June 16, 2021 - Current students and alumni delivered testimonials on the profound impact scholarships made on their legal education at the University of Houston during a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Leadership Forum & Conversation hosted by Dean Leonard M. Baynes and Associate Professor Tony Chase. The virtual event held last week garnered an audience that featured attorneys, judges, legislators, Law Center alumni and faculty members.
In his opening remarks, Baynes announced his goal of making the Law Center “a harbinger of what can be possible with diversity.”
“The time has never been more important than now,” Chase added. “There are so many ways to lead in this regard, including offering jobs and mentorship to diverse graduates or financial support to the school."
While a 2019 American Bar Association survey noted that only 36 percent of lawyers are female, women represent more than 50 percent of the Law Center’s student population. More than 36 percent of the Law Center’s students are underrepresented minorities. In acknowledging these successes, Baynes encouraged attendees to think about diversity in terms of leadership and preparing the next generation of leaders to promote diversity, equity and inclusion.
Law Center students identified the diverse student body, low cost and financial support as influential to their enrollment at the Law Center instead of other law schools from across the country. They noted diversity, equity and inclusion as instrumental to their success, not only within the school itself, but within Houston as well.
“The legal profession should reflect the community it serves,” said rising 3L Emory Powers.
Students also pointed to the tremendous support they receive from Law Center faculty in advancing their goals. Alexxa Leon, a rising 3L, recounted receiving a book on academic legal writing from Professor Meredith J. Duncan, with a note encouraging her to enter the Houston Law Review Write-on Competition, where she now serves as Senior Articles Editor.
To Nhy Huynh, a rising 3L, described how the ethnic and gender biases she faces have fueled her success and motivated her to become first in her class.
“I would never know what was waiting behind the door if I did not have the courage to knock,” Huynh said. “I knocked, and the Law Center answered with a very generous scholarship for me.”
Additional speakers included Law Center alumni Reginald Garrett '05 and Barbara Quackenbush '75, who described the impact of giving and receiving scholarships have had on their lives.
For additional information on supporting DEI Initiatives at the Law Center, please contact the Office of Development.
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