Diversity & Inclusion
OSB and D&I Mission & Values
The mission of the Oregon State Bar is to serve justice and the public interest 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 by matching law students with a member of Oregon's judiciary. The program is open to all law students who can advance the department's mission, as outlined above. Applications are now open for the 2021 - 2022 program.
The Judicial Mentorship program is designed to attract a diverse group of students who will then remain in Oregon to practice law. A diverse and inclusive bar more effectively serves a broad scope of client needs, provides creative solutions to solve problems, fosters diverse leadership in the Oregon legal community, and improves perceptions of the legal system. By increasing the number of lawyers and judges who are familiar with the equity and inclusion issues that, historically has impeded access to our legal system, access to justice for our marginalized populations will be expanded.
If you are interested in a being matched with a Judicial Mentor please apply here.
BAR EXAM GRANTS
Program Information: Each grant award consists of stipend of $800 to be used for expenses associated with preparing to take the bar exam as well as a reimbursement of the $750 admissions application fee. Bar Exam Grants are available for both the February and July bar exams each year.
If you have questions about the OMLA Bar Exam Grant program or about the application process, please contact Suji Patel at the Oregon Minority Lawyers Association: firstname.lastname@example.org or Suraya Barbee at email@example.com.
Rebar is a holistic program designed to help JD’s retaking the bar exam and to support them in the process of preparing for the bar exam. This program can be time-intensive and calls for a 3-month commitment from participants. ReBar includes: 1) an online black letter Kaplan bar prep course, tailored for those repeating the exam; 2) virtual online 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 virtual 5-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 July Bar Exam in Oregon. Applications are currently available for individuals planning to take the July 2021 exam. The application deadline for this cohort is Sunday May 9, 2021.
Accepted applicants will be notified by Friday May 24, 2021. Classes are tentatively scheduled to begin May 23, 2021 and will continue up until the July Bar Exam July 27 and 28, 2021.
The selected ReBar cohort will be required to meet virtually via a video streaming platform for the duration of the ReBar Program 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 for Rebar participants. As with the instructional portion of ReBar, the OAAP support group will also meet virtually. The group is designed to bring cohort members together to share in their experiences and receive support, learn healthy coping strategies, as well as 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 online class 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 Stipend will be provided to the selected cohort to help defray costs of taking off time from employment to free up time study and will not exceed $5,000 (including the $750 bar exam application fee). The disbursements will be made in 3 equal payments the first weeks of June, July and final payout in August after the Bar Exam.
If you have any questions or need more information please contact Hugo Gonzalez Venegas, D&I External Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 503-431-6335.
SUMMER STIPEND PROGRAMS
The Oregon State Bar (OSB) Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Department, with the assistance of the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (ACDI), administers summer employment stipend programs for law school students who will help achieve the bar’s diversity mission. Two Public Fellowship Summer Stipend awards are reserved for each of the three Oregon law schools. The remaining are open to all continuing Oregon law students. Please note that for 2021 the number of Public Fellowship Stipends is six (two per Oregon law school). The remaining stipends will be Clerkship Stipends. Please see 2021 Handbook for detailed information regarding both stipends.
Due to limited budgeting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the stipend program has been redesigned. We understand that many students who wanted to work in unpaid public interest positions will not be able to be funded through our program. We are cognizant of the barriers this may create but are anticipating our Employer Catalog will have many opportunities to find paid work in myriad areas of law. We have partnered with the Oregon State Bar Solo & Small Firm Section to highlight many employers who are offering paid summer placements through our Clerkship Program. We encourage all participants to utilize the Employer Catalog.
Applicants will be notified by February 12, 2021 of decisions.
If you have any questions please contact Hugo at email@example.com
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 2020 Summer Stipend Handbook for more information and program requirements.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR LAW IN OREGON (OLIO)
Opportunities for Law in Oregon (OLIO) is part of the Oregon State Bar’s recruitment and retention program. Its focus is for law students who:
- Can contribute to the bar's historically or currently underrepresented membership;
- Have experienced economic, social, or other barriers;
- Have personally experienced discrimination or oppression; or
- Can otherwise demonstrate a commitment to advancing the D&I mission.
The D&I 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.
OLIO Orientation traditionally brings together law students and members of Oregon’s legal community to share, inspire, and empower. Due to current pandemic conditions that format is impossible. For this year, the D&I Department presents OLIO in a virtual program that is inclusive and supportive of intersectionality and intended to provide a collaborative environment for attendees to connect with other diverse Oregon law students and legal professionals and foster allyship across communities.
Geared for first year law students, OLIO Online! will be a multi-day virtual event that provides a diverse group of Oregon’s 1Ls with the opportunity to interact with each other as well as with upper division students, attorneys, judges, and affinity bar leaders who will serve as their mentors and role models. In addition to creating and fostering these relationships, OLIO Online! will include sessions to engage students in dialogue about impactful issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion that will build skills for success in law school and beyond. These sessions include topics on how to interrupt racism, building a professional community as a minority, and mental health awareness for underrepresented students.
There is no charge to attend OLIO Online! but law student participation is limited. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. In addition to first-year law students, a number of spots will be reserved for upper division law students (aka “THUDS,” or The Helpful Upper Division Students). Upper division students who are committed to the OLIO program objectives and the D&I Department mission are invited to apply to be student mentors and actively engage in the workshops and activities. Historically, THUDS often continue their mentor relationships with 1Ls throughout the academic year.
OLIO 2021 will be a new experience for THUDS, attorneys, judges and most importantly to the incoming 1Ls. The program is designed to motivate and encourage the participants to engage with one another in a new and unique way during this pandemic while creating an environment that fosters community and continued support throughout the law school experience.
All participants will be notified no later than July 16, 2021.Please contact Hugo at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions
OLIO Employment Retreat
Saturday, January 23, 2021, 10:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Oregon law students:
Join us for a day of presentations designed to help you maximize your job search.
Practice and polish your interview technique during our mock interview sessions, where you will receive valuable advice from members of Oregon's bar and bench. Meet virtually with representatives from law firms, companies, and organizations to learn about potential opportunities during our Employer Forum & Networking Social.
The Leadership Institute is a nine-months-long program that aims to cultivate the leadership skills of lawyers from diverse backgrounds and serve the legal profession and the Oregon community by increasing awareness regarding ethical, professional, and community service opportunities.
The Institute is open to Oregon attorneys in good standing with three to nine years of practice (suggested) and who can commit to the full duration of the program. The first session of the Institute is scheduled to begin in September 2021.
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 Friday, March 6, 2020. For further information and to apply, please visit the MBA's website: https://mbabar.org/about/mba-news/multnomah-bar-association-oregon-state-bar-lsat-preparation-course-scholarship---apply-now/