Kellye Y, Testy, Best Practices for Hiring and Retaining a Diverse Law Faculty, 96 Iowa L. Rev. 1707 (2011), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/335
Iowa Law Review
As with all institutions, the history, character, identity, and accomplishments of each law school are the direct result of its people and their acts. For that simple reason, diversity is critical; it goes to the very core of what the institution is and what it does. With legal institutions, in particular, diversity plays a critical role in shaping the perception of the institution held by persons outside of it. In order for our system of law to function as the bedrock of our democratic society that it aims to be, legal institutions must be perceived as fair and just. If the composition of our legal institutions does not mirror society that perception of fairness and justice will diminish, and our system of justice will be undermined.
Legal educators have gradually come to understand the critical role of diversity in the legal profession and the academy more specifically. While far from ideal, progress has nonetheless been significant. For instance, the
legal academy's scholarly organization, the Association of American Law Schools ("AALS"), insists upon a commitment to diversity as part of its membership criteria. In addition to the work of AALS, there are many other organizations and individuals who work tirelessly to improve diversity in legal education, including the Society of American Law Teachers ("SALT") and the Law School Admission Council ("LSAC"). Many schools have made significant strides in diversity and serve as beacons of hope and change for others, and
many individual faculty members weathered extraordinarily trying circumstances to be the early movers in the quest for equality and diversity in law schools.
This progress makes it possible to step back and evaluate the conditions and steps that have made hiring and retaining a diverse faculty more likely to be successful. The goal of this Essay is to draw upon those experiences in order to create a succinct set of best practices in hiring and retaining a diverse faculty that may then be used in continuing efforts to achieve excellence in legal education.