Diversity at Southwestern

Maintaining a commitment to its rich legacy of multiculturalism and access, Southwestern is one of the most diverse law schools in the country. There is a strong sense of community among the students who come to Southwestern from virtually every state and a dozen foreign countries. In recent years, Southwestern’s enrollment has included the first- or second-highest representation of African-American students and Latino/Hispanic students of any California law school.

In the most recent entering class:

  • women = 56%
  • minorities = 52%
  • students proficient in 20+ foreign languages
  • average age = 26 (ranging from 21 to over 50)
  • students from 94 undergraduate schools, 62% of those out of state

"Southwestern's diversity really defines the law school. When you are living and working in a place as eclectic as L.A., you have to be capable of understanding the worldviews of the people around you. Everyone at Southwestern offers something different, and it makes for a balanced and transformative legal education."

~ Benjamin Tragish, 3L Full-Time Day Program

At Southwestern, we truly value diversity, and we have the trailblazers, the student community and the external recognition to prove it. The law school has received numerous awards for its emphasis on diversity from a variety of organizations. Among the most recent are:

  • First Place in the Law School Admission Council's 2017 Diversity Matters Award
  • California State Bar Organizational Diversity Award - only law school to receive the honor
  • Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity - only law school to receive the award all four years
  • Top 25 Law Schools by Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education - for Hispanic enrollment and degrees awarded
  • National Jurist “Diversity Honor Roll” - #11 on the list of the most diverse law schools in the country
  • California Minority Counsel Law School Racial and Ethnic Diversity Award
  • Many scholarships targeted to minority and LGBT students

"Southwestern's commitment to diversity is very important to me. Being in an environment where people have different views enables you to be more aware of how the people on the other side of the table feel, and helps you become a better person."

~ Manolo Maddela, 4L Evening Program

Diversity Pipeline Initiatives

Southwestern is involved in various Diversity Pipeline initiatives in California and beyond to encourage youth from underrepresented communities to pursue careers in the law. These include the Legal Education Action Program (LEAP) with the Hispanic National Bar Association's Legal Education Fund, the Southern California Legal Diversity Pipeline Coalition, the Los Angeles County Bar Association Diversity Summit, Wingspread, and the California State Bar efforts to ensure that those at each level within the pipeline are being sufficiently identified, trained and mentored.

The law school has also developed Pipeline programs in partnership with the Los Angeles Public Defender's Office, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Constitutional Rights Foundation, among other entities.

DiscoverLaw logo

Southwestern also works with DiscoverLaw.org, a Law School Admissions Council initiative, to organize events geared toward high-school, community-college, and undergraduate students, introducing them to the legal profession.

Past DiscoverLaw.org events have included:

Future Jurists Project: The Transformative Power of a Legal Education

Southwestern Law School and law students from Santa Clara University School of Law hosted a collaborative pipeline-to-law school event at San Jose City College to discuss the transformative power of a legal education. Law student panelists shared personal stories about their path toward legal education, life as a law student, tips on achieving success in law school, and thoughts on the importance of legal literacy within our society. Presented by Southwestern Law School’s Future Jurist Project and SCU Law La Raza Law Student Association; in conjunction with the Law School Admission Council's DiscoverLaw.org Months initiatives. 

Future Jurists Project: Breaking Down Inchoate Crimes

Southwestern Law School visited USC Hybrid High College Prep in Los Angeles, CA, to discuss the relevance of inchoate crimes in the lives of today’s youth. Members of the Black Law Students Association reviewed solicitation, conspiracy, and attempt, with the objective of provoking a deeper understanding of how the commission of a crime can occur before completion of the target offense. Through a mock law class format, high school students got a unique glimpse into the issues, rules, and intellectual exchanges that define the law school classroom experience. Presented by Southwestern Law School’s Future Jurist Project, the Black Law Students Association, and in conjunction with the Law School Admission Council's DiscoverLaw.org Months initiatives.

Future Jurists Project: A Primer to Law School for West Adams Prep High School

High school students from West Adams Preparatory in Los Angeles, CA, visited Southwestern Law School for an afternoon pre-law program comprised of a mock law class and campus tour. This primer to law school provides local youth a glimpse into the law student experience. Through classroom activities, challenging discussions with law faculty, and meaningful interactions with representatives from diverse student organizations, high school youth gain a deeper understanding of the dynamic learning environment within law schools.

Law Day for Youth with El Camino High School

Students from El Camino High School located in Long Beach, CA, visited Southwestern Law School to deepen their understanding of the path to law school and the legal profession. The day began with opening remarks by Southwestern’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs, followed by a law-professor-led mock law class, and capped with a lunch hosted by Southwestern students and alums. Motivating the next generation of attorneys, judges, and professors starts with helping our local youth visualize themselves within today’s institutions of higher learning. The Law Day for Youth program is centered on this objective.

Insights into the Path to Law School

​Students from Southwestern Law School hosted a panel discussion on the the path to law school, life as a law student, and careers in law at West Adams Preparatory High School in Los Angeles. During this activity, local youth gain insight into the diverse range of motivations that drive pursuit of a legal education, and the multitude of experiences defining the lives of burgeoning jurists.