Diversity & Inclusion
OSB and D&I Mission & Values
The mission of the Oregon State Bar is to serve justice by promoting respect for the rule of law, by improving the quality of legal services, and by increasing access to justice. The bar is committed to serving and valuing its diverse community, to advancing equality in the justice system, and to removing barriers to that system.
The Diversity & Inclusion Department serves the OSB's mission by striving to increase the diversity of the Oregon bench and bar to reflect the diversity of the people of Oregon, by educating attorneys about the cultural richness and diversity of the clients they serve, and by removing barriers to justice.
What is Diversity and Inclusion?
Why is it important?
Diversity and inclusion mean acknowledging, embracing and valuing the unique contributions our individual backgrounds make to strengthen our legal community, increase access to justice, and promote laws and creative solutions that better serve clients and communities. Diversity includes, but is not limited to: age; culture; disability; ethnicity; gender and gender identity or expression; geographic location; national origin; race; religion; sex; sexual orientation; veteran status; and socio-economic status. A diverse and inclusive bar is necessary to attract and retain talented employees and leaders; effectively serve diverse clients with diverse needs; understand and adapt to increasingly diverse local and global markets; devise creative solutions to complex problems; and improve access to justice, respect for the rule of law, and credibility of the legal profession.
Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Programs
D&I programs are open to individuals who can help advance the department’s mission. As such, students whose applications support an intent to practice law in Oregon will be given preference. However, the D&I Department encourages all law students who can advance the mission of the department and who might consider practicing law in Oregon to apply. Eligible students include those who 1) can contribute to the bar’s historically or currently underrepresented membership; 2) have experienced economic, social, or other barriers; 3) have experienced discrimination or oppression; 4) have a demonstrated commitment to increasing access to justice or can otherwise demonstrate a commitment to advancing the D&I Department’s mission.
Our department is working to evaluate the efficacy of our programs on an ongoing basis. As such, programing may change in order to address current student needs, improve efficiency, or better meet the D&I mission. The program descriptions below reflect current and past programs and may be subject to change in the future.
The Oregon State Bar is subject to the State Public Records Law. Public records are generally subject to public inspection through the Public Records Law which contains a number of exemptions including one for personal information. Should anyone seek to examine your application under the Public Records Law, the bar will invoke the personal privacy exemption except for the following information: your name, and your list of references and contacts if included in the application. The State Attorney General has authority to review the decisions of the state bar in this area and public records disputes can reach the courts. The bar reserves the right to respond as it deems appropriate to any requests to inspect D&I Department records, including your application. The state bar will abide by all final court decisions concerning the public records status of D&I records.
OJD/D&I JUDICIAL MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
Deadline – October 22, 2017
The Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Department, administers a yearly Judicial Mentorship Program in collaboration with the Oregon Judicial Department (OJD). The program provides support, advice, and connection to the legal community for diverse law students in Oregon. The program is open to all law students who can advance the department’s mission, as outlined above. Accordingly, while ethnic minority students are specifically encouraged to apply, the Judicial Mentorship Program is open to students of any race or ethnicity.
The deadline for the D&I Scholarship was April 1 2017.
Information regarding 2018 scholarships will be posted when available.
The D&I Department annually distributes ten scholarships ($2,000 per scholarship) for which entering and current Oregon law school students who intend to practice in Oregon are eligible. A subcommittee reviews all applications within the pool and determines awards according to evidence of the greatest financial need, the students’ qualifications to help further the program’s mission, and other considerations. The D&I Department distributes funds to successful applicants’ law school’s financial aid offices by semester - $1,000 per semester – and the funds do not extend beyond the award year. Interested students must re-apply every year and provide an annually updated Financial Assessment Record.
Eligibility and Specific Component Criteria
All law students are eligible to apply. Applicants must demonstrate financial need (complete Financial Assessment Record annually) and provide a Personal Statement and Oregon State Bar Statement which support their qualifications to advance the D&I Department mission. A resume including community activities is also required.
BAR EXAM GRANTS
This program is available to any graduating law student or graduate who can assist the D&I Department in advancing its mission.
The D&I Department awards three bar exam grants for the February exam, and six grants for the July exam, to those applicants whose personal experiences, accomplishments, commitment to practice law in Oregon, and financial need demonstrate that they will help the department achieve its mission.
Each grant award consists of a $800 stipend to be used for expense associated with preparing to take the bar exam (i.e. a bar exam prep course, child care, or living expenses while studying for the bar), as well as a reimbursement of $600 of the Admissions application fee.
The reimbursement portion of the grant award will be paid after the bar exam, once D&I staff has confirmed the grant recipient sat for the exam. The bar applicant is responsible for reimbursing a sponsor, if applicable, as well as any taxes associated with the award.
Eligibility and Specific Component Criteria
All graduating law students/graduates who can assist the D&I Department in advancing its mission are eligible and encouraged to apply. Financial need will be considered. Applicants must submit the Bar Exam Grant Application, Personal Statement, Law School Transcripts, and Letter of Support.
SUMMER STIPEND PROGRAMS
Deadline – January 8, 2018
Summer Stipend programs are available for law school students who will continue to be enrolled in law school in the fall term and who will help achieve the bar’s diversity mission. Student applications will be reviewed on the following criteria:
- Alignment with the D&I Department’s mission (25)
- Intent/willingness to practice in Oregon (25)
- Financial need (20)
- Personal statement (clarity, persuasiveness, technical writing ability) (15) Note: The personal statement may also contribute to an applicant’s scores in other categories, to the extent that it addresses those factors.
- Community activities/involvement, employment/volunteer history. (15)
Students selected to receive stipends will choose, depending on the type of summer employment opportunity they obtain, whether they wish to receive their stipend in the form of a Public Honors Fellowship or a Clerkship, as outlined below.
Public Honors Fellowship
The Public Honors Fellowship stipend allows continuing law students to explore summer legal opportunities with public employers and non-profit organizations in the state of Oregon. The Public Honors Fellowship award is $5,000, paid in three installments over the summer months. To qualify for the Public Honors Fellowship stipend, students must work for a public employer or 501(c)3 organization.
Work under the Clerkship Stipend program is not limited to public or non-profit employment. For students who receive a Clerkship Stipend, the D&I Department will contribute a $7.00 per hour stipend toward the student’s summer employment wages. Employers in the Clerkship Stipend Program must agree to at least match the $7.00 per hour stipend, for a total hourly wage of $14.00. The maximum award for a Clerkship Stipend (not including a Justice Across Oregon Stipend) is $3,360. The employer is responsible for paying the student’s wages for all hours worked regardless of whether the maximum stipend is reached.
Justice Across Oregon Programs
The Justice Across Oregon Stipend allows continuing law students to explore summer legal opportunities in less populated areas of the state. Summer Stipend recipients who accept positions in rural Oregon are eligible for an additional stipend to offset travel, housing, and other incidental costs associated with the summer employment. (In general, “rural Oregon” is considered to be anywhere along the Oregon coast, east of the Cascade Mountains, or south of, and including, Roseburg. Other areas of Oregon may be considered on a case-by-case basis, but are not guaranteed.) Rural employment can provide a new lens for viewing legal issues including workers’ rights, poverty, family law, immigration, and Indian Law.
Please read the 2018 Summer Stipend Handbook for more information and program requirements.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAW IN OREGON (OLIO)
OLIO is the Oregon State Bar’s recruitment and retention program for law students who can contribute to the bar’s historically or currently underrepresented membership; who have experienced economic, social, or other barriers; who have a demonstrated interest in increasing access to justice; or who have personally experienced discrimination or oppression.
This D&I program begins with a multi-day orientation during the first weekend of August (August 4-6) that provides a diverse group of Oregon’s first-year law students with the opportunity to interact with each other, and with upper division students, judges and leaders who will serve as their mentors and role models. The orientation curriculum focuses on sharpening existing skills and providing new skills to help ensure success in law school and beyond. Students receive valuable information on networking, study skills and Oregon bar exam preparation.
The orientation is free for all participating students. Bus transportation to and from the law schools, hotel accommodations, and major meals will be provided. Students should expect to pay only for incidental charges they, themselves, incur during the weekend.
OLIO participants and other interested students also have opportunities to reconnect at several events throughout the year, including a bowling networking event (BOWLIO), an employment retreat and a spring social.
Upper division law students (known as “THUDS,” or The Helpful Upper Division Students) committed to the OLIO objectives and the D&I Department mission are invited to apply to be student mentors, and help OSB with the workshops and activities of the OLIO orientation. These students reside with the entering law students during the orientation, and often continue their mentor relationships throughout the academic year.
Eligibility and Specific Component Criteria
Entering law students who can contribute to the bar’s historically or currently underrepresented membership; who have experienced economic, social, or other barriers; who have a demonstrated interest in increasing access to justice; or who have personally experienced discrimination or oppression, may apply. Completed Interest Forms should be submitted to D&I staff by email or fax.
UPPER DIVISION STUDENTS:
Upper division law students who are committed to advancing OLIO objectives and the D&I Department mission may submit an application to be an upper division mentor. Completed “THUD” (the helpful upper division) Applications should be submitted to D&I staff by email or fax.
The LSAT Scholarship deadline was March 15 2017.
Information regarding 2018 LSAT Scholarships will be posted when available.
D&I is pleased to offer up to a maximum of six scholarships for LSAT preparation courses, one of which is being funded in part by the Oregon State Lottery and will go to an undergraduate student from a public Oregon university, to any law school applicant attending college in the state of Oregon, or with significant ties to the state of Oregon, who can assist D&I with advancing its mission.
Applicants must be able to commit to a rigorous study schedule. The LSAT course is an 81-hour full-length live online course, offered by PowerScore. The course includes 36 hours of live online lecture taught by a 99th percentile instructor. Also included are 45 hours of online teaching sessions, official practice LSAT exam questions, an extensive online resource center, and personal student support. Generally, classes will span 6-8 weeks, 3 hours per lesson, 2 times per week.
Eligibility and Specific Component Criteria
Any law school applicant attending college in the state of Oregon, or any law school applicant with significant ties to the state of Oregon, who can help the D&I Department advance its mission is eligible to apply. Applicants must demonstrate financial need and provide a Personal Statement and an Oregon State Bar Statement with their completed application materials.