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Making Fordham Law Welcoming and Inclusive

Clinic students

Too many students of color do not feel embraced and supported by Fordham Law. We are renewing and deepening our commitment to ensuring that students of color are welcomed into our community and are fully supported. In addition to delivering on the promises outlined below, we will continue to explore and implement additional means of moving Fordham Law beyond the structural racism that has impacted the experiences of students of color as well as of staff and faculty.

Action Items and Status


Create Anti-Racism Book Groups

  • Launched book groups for faculty and staff that meet regularly to explore themes around discrimination, structural racism, and implicit bias. 

Library Fellow

Established the new Dean’s Student Advisory Council on Diversity

  • Convened a Dean’s Student Advisory Council on Diversity for the second year in fall 2021. The council is composed of a cross-section of students who meet regularly with the dean to identify concerns around diversity-related issues and implement change.

Continue to Hold Dialogue Days

  • Launched an ongoing series of Fordham Dialogue Days—programs that challenge all members of Fordham Law to engage in open discussion together and in small groups on social justice issues.

Expand Diversity Training for Faculty and Staff

  • Embraced a report prepared by the Faculty DEI Committee that recommended faculty incorporate racial context and implications in their teaching by creating faculty workshops focusing on issues of race and inclusion.

  • Continuing to hold DEI Faculty Workshops, organized by the Teaching Committee, to help professors implement updates to their courses. Workshop topics include:

    • “Incorporating DEI in the Curriculum,” with Teri McMurtry-Chubb (March 23, 2022)

    • “Critical Race Theory in the Classroom” with Tanya Hernandez and Ethan Leib (Feb. 22, 2022)

    • “Race, Ethnicity and Gender in the Curriculum and Classroom,” with Susan Block-Lieb, Caroline Gentile and Thomas Lee (Nov. 16, 2021)

    • “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Classroom: Sharing Faculty Experiences,” with Jennifer Gordon and Aaron Saiger (Oct. 25, 2021)

  • Expanded training on diversity, equity, and inclusion for all full-time faculty, beginning in December 2020. Training is ongoing. 

  • Expanded mandatory annual training of adjunct faculty to include issues of anti-racism, unconscious-bias awareness, and cultural competence To date, over 140 adjunct faculty have undergone training sessions, and these will continue. 

  • Continuing to offer mandatory training for staff to provide diversity, equity, and inclusion education to ensure greater sensitivity to the needs and perspectives of students of color, as well as create opportunities for staff to participate in discussions surrounding anti-racism and issues relating to social justice.

Update Grading Practices

  • Instituted blind grading in first-year legal writing courses after the initial assignment to eliminate the potential for implicit bias This conforms with the approach the Law School takes with other first-year courses. 

Analyze Racial Climate Study Findings and Move Strategic Plan Process Forward 

  • Invited all students, faculty, staff, and alumni to participate in a climate study to assess the culture and racial climate at Fordham Law School. The study results were shared through virtual events and via LawNET and will inform the next phase of our action plan/help us prioritize our efforts.

  • Formed a DEI Strategic Planning Committee, composed of faculty, administrators, and students, to create a strategic plan to make the Law School more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. They are focusing on four areas:

    • Faculty recruitment, retention, and development; 

    • Student recruitment, retention, and development; and

    • Curriculum reform and accountability; and

    • Opportunity structures for students (e.g., moot court, clerkships, etc.)

  • Engaging in conversations with the Law School community, including faculty, students, and the Alumni Association Board, to obtain their feedback.

Strengthen Anti-Racism Programming

  • Centered spring 1L orientation on anti-racism and DEI issues within law school and the legal profession. The new program was launched in January 2021, and continued in January 2022. This programming was offered ahead of an ABA requirement established in February 2022 that all law schools provide similar anti-bias programming.

  • Added a racial equity inclusion program to the fall 1L semester House experiences. 

  • Hosted DEI workshops for student organizations, including journals and competition teams.

In Progress

Weave Issues of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Identity into the Curriculum Design

  • Partnered with a DEI expert to collaborate with the faculty in incorporating DEI material, especially those pertaining to race and gender, within the courses offered in the core curriculum.


Increasing Diversity

Addressing Systemic Racism