The Diversity Imperative Revisited: Racial and Gender Inclusion in Clinical Law Faculty
Law Review Article
diverse campus environment, faculty diversity
The demographics of clinical law faculties matter. As Professor Jon Dubin persuasively argued nearly twenty years ago in his article Faculty Diversity as a Clinical Legal Education Imperative, clinical faculty of color entering the legal academy in the 1980s and 1990s expanded the communities served by law school clinics and the lawyering methods used to serve clients in significant ways that enriched legal education and the profession. They also broadened clinical scholarship to include deconstructions and reconstructions of clinical teaching, offered crucial role modeling and mentorship to students of color, and helped to elevate cross-cultural communication and multiracial collaboration as core lawyering skills.
The Clinical Legal Education Association (CLEA) created the Committee for Faculty Equity and Inclusion to draw attention to the crisis of diversity among clinical faculties, and to urge law schools to take proactive steps to remedy this longstanding failure. This Essay assesses what progress has been made since Professor Dubin's intervention and interrogates historical trends in the racial and gender composition of clinical faculty from 1980 to 2017, using existing data. We had hoped to analyze data on diversity beyond race and binary gender and at the intersection of various identities, but existing data only allow us to draw conclusions about limited racial categories and binary gender representation. And although Professor Dubin focused on race, we include data on gender as a point of comparison for historical trends in another important area of equity and inclusion.