AALAA Applauds 19 African-American Grads in Class of 2012
Capital University Law School graduated its largest number of African-American students at this May’s commencement.
The Law School conferred degrees to 19 African-American students at the May 20 ceremony, out of a total 171 juris doctor degrees. Commencement was held at the Ohio Theatre.
Capital University Law School’s long history of providing access to a legal education for underserved populations dates back to its founding by the YMCA in 1903. The school’s first African-American graduate, David D. White, graduated in 1931. He became the first African-American licensed to practice law in Columbus.
“Diversity in the legal profession serves many purposes, including a greater confidence in the rule of law, a stronger belief in the fairness of the judicial system, stronger cultural competence among practitioners, and a stronger likelihood of legal services being available to underserved communities,” said Darren Nealy, Director of Multicultural Affairs. “Recent data has shown that racial minorities make up less than 15 percent of all attorneys, even though they represent more than 27 percent of the general population. Moreover, racial minorities make up fewer than 3 percent of partners in law firms.”
Nealy said there are a variety of factors that can be attributed to this larger number of African-American graduates.
“Years ago, the Office of Admissions did a great job of bringing in a strong and diverse group of students. While the students were engaged in the law school process, they received support from a variety of resources,” Nealy said.
Internally, the school provided support through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, African-American Law Alumni Association, professors, administrators and other resources. Externally, support came from the John Mercer Langston Bar Association, Columbus Bar Association, and a variety of public- and private-sector employers, Nealy said.
Lindsay Ellis, president of the Law School’s African-American Law Alumni Association, said this record number of graduates is a source of optimism for the future.
“The AALAA is extremely proud of this achievement,” she said.