Future JD Students

 Diversity in Law School

The Law School Experience Questions

Classroom Climate and Academic Programming Questions

  • Is an LGBT-specific course offered consistently from year to year? If not, why not?
  • Are LGBT-specific issues addressed in non-LGBT specific courses, such as Constitutional Law, Family Law, or Torts?
  • How respectful are the faculty and other students when LGBT issues are raised in the classroom? Do LGBT students feel free to raise these issues in class?
  • Are LGBT persons or issues represented in any faculty-sponsored workshops or by speakers invited to campus?
  • Do faculty research and write about LGBT issues? (This information should be included in faculty profiles on the school's website.)
  • Are there internships, externships, or clinical programs specific to LGBT-related law practice?

Student Organizations and Activities Questions

  • How supportive are faculty of the LGBT student organization and its activities? For example, is there a faculty advisor, or do faculty informally support or attend LGBT-sponsored activities?
  • How often does the LGBT student organization meet, formally or informally? What kinds of activities does it organize? Does it ever cosponsor activities with other student groups?
  • Do LGBT students feel supported, or is a lack of organized activity due to fear of discrimination or simply due to lack of time or interest?
  • Is there a university-wide organization that is open to LGBT law students?

NOTE: An inactive student organization does not necessarily mean that a school is not LGBT-friendly or that LGBT students do not feel supported by the school. Ironically, students at some of the most LGBT-friendly schools may be less active in these organizations because they feel less of a need to join an organization for support. The degree of student activity depends heavily on student leadership, which changes from year to year. Organizations may be incredibly active one year but may not plan any events the next year simply because the student leaders that year are too busy with other things or are less engaged.

Other Institutional Support

  • Does the school publicize its nondiscrimination policy, and does it include sexual orientation?
  • Have there been any incidents involving discrimination or offensive remarks made about LGBT persons? If so, how promptly were these incidents addressed? Does the school have an official plan or policies for handling such incidents?
  • Does the school have a dedicated scholarship or grant for students pursuing LGBT-related legal work?
  • Do current LGBT students feel supported by the administration—especially by the dean of students, dean of career services, and other officials who interact with students on a regular basis?
  • Are there gender-neutral bathrooms where transgender students feel comfortable?
  • Does the school offer domestic-partnership benefits?
  • Does the school's insurance plan cover transgender transition expenses?

Career Planning

  • Do LGBT students feel comfortable raising their concerns with career services?
  • Does the career services office sponsor workshops or informational sessions to address concerns unique to LGBT students?
  • What does the career services office do, if anything, to help students identify LGBT-friendly law firms or other employers?
  • Are there volunteer or public-interest opportunities for LGBT-related work?
  • Is there an active and engaged LGBT alumni association?
  • Does the career services office or dean of students publicize external sources of support, such as the Lavender Law Conference or local LGBT bar events? (See Resources for more information about these organizations and other career planning resources.)

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