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 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
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.
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 an $800 stipend to be used for expenses 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 $750 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.
Rebar is a holistic program designed to help JD’s retaking the bar exam. Rebar includes: 1) an online black letter Kaplan bar prep course, tailored for those repeating the exam; 2) in-person evening classes with the Rebar cohort to develop testing skills and address known challenges; 3) support and counseling from the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program (OAAP) and participation in a 6-session Rebar Support Group; and 4) a stipend to alleviate financial pressures that might hinder the applicant’s ability to prepare for the bar.
The program is open to law school graduates, not currently licensed in any jurisdiction or any country, who have taken a bar exam at least once without passing, and who can contribute to the OSB’s historically and/or currently underrepresented membership, or otherwise advance the Diversity & Inclusion Department’s mission, and who are planning on taking the Oregon Bar Exam.
Cohorts will be formed in preparation for the February Bar Exam in Oregon. Applications are currently available for individuals planning to take the February 2020 exam. The application deadline for this cohort is October 27, 2019. Rebar will host an Open House at the Oregon State Bar Center on October 22, 2019 from 6PM - 8PM to share additional details and answer questions regarding the program. All those who plan or wish to apply are encouraged to attend. You may submit your application at that time. Accepted applicants will be notified by November 8, 2019. In-person classes will begin on Sunday November 17, 2019 and will continue for twelve weeks.
The selected Rebar cohort will be required to meet in-person, three times a week, for 12 weeks, with an instructor to work on bar exam skills. They will also be expected to participate in a biweekly confidential support group facilitated by an Attorney Counselor of the OAAP.
The Rebar Support Group is a resource. It is designed to bring cohort members together to share in their experiences, learn healthy coping strategies and enhance their resilience during bar preparation. More importantly, the support group is an opportunity for cohort members to build relationships and to experience a sense of community. Among the benefits of participating in a support group include feeling less isolated, reducing distress, improving skills to overcome challenges or gaining a sense of control or hope.
Following the in-person portion of the program, Rebar participants will be expected to continue their individual preparation and study until the time of the exam. To maximize success in this program, it is important for Rebar participants to plan on taking time off of work to the extent personal/family/health/work obligations permits. A flexible schedule throughout the bar preparation period, and a minimum requirement of two weeks off prior to the date of the bar exam (is highly encouraged and recommended). A stipend is available to those participants who consistently engage in the coursework and other program components, which will correlate with the time taken off. For every week taken from work, participants will receive $1000. For example, 3 weeks off work equal a $3000 stipend. The stipend will not exceed $5000. Timing for disbursement of stipends will be based on individual circumstances and in conjunction with time taken off from work.
The Oregon State Bar makes no commitment or guarantee that any amounts paid to or for the benefit of a student will be excludable from the recipient’s gross income for federal or state income tax purposes, or that any other federal or state tax treatment will apply to or be available to any student. It shall be the obligation of the student to determine whether any payment is excludable from the student's gross income for federal and state income tax purposes.
If you have any questions or need more information please contact Hugo Gonzalez Venegas, D&I Coordinator at email@example.com or by telephone at 503-431-6335.
SUMMER STIPEND PROGRAMS
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. (“Rural Oregon” is defined as any geographic area in Oregon along the coast, east of the Cascade Mountains, or south of, and including, Cottage Grove, or otherwise located ten or more miles from the centroid of a population center of 40,000 people or more.) Rural employment can provide a new lens for viewing legal issues including workers’ rights, poverty, family law, immigration, and Indian Law.
Please read the 2019 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 personally experienced discrimination or oppression; or who can otherwise demonstrate a commitment to advancing the D&I Department’s mission.
This D&I program begins with a multi-day orientation (August 9-11, 2019) 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 engages students in dialogue about impactful issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and builds skills for success in law school and beyond.
The orientation is free for all participating students. Bus transportation to and from the law schools, hotel accommodations, and meals will be provided. Students should expect to pay only for incidental charges they choose to incur during the weekend.
OLIO participants and other interested students also have opportunities to reconnect at several events throughout the year.
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.
The following video provides a window into the OLIO program and its benefits, in the participants' own words:
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 personally experienced discrimination or oppression; or who can otherwise demonstrate a commitment to advancing the D&I Department’s mission, may apply here
UPPER DIVISION STUDENTS:
Application for Upper division law students are now closed.
OLIO Employment Retreat
The OSB Diversity & Inclusion Department is proud to sponsor the Multnomah Bar Association's LSAT Scholarship Program, which provides recipients with an LSAT preparation course.
The LSAT Scholarship Program is administered by the Multnomah Bar Association. Applications are due by March 8, 2019. For further information and to apply, please visit the MBA's website: https://mbabar.org/about/mba-news/lsat-prep-course-scholarship-applications-due-march-8