Minnesota Law

Spring 2022
From The Dean

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Are Foundational to Our Mission

Garry W. Jenkins, Dean and William S. Pattee Professsor of Law

During the summer of 2020 I wrote to our Law School community that “broader justice for Black Americans, for all people of color, for other marginalized groups, for the America of our highest ideals, depends on all of us, working collaboratively, to change institutions and practices so that equity and equality are fully realized.”

Since then, Minnesota Law, as a leading U.S. law school, has further strengthened its resolve to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning community and taken additional concrete steps to advance racial justice and opportunity. Diversity, equity, and belonging are foundational to our core mission of providing an exceptional legal education to tomorrow’s lawyer-leaders, supporting the pathbreaking scholarship of our world- class faculty, and creating lasting impact through community outreach and connections.

As you read in our fall 2021 issue, this academic year Minnesota Law welcomed our most diverse and our second-most academically accomplished class in our nearly 135-year history. While we won’t set new records every year, we hope this momentum enables us to continue to expand opportunity and access, and to recruit highly diverse and credentialed students
for decades to come.

We continue to prioritize enriching our curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and other programming to prepare students to lead and make a difference in their communities. In this issue, you will read about our new Racial Justice Law Clinic,
which will launch this fall. The clinic will be headed by newly appointed associate clinical professor of law Liliana Zaragoza, who joins us from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. Through this exciting new venture, Minnesota Law students will tackle discriminatory practices and fight for individuals and communities facing race-based oppression, all while gaining valuable legal skills.

As the cover story of this issue illustrates, many of our Minnesota Law alumni are leaders and experts across the nation in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts by organizations of all sizes and types. Their experience and expertise are inspirational and provide a valuable model for all of us. In fact, we are presently engaged in a national search for Minnesota Law’s first assistant dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion, a position largely supported through philanthropy. I will ask the inaugural holder of this position to provide strategic leadership and alignment in our DEI efforts, as well as ensure that we offer outstanding guidance to every student, so that our community is truly inclusive of the broadest range of viewpoints, and that all members of our diverse community feel respected, supported, and empowered.

I am grateful to our alumni and friends, along with our entire Minnesota Law community, for engaging in this critical dialogue and for providing essential resources to support this important work. While no single institution can solve injustice, we will continue to build, grow, develop, and partner in all ways consistent with our powerful mission. 

Garry W. Jenkins
Dean and William S. Pattee Professsor of Law