Flores, Class of 2021, Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Radhika Sutherland, Class of 2021, Loyola University Chicago School of Law

  • Josie Gough, Assistant Dean for Inclusion, Diversity and Equity; Curt and Linda Rodin Assistant Professor of Social Justice; Director, Experiential Learning and Professional Development Loyola University Chicago School of Law
  • Marla Dickerson, Director of CLE & Managing Fellow of the Cannabis Compliance, Law, & Policy Institute; Member, Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline

Part IV: Re-Imagining K-12 Pipeline Programs: Early Exposure Matters

April 30, 2021 

Students make critical career decisions early--often as early as middle and high school. Therefore, pipeline programs must create initiatives that influence students at a younger age while creating an environment that maintains positive relationships and influence throughout their K-12, college, and law school experiences. It is imperative that the legal profession adopt a holistic approach to ensuring students’ success at every point along the pipeline. Participants will come away with a stronger understanding of the challenges facing students, the immense talent that lies within them, and practical advice for keeping promising students on track.  
Breakout Rooms included in session

Speakers included:


  • Joy Dingle, Director of Legal Diversity Pipeline Programs, Street Law Inc.

Part V: Money, Money, Money, Money….Money: Innovations in Funding for Pipeline Programs

May 21, 2021  

Obtaining funding for programs is a universal challenge for pipeline programs. Essentially the key is to find funders and meet their funding requirements. How do you match the programs goals and objectives with the funding sources sought? How important is writing a grant application or funding proposal? In addition to the well-known funding sources, what other methods can organizations use to obtain financial support. The amount of funding sought is determined by having a carefully developed budget including analyzing cost and program options, determining the key goals and objectives, and financial management. Additional program concerns related to obtaining and providing financial support will be discussed. 

Breakout Rooms included in session

Speakers included:


Part VI: Centering on Experiences: Supporting LGBTQ+ Individuals in the Pipeline

Co-Sponsored by the ABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

June 25, 2021 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) students face distinct challenges navigating the pipeline into law school and the profession. Those obstacles intensify for students who identify as transgender or nonbinary, where existing programs may support LGBTQ+ students generally, but are not fully inclusive of transgender and nonbinary issues. This is also true for students at the intersection of race, sexual orientation and gender identity. As the number of LGBTQ+ individuals entering law school and the legal profession continues to grow, it is important to critically consider (1) how to better support LGBTQ+ students into and through law school, and (2) how to help ensure a successful transition into the legal profession. This program will explore the unique issues LGBTQ+ individuals are facing in the long road to becoming a lawyer. Panelists from a variety of backgrounds will discuss their personal experiences in the pipeline, in legal education, and the legal profession, and how law school and legal profession stakeholders can offset the impact of a system that often sets them up to fail. 
Breakout Rooms included in session

Speakers included:

  • Jay L. Austin, Senior Associate Dean of Enrollment and Financial Aid, Rutgers Law School
  • Kim Fountain, Chief Administrative Officer, Center on Halsted
  • August Hieber, Equal Justice Works Fellow Sponsored by PepsiCo, Inc; Center for Disability & Elder Law
  • Celia Meredith, 3L JD-MA, Indiana University Maurer School of Law


  • Elizabeth (Liz) Bodamer, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy & Research Analyst and Senior Program Manager, Law School Admission Council

Part VII: There is More Than One Way: Re-Imagining the Pathway Through Post-Secondary Education

July 30, 2021 

The goal of pipeline programs is to ultimately increase diversity within the legal profession. But is it time to re-evaluate the path toward that goal. This program will feature presentations from the California Pathway to Law Initiative, focusing on the Community College segment of the pathway and Indiana University McKinney School of Law who will discuss their innovative programs for increasing post-secondary interest in, and preparation for, law school.
Breakout Rooms included in session


  • Ruthe Ashley, Executive Director Emeritus, CaliforniaLAW
  • Patricia D. Lee, Chair, ABA Standing Committee on Public Education; Board Member/Program Committee Chair, California LAW (Leadership Access Workforce)
  • Erin M. Engels, Director of Paralegal Studies and Pre-law Advisor, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, School of Liberal Arts, Department of Political Science
  • Max Huffman, Professor of Law, Director of Online Learning, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
  • Patricia K. Kinney, Assistant Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, Indiana University Robert H, McKinney School of Law


  • Rodney O. Fong, Associate Dean for Academic Achievement, Program Assessment and Bar Preparation; Clinical Professor of Law, University of Illinois Chicago School of Law

Part VIII: Intersectionality: An Innovative Lens for Understanding the Challenges Faced by Disabled Students

Co-Sponsored by the ABA Commission on Disability Rights

September 24, 2021 

Disability is often an obstacle to higher education for many students. In our efforts to improve the pipeline for disabled students, we often fail to consider how other  characteristics compound the marginalization of these students. Students who live at the intersection of race and disability are disproportionately impacted in higher education. What are the challenges faced by Black/African American and Latinx disabled students and how do we provide these students with the right skills and exposure to pipeline programs to successfully progress through the educational system and into the legal profession?
Breakout Rooms included in session

Speakers included:


  • Ronda L. Harrison, J.D, M.Ed., B.A, Assistant Dean Academic Success and Bar Readiness, Thurgood Marshall School of Law Texas Southern University

Part IX: The Good and the Bad: Examining the Impact of the School-to-Prison Pipeline on Access to Legal Education and the Pipeline to the Legal Profession

Co-Sponsored by the ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice

October 15, 2021 

The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the system of laws, policies and practices that results in children being funneled out of schools and into the prison sentence. Studies have clearly shown that this system disproportionately impacts students of color, students with disabilities and those who are LGBT+. As we strive to increase the pipeline for diverse students into the legal profession, how are those efforts impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline? What are the long-term impediments for prospective law school candidates impacted by the school-to-prison pipeline? Is there a place for innovative pipeline programs to mitigate that impact? 
Breakout Rooms included in session

Speakers include:

  • Jarret Adams, Founding Partner, The law Offices of Jarret Adams, PLLC; Cofounder, Life After Justice; Author, Redeeming Justice
  • Twanda Turner-Hawkins, Director, Global Litigation Dematic Corp. and KION Americas; Chair, ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice
  • Miguel H. Willis, Innovator in Residence, Future of the Profession Initiative, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; Executive Director, Access to Justice Tech Fellows Program 


  • Elizabeth Bodamer, J.D., PhD., DEI Policy & Research Analyst and Senior Program Manager Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Law School Admission Council

Part X: Young People Speak

October 29, 2021 

Finding a path towards the legal profession can seem like a daunting journey for young people from underrepresented backgrounds. The desire to work in the legal field comes with numerous decisions that shape the experience of young lawyers. Pipeline programs serve as channels of knowledge and guidance for these students. Join us in a discussion led by young people who plan to enter the profession share their experiences. What are they facing? Which changes would they suggest to improve their journey through admissions, campus climate, education and training, hiring, and workplace practices?