RWU Law is proud to have an institutional climate that is LGBT friendly. From openly gay faculty and staff, to active involvement in LGBT programs around the country (Assistant Dean Michael Boylen chairs the LSAC LGBT Subcommittee), to a large, and active student group, the Alliance, we are dedicated to this important aspect of diversity in word and deed. And this commitment is borne out by our perfect score in an empirical comparison of law schools developed by the Law School Admission Council.
The most recent manifestation of this institutional commitment was the role of RWU folks at Lavender Law, the national gathering for gay lawyers, held this year in Miami. As the picture below shows, we were well represented, but I am especially proud of the role played by Erin Wright, the Assistant Director of our crackerjack Office of Career Services. Below are Erin’s recollections:
Clockwise starting at lower left: Justin Pruett, Michael Boylen, John Master, Jared Arader (hidden), Eric Hall, Erin Wright, Adam Riser, Pete Eraca.
I was very fortunate to attend the 2010 Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference in Miami. The Conference allowed law school candidates and roughly 150 recruiters to come together to achieve a sense of community and inclusion for LGBT candidates within the legal profession's recruiting efforts. The Conference is comprised of panel presentations, workshops, a career fair, and individual career counseling sessions. In both my capacity as Assistant Director of the Office of Career Services and as a volunteer through the GLBT Section of The National Association for Law Placement, I was able to take advantage of this amazing opportunity.
Through my experience at this Conference, the most impactful aspect occurred on the first day, while I was responsible for supervising the Individual Career Counseling program. Over 15 legal professionals met with 60 students in one-on-one counseling sessions concurrent to the career fair. The other volunteers and I were able to counsel students from across the country regarding such compelling matters as whether to come out on a resume and how to make the most of the unique opportunity the Lavender Law Career Fair presented. The message that I took from my counseling sessions was how incredibly important it is for LGBT students to attend a supportive law school.
Some of the students I counseled attend law schools that are not LGBT-friendly and, as such, do not offer the full range of support necessary, both within the job search process and in general student life. Targeted support is critical for LGBT students confronting life-altering decisions during law school, which in and of itself is a very stressful and challenging time. The decision to come out during the law school application process, and later, as part of the job search, is an incredibly personal one that is dependent on many factors, but when choosing a school or an employer, I believe the important question to be asking is – Do I want to be part of an organization that does not support diversity, and specifically, LGBT individuals? I feel honored, in light of this realization, to have been selected to run the career counseling program which, for at least a period of time, offers students the guidance they so desperately need. These counseling sessions combined with the great programs offered through the Lavender Law Career Fair and Conference provide a bridge of support from year to year for students and practitioners alike!