Diversity & Inclusion at Oregon Law

2019 graduating class in their graduation gowns

Diversity & Inclusion at Oregon Law

Our Mission

Diversity is a crucial and invaluable component of the intellectual, educational, and social mission of our community. At Oregon Law, we believe that strengthening our efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion is critical to our overall efforts to achieve excellence as a competitive, world-class law school.

Our immediate aim is to foster a more inclusive learning and working environment for students, faculty, staff, and community partners—one that is successful, thriving, and more resilient because of its diversity. Our broader aim is to learn, teach, and practice the principles of equity and justice in all we do, helping to ensure that all people have the opportunity to grow, contribute, and develop.

Our Diversity Action Plan

The University of Oregon is located within the traditional homelands of the Southern Kalapuya. Following the Willamette Valley Treaty of 1855, Kalapuya people were forcibly removed to the Coast Reservation in Western Oregon. Today, descendants are citizens of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon and the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon.  Learn more about this native history on campus with the Many Nations Longhouse.


Meet Our Director for Diversity, Inclusion & Leadership Development 

“At Oregon Law, our aim is to foster a more inclusive learning and working environment for students, faculty, staff, and community partners—cultivating a community that is successful, thriving, and stronger because of its diversity.”

 –Chris Ruiz de Esparza

Chris Ruiz de Esparza smiling in front of fall foliage

We created this position in 2018 to aid in our commitment to create an inclusive environment. The director and entire law community helps ensure our graduates become leaders who are compassionate and dedicated to justice for all.


Rosa Parks tribute statue in Eugene, Oregon

Oregon Law Diversity and Inclusion Fund


Oregon Law is uniquely positioned with the tools, skills, and knowledge to shape and bend the arc towards justice. This fund, initiated by an alumnus from the 1982 JD class, will help ensure that our robust efforts to drive equitable change are resourced and sustained. Your gift will help us respond to the moment and movement by increasing our capacity to directly support students and the robust diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives already under way.


Give Today


Diversity-focused Curriculum

As a student at Oregon Law, you must take a diversity course in order to graduate.

Courses that fulfill the Diversity Requirement:

  • Civil Practice Clinic
  • Child Development and Law
  • Children and the Law
  • Contemporary Issues in American Indian Law
  • Domestic Violence Civil Clinic
  • Domestic Violence Protective Order Clinic
  • Domestic Violence Seminar
  • Gender and Justice
  • Human Rights and Environment
  • Immigration Law
  • Indian Law
  • International Law
  • Race, Gender, and Bias
  • Women and the Law
Explore the Course Catalog


Faculty Scholarship and Research in the areas of diversity, inclusion, and civil rights 

Oregon Law’s faculty are engaged in a wide variety of research and teach on topics that touch every day lives. Their work encompasses a wide range of fields including human rights, civil rights, international law, and criminal law.

Learn more about their valuable research, which focuses on themes of diversity and inclusion.

Faculty Research

UO undergraduate students smiling
LSAC Prelaw Undergraduate Scholars

The University of Oregon LSAC PLUS Program is designed to increase the number of lawyers from underrepresented groups by introducing first-and second-year college students to the skills important for law school success. 

LSAC PLUS at Oregon Law

Community Engagement

Throughout the year, Oregon Law hosts several events that are open to the public. These events are meant to engage members of the UO campus and community at-large as well as foster open discussions about topics surrounding diversity and inclusion.

Derrick Bell Lecture

The Derrick Bell Lecture Series is named after the first African-American Dean of the UO School of Law, Derrick Bell. Dean Bell’s tenure at Oregon Law began in 1980. During his time at the School of Law, his commitment to civil rights, race and law intersections were essential to ushering in a new era at Oregon Law. To honor his legacy, the School of Law partners with the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity, along with other campus departments to host the annual lecture series.

2020 Derrick Bell Lecture

Rennard Strickland Lecture

This annual fall lecture is named in honor of Rennard Strickland, the first Oregon Law dean of Osage and Cherokee heritage. He served from 1997 to 2002. A leading authority on Native American Law, he is considered a pioneer in introducing Indian law into university curriculum.

2019 Annual Rennard Strickland Lecture


Celebrating Our Students

Our goal is to develop students to their full potential, help them find their voice, and learn how to use that voice to advocate for justice, their clients and their cause. Students are also encouraged to be active participants in making Oregon Law a place where everyone can live, learn, and flourish.


black and white photo of Weston Koyama smiling
Making History, Changing Lives: Minoru Yasui Fellowship

As the first-ever Minoru Yasui Fellow, Weston Koyama (JD ‘19/Order of the Coif) spent his time at Oregon Law focused on using the law to overcome oppression specifically related to race and ethnicity.

 “I want future generations to know that no matter where you’re from or who you are, your destiny is up to you. That in a truly free society, we are in a place to fight whatever oppression may exist out there and reclaim our destiny for ourselves.”

Read Weston's Story

Student Affinity Groups

Student organizations play a critical role in providing our students with support, community, and advocacy.  Among these are several affinity groups representing the different diversity and cultural groups here at Oregon Law school.  These include: 

  • Asian Pacific American Law Student Association
  • Black Law Student Association
  • Jewish Law Student Association
  • Latinx Law Students Association
  • Native American Law Student Association
  • OUTLaws (LGBTQ+ law student group)
  • Women’s Law Forum


Resources for Diversity & Inclusion

We offer a variety of support services and strive every day to create an inclusive and culturally relevant law school community.

At Oregon Law, we adhere to the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) Diversity in Law School and Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) Information for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Applicants.

We are also supported by the broader campus efforts of the UO's Division of Equity and Inclusion.

Diversity & Inclusion Resources

Community Input

Submit a Suggestion

Report an Incident

At Oregon Law, we strive to engage with diverse points of view, see and hold multiple perspectives, and understand others from their perspective. We welcome specific feedback on what we can do to build a more inclusive environment that builds on each other’s perspectives, strengths, knowledge, and abilities to maximize our community’s potential.


When a violation of the University of Oregon Student Conduct Code, law school Honor Code or other policy or rule governing student conduct is alleged, or whenever a member of the law School Community believes such a violation has occurred, they are encouraged to submit an incident report.




Jeffrey Beaver
Photo Credit: Miller Nash Graham & Dunn “I’ve always tried to look for something greater than myself to be a part of, and the law has helped me do that.” -Jeffrey Beaver, JD '85
William K. Knight Law Center
In an ongoing effort to address structural inequalities and counteract institutionalized racism, several faculty at Oregon Law have been researching in the area of “access to justice.” During the 2019-20 academic year alone, law faculty published seven articles on topics related to access to justice, with at least eight more forthcoming in 2020-21.
Susan Gary
Susan Gary, professor emerita at the law school, recently created and helped obtain a grant that supports an estate planning program for the African American community in Portland. Through the nonprofit The Commons Law Center, the program will also serve as a pipeline to increase the number of African American estate planning lawyers in Oregon. 

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