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An agent of change

Photo by Mary Knox Merrill.

Northeastern University’s School of Law has been named the 2011 winner of the Boston Bar Association’s (BBA) prestigious Beacon Award for Diversity. The honor recognizes exceptional leadership in creating greater diversity and inclusion in the legal profession in Massachusetts.

“Diversity — in all of its forms — is critical to ensuring a fair and just legal system,” said Emily Spieler, dean of the School of Law. “We are thrilled that the Boston Bar Association has recognized Northeastern for our leadership in an area that is truly a core value for us.”

The School of Law will formally receive the award at a ceremony on Nov. 16.

The BBA lauded the law school for its commitment to diversity and inclusion in both the faculty and student body. Thirty-nine percent of the Class of 2014, for example, are students of color. Twenty-five percent of faculty members are people of color and 56 percent are women.

In March, National Jurist Magazine and preLaw Magazine awarded the School of Law an “A” on their diversity honor rolls. The law school, the BBA noted, annually sponsors and hosts a Youth & the Law Day aimed at encouraging urban youth to pursue a legal education.

BBA also took note of the many Northeastern alumni who are replicating this inclusive culture and promoting diversity in their careers at the state level, for nonprofit organizations and in the private sector in Massachusetts. 

“We truly had a phenomenal pool of nominees,” said Julia Cosentino, cochair of the 2011 Beacon Award Committee. “Over 50 organizations and individuals all took 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.”