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SURVEY: Most Law Schools Have Gay-Friendly Policies

NEWTOWN, PA (November 1, 2001) A new survey conducted by the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) indicates that most U.S. law schools are actively fostering gay-friendly environments on their campuses and in their classrooms.

According to the survey, 100 percent of the 168 law schools that participated in the survey report having policies that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The survey also revealed that 115 of the participating law schools (68 percent) have at least one openly gay faculty member; 127 law schools (76 percent) have active lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered student organizations; 87 law schools (52 percent) offer courses specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered issues; and 64 law schools (38 percent) offer domestic partnership benefits to faculty, staff, or students.

"These numbers are encouraging," said Alex M. Johnson, LSAC Chair and Vice Provost for Faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law. "For the many thousands of people involved in legal education who have pushed, prodded, encouraged, and demanded equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons at our law schools this represents real progress. While much work still needs to be done, it is clear that the legal education community is moving in the right direction."

The survey was issued as part of a newly revised brochure produced by the LSAC that encourages lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered persons to apply to law school. The brochure underscores the importance that lawyers have played in the social and legal recognition of the rights of gay people. It also provides guidance for applicants in choosing a law school and offers advice on whether to come out in an application.

An online version of the brochure that includes additional detailed survey information not available in the print version can be found at www.LSAC.org/LGBT. While not all law schools provided additional data, many have furnished information that includes:

  • actual text of anti-discrimination policies;
  • specific course titles and descriptions relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered legal issues;
  • name and contact information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered student organizations;
  • more information about openly gay faculty members;
  • specifics about domestic partnership benefits.

"The online data provides unprecedented access to detailed information about law school policies pertaining to gay students and faculty," said Beth Kransberger, chair of the LSAC subcommittee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues and Assistant Dean for Admissions and Financial Aid at the University of Wisconsin Law School. "It is an invaluable tool for anyone applying to law school who is concerned about issues relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered people."

The LSAC, a nonprofit organization whose members are the 184 ABA-approved law schools and 15 Canadian law schools, has been active in the effort to make law schools more welcoming to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered applicants. In addition to the brochure described in this press release, LSAC also offers OUTlooks, a 30-minute video that looks candidly at issues facing the gay or lesbian law school candidate.


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