Academy for Justice MLK Policing Event

Diversity and Social Justice at ASU Law

Our commitment

Following the Arizona State University Charter, ASU Law is an inclusive institution that strives to make a positive impact on the communities it services. ASU Law is committed to inclusion—ethnic, intellectual, socioeconomic and cultural—and advancing knowledge and legal principles that reflects diverse perspectives.

Diversity and social justice programs

The Difference Engine: A Center for the Future of Equality at ASU

Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, in conjunction with The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, and W. P. Carey School of Business has launched a new initiative to help reduce inequality in the United States.

Visit The Difference Engine

First Amendment Clinic

The First Amendment Clinic embarked on a new project to help make information regarding potential police misconduct available to the public.

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Diversity Pipeline to Law

Two national law firms – Fennemore Craig and Ballard Spahr – have sponsored programs that provide additional scholarships to out-of-state diverse students and a pipeline to an associate attorney position at these firms.

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Public Interest Fellowship

Longtime Valley philanthropists Alison Lewis and Craig Krumwiede contributed $25,000 to fund Public Interest Fellowships, which provide students opportunities to work in nonprofit organizations focusing on social justice reform.

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Advance Program

The Advance Program is designed to help first-generation students, students of color, and students who have overcome adversity to succeed in law school and beyond.

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Academy for Justice

The Academy is dedicated to advancing criminal justice reform here in Arizona and across the nation. As part of this effort, the Academy created two new fellowships in summer 2020 for students working on criminal justice and police reform. The Academy hosts a number of conferences focused on criminal justice reform, including issues such as qualified immunity, police reform, and drug policy.

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Salt River Summer Indian Rights Fellowships

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community funded the Salt River Indian Rights Fellowship to allow students to work with tribes or non-profits championing Native American issues.

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ASU Law has added courses in Critical Race Theory, Civil Rights Litigation, and Intellectual Property and Race. The law school faculty also created a publicly available resource, titled “Incorporating Discussions of Race and Racism into Teaching,” that includes curated resources to help professors address race and discrimination in the classroom.

Community engagements

Native Vote Election Protection polling site

Native Vote Arizona

Native Americans were not allowed to vote in Arizona until 1948, when the Arizona Supreme Court overturned a long-standing ban on Indian voting. Arizona’s Native Americans continued to be excluded from the ballot until 1970, when English literacy tests were outlawed. Unfortunately, many Native peoples in Arizona continue to experience voting difficulties. The Native Vote Election Protection Project is a resource for Arizona’s tribal communities and tribal members, created to ensure access to the polls and to prevent voter disenfranchisement.

Native American Pathway to Law

This initiative is sponsored by the Indian Legal Program at ASU Law and the Indigenous Law Program at Michigan State University College of Law, with the support of the National Native American Bar Association, Native American Bar Association of Arizona, Office of Admissions at University of California, Berkeley School of Law, and American Indian Law Center, Inc. The program helps Native American pre-law students navigate the law school admissions process.

Pathway to Law

Arizona Legal Center logo

Arizona Legal Center

The Arizona Legal Center is a free, volunteer-supported, legal-aid center that helps Arizonans in need, including those affected by the pandemic. The ALC has tripled its call volumes since the pandemic began and created a page on COVID-19 legal resources for those in need. The ALC hosted nearly 20 paid interns over the past summer and supports a statewide network of attorneys who provide real-time answers to citizens affected by COVID-19.

Arizona Judicial Commission on Diversity, Equality, and Justice in the Judiciary

As part of the commission and diversity working group, ASU Law provides recommendations to help increase the diversity of the Arizona bench, including the creation of a summer judicial internship program for diverse undergraduate students and community colleges, as well as providing support for implementation.

Commission on Minorities logo

High School Pipeline to Law

ASU High School Pipeline Initiative

The Pipeline Initiative provides high school students an opportunity to participate in a law conference and moot court competitions. It also includes a two-week writing program, followed by a one-week paid internship with a judge, law firm, public interest agency or corporate legal department.

Law School Foundations Class

The Law School Foundations Class is designed for undergraduate students to help them better understand legal principals and the law school admissions process. The class will help students connect with law school administrators, students and lawyers. Diverse, first generation students and pre-law groups at ASU are encouraged to participate.

Law School Foundations Class

Student engagements

Class in Fall 2020

Listening and feedback sessions on current events and issues:

  • Ehsan Zaffar, who joined ASU Law in January 2021 as a professor of practice to lead The Difference Engine Center, hosted a “listening session” with students on issues of diversity and inclusion at ASU Law. Zaffar has held many of these sessions, including at Georgetown and USC Law.
  • Sessions with students on diversity and inclusion in October.
  • Community Conversations about “ASU law and the World Around us” for students to share ideas, give feedback and ask questions about ASU Law’s response to current events.
  • Community Conversations with law school leadership to share thoughts ideas and concerns.
  • Sessions on “Tolerance Means Dialogue: Religious Liberty” and the “Culture War Over LGBT Rights: Can University Students Make a Difference?”
  • Dean summer session with leadership of diverse student groups

Diversity Committee

ASU Law’s Diversity Task Force has been in place since 2018. The college is working to transition it to a more representative and permanent Diversity Committee that will make semi-annual recommendations and proposals to ensure ASU Law remains a diverse and inclusive institution.

Social life

Former ASU Law Dean Douglas Sylvester hosted or attended six dinners for incoming students of color to better introduce them to their peers, faculty, and alumni.

Racial diversity (faculty)

35%3314168674LGBTQ+NativeAmericanBlack /African AmericanHispanic /LatinxLGBTQ+Native AmericanBlack /African AmericanHispanic /Latinx20112021Female Faculty44%37%People of colorPeople of color14%AsianAsian

Racial diversity (student)

Student Diversity number 2021-2022