News Releases
October 03, 2011

Northeastern U. School of Law Wins 2011 Beacon Award for Diversity

Press Release

Amid an impressive field of entries, the Boston Bar Association today announced that the 2011 winner of the BBA’s prestigious Beacon Award for Diversity will be Northeastern University School of Law (NUSL). The Beacon Award recognizes exceptional leadership in creating a more diverse and inclusive legal profession that has had a significant impact in Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area. That award will be presented on the evening of November 16, 2011.

“We truly had a phenomenal pool of nominees,” said Julia Cosentino, Co-Chair of the 2011 Beacon Award Committee. “Over 50 organizations and individuals, all taking positive steps to promote diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. But Northeastern University School of Law’s efforts and its results really made it stand out as a change agent.”

Among the statistics that demonstrate Northeastern University School of Law’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. . .

  • 39% of the students in NUSL’s Class of 2014 are people of color. As reported to the ABA in fall 2010: NUSL’s faculty is 25% people of color and 56% women and our student body is 33% people of color and 60% women.
  • Nationally, students of color made up only 22.5% of law school matriculants in 2010, but 34% of matriculants at Northeastern self-identified as students of color in 2010.
  • Nationally, African-American or Black students made up only 7.2% of law school matriculants, but made up 12% of Northeastern students, the highest percentage of any law school in New England.
  • Nationally, women made up only 45.8% of law school matriculants in 2010, but women make up 60% of students in Northeastern’s first year class.
  • 12% of the Class of 2013 self-identified as LGBT (unfortunately there is no national data tracking this group’s enrollment).
  • Since the early 1970s, NUSL has attracted classes that are more than 50 percent women and has regularly enrolled classes with students of color constituting at least 25 percent.

NUSL has been recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in a number of ways . . . 

  • In March 2011, National Jurist Magazine and preLaw Magazine awarded NUSL an “A” on their diversity honor rolls, recognizing NUSL particularly for [having] “43% higher minority population than the state [MA].”
  • For the past several years NUSL has been awarded Diversity Outreach grants from the Law School Admissions Council in support of NUSL’s work to broaden the pipeline to a legal education for people historically underrepresented in the legal profession.
  • Each year NUSL sponsors and hosts a Youth & the Law Day, among other programming, aimed at encouraging urban Boston youth to pursue a legal education.

“The fact that Northeastern University School of Law fosters a culture of diversity and inclusion is itself impressive, as documented by the numbers,” said Wendell Taylor, Co-Chair of the 2011 Beacon Award Committee. “Even more impressive is the number of Northeastern University School of Law alums making a serious commitment to replicating that culture within their own professional venues.”

Among NUSL’s Boston area grads working on promoting diversity. . .
Ralph Martin, (former DA, now at NU)
Mo Cowan, (Governor’s Office)
Kathy Henry, (Choate Hall & Stewart)
Maura Healey, (MA AG’s Office)
Mary Bonauto, (GLAD)
Denise McWilliams (Aids Action)
Rachael Splaine Rollins (MA Dept. of Transportation)
April English, (MA AG’s Office)
Rashaan Hall, (Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights)
Lisa Bacon, (Commonwealth of Massachusetts)
Christina Miller, (Suffolk DA’s Office)

The BBA’s Beacon Award for Diversity was established in 2010, and the first Beacon Award was given to MassMutual.