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NIU Law named a Top 30 Law School for African American Students

June 8, 2020
Members of the Black Law Students Association

Northern Illinois University College of Law was named as one of the top 30 law schools in the nation for African American students by preLaw magazine. As part of its Winter 2020 issue on Best Law Schools for Diversity, preLaw assessed student enrollment, faculty and student services. The NIU College of Law was one of only 3 Illinois-based law schools to be selected by the publication.

Long committed to its core values of diversity, public service, engagement and access, NIU Law has often been recognized for having a student body and faculty reflective of broader society.   “A pillar of our mission statement is to maintain and increase the diversity of our student body and faculty.  I am very proud that our commitment to our mission has resulted in being recognized as one of the top law schools for African American students,” said Interim Dean Laurel Rigertas.

Represented by a 23 percent minority student body and 36 percent people of color tenured or tenured-track faculty, the College of Law has received a number of diversity honors over the years from the U.S. News and World Report, Princeton Review, Lawyers of Color and the Council on Legal Education, among others.

One of our bedrock values is having an inclusive and diverse community. Established in 2015, the Embracing Diversity Scholarship provides financial support for rising second- and third-year students who create, manage, and oversee a series of talks and community conversations addressing issues of socio-economic diversity.

“I am very thankful for the Embracing Diversity Scholarship,” said 2019 alumnus and former Black Law Students Association President Alonte Holiday.” In addition to the financial support, the series gave me the opportunity to use my passion for helping the less fortunate by inspiring change in my classmates and other faculty members.”

Also a staple at the College of Law is the annual Minority Reception which was initiated and co-hosted by The Honorable Vincent Cornelius (’89). Judge Cornelius served as the first African American President of the Illinois State Bar Association from 2016-17 in its then 140-year history. Celebrating seventeen years, this year’s reception honored distinguished alumni including former Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson (’14), The Honorable Rouhy Shalabi (’81), and The Honorable Sheree Henry (‘94).