Southwestern is committed to increasing access to quality legal education. Southwestern hosts an annual Diversity Day event where LGBTQ+ students can connect with professors and current students, and members of our on-campus LGBTQ+ student organization. We have scholarships specifically for our LGBTQ+ students, and we also send staff and students to the Lavender Law Conference and the LSAC LGBTQIA Equality Conference.
There is an optional LGBTQ+ identity question on the application form. Applicants are also invited to submit an optional diversity statement where they can share their sexual orientation or gender identity.
– Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Law Students Association Scholarship Fund: A fund was established by this Southwestern student organization to provide scholarships for deserving gay, lesbian and bisexual students at the law school.
– Robyn Mellender Memorial Scholarship Fund: This fund was established in memory of Robyn Mellender ’04 and provides assistance to LGBT students at Southwestern.
– Daniel Aragon Memorial Scholarship Fund: Established by Daniel Aragon ’97 to support continuing students with financial need who are active members of the Gay and Lesbian Association at Southwestern.
Southwestern Law School’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is part of its long standing mission. Recruitment efforts for staff including advertising on several platforms in an effort to reach a diverse pool of qualified applicants. Platforms include LinkedIn, Simplicity, ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and various listservs.
Southwestern has been committed to academic diversity since its founding in 1911. Our commitment to diversity in faculty, students and staff remains a top priority for us today. With respect to faculty, we have taken special care to note all diversity resumes that have been submitted through formal channels, such as the AALS process, or placement bulletins. But we have also recruited through more informal channels. We have called on individual faculty members to reach out to members of federal, state, and local bar associations who come from historically underrepresented communities and show promise as law teachers, and encourage them to apply for faculty positions.
Yes, comprehensive medical coverage is offered to all employees and their partners equally, regardless of LGBTQ+ status.
From our health-care/insurance provider:
Aetna complies with applicable federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex. Aetna does not exclude people or treat them differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
Here is the policy from our health-care insurance provider:
Aetna does offer transition-related benefits for transgender/transitioning employees.
Please see the policy here: http://www.aetna.com/cpb/medical/data/600_699/0615.html
Yes, all Southwestern students have access to counseling and/or psychological services.
Southwestern provides students with the counseling services of HelpNet, a private consulting firm that can refer students to counseling services and community resources for problems involving relationships, academic stress, family, financial and legal circumstances, substance abuse and other concerns. Students are entitled to two free counseling sessions each year (July 1 through June 30).
All the counselors in HelpNet’s network have been carefully screened for professional licensing and credentials.
Psychotherapist Daria Spino is also available to assist students on campus several days per week. Students are entitled to up to three, 50-minute sessions per semester, where they will receive one-on-one guidance.
There is a Gender Neutral sign on designated restrooms.
Women and the Law Seminar; Race and the Law Seminar; Critical Race Theory Seminar; Criminal Law Seminar: Sex Crimes; Law and Literature Seminar
Through our Dean of Students and Diversity Affairs’ Office, Career Services Office, and Student Affairs Office, we have funded students and staff to travel to attend the Lavender Law Conference, as well as the LSAC LGBTQIA Equality Conference.
Yes, optional for all students
Yes, we have a Diversity & Inclusion committee that is comprised of faculty, staff, and students that puts together programs and leads discussions to address these issues.
Participation in the programs/events are optional for all staff, students, and faculty.
The Diversity and Inclusion Committee has a portal page where students, staff, and faculty can access videos and articles, including on gender identity issues, and sends out a monthly newsletter to students that highlights a diversity-related topic and offers educational material to students. These newsletters have included a focus on transgender violence, for example. In addition, the school launched an extensive survey of the student body on inclusivity issues last year and is reviewing the results to identify areas of need.
Additionally, The Dean’s Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging was established to address important issues related to the diversity and inclusiveness of our community. The Dean’s Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging has four subcommittees (Training, Programming, Grievance, and Curriculum) comprised of faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The Dean’s Task Force has provided a unique opportunity for all subsections of our community to come to the table to discuss critical issues, those that relate to our sense of belonging, and put into action ways to make positive changes so that all community members feel valued and included at Southwestern.
At Southwestern, it is our mission to foster diversity and inclusion. We take pride in our vibrant community of students, staff, and faculty from all walks of life, and we strive to be as supportive as possible to our LGBTQ+ community.
Here are all the additional ways our law school provides a welcoming, safe and inclusive learning environment to our LGBTQ+ community :
As a show of support to our LGBTQ+ students and faculty, we have designed our own pride month school logo.
Our LGBTQ+ student group, OUTLaw is active on campus and supported by Professor John Heilman, a City Council Member and former 8-time Mayor of West Hollywood. (You can check out our Q&A with Professor Heilman for Pride Month here: https://www.swlaw.edu/swlawblog/201806/qa-professor-john-heilman-pride-month)
The group’s current faculty advisor is Professor Bryce Woolley, a member of The Williams Institute’s L.A. Leadership Council. The Williams Institute conducts independent research on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy
(Watch our Q&A with Professor Woolley for Pride Month here: https://www.swlaw.edu/swlawblog/201906/qa-professor-bryce-woolley-pride-month)
In 2020, we also did a Q&A with Professor Isabelle Gunning who served on the Executive Committee of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Gay & Lesbian Issues. (https://www.swlaw.edu/swlawblog/202006/pride-month-qa-professor-isabelle-gunning)
Just this year, our Student Bar Association started their SBA Social Justice Safe Space Series. In this monthly conversation series sponsored by our affinity groups including our LGBTQ+ student group OUTLaw, guest lecturers are invited to help lead discussions on issues such as discrimination, racism, and disenfranchisement, as it relates to the legal profession.
We have a whole week dedicated to Diversity in which our LGBTQ+ students are celebrated as part of our larger community.
We have a Diversity and Inclusion Committee that is comprised of faculty, staff, AND students.
Additionally, Southwestern began the Dean’s Task Force for Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging to move our campus toward being as open and inclusive as possible and to help maintain an environment conducive to learning from one another, sharing experiences, and promoting justice.
Southwestern Law School has been recognized for our commitment to diversity and has received the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity for seven years. This award was presented to Southwestern based on the law school’s exemplary diversity and inclusion initiatives, and ability to embrace a broad definition of diversity on campus, including gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community. This is one of many awards in recognition for our commitment to diversity. Most recently, Southwestern was recognized by preLaw Magazine as one of the Top Ten Most Diverse Law Schools in 2020 with a grade of A+. You can find more here: https://www.swlaw.edu/student-life/diversity
There is 24/7 security on campus to make sure all of our students feel safe on campus.