Diversity and Inclusion

Washington and Lee University Diversity Statement

Washington and Lee affirms that diverse perspectives and backgrounds enhance our community. We are committed to the recruitment, enrichment, and retention of students, faculty, and staff who embody many experiences, cultures, points of view, interests, and identities. As engaged citizens in a global and diverse society, we seek to advance a positive learning and working environment for all through open and substantive dialogue.

See statements on Solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Initiatives and Events

The Annual Leslie Devan Smith, Jr. Lecture
The Law School inaugurated a new annual lecture in February 2020 to celebrate the life and legacy of the law school's first african american graduate, Leslie Devan Smith Jr., who graduated in 1969. The first lecture was delivered on Feb. 19 by Paul Butler, Albert Brick Professor in Law at Georgetown Law.

Leslie Devan Smith Jr. Memorial
In 2019, the Law School unveiled a tribute to Leslie Devan Smith Jr., the first African-american graduate of W&L Law. The display, located in the lobby outside the Millhiser Moot Court Room in Lewis Hall, tells the story of Smith's arrival in Lexington, his many accomplishments as a student, and his career with the U.S. Department of Justice. Read more.

Celebrating W&L Law's First Female Students
In 2020, the Law School created a display to honor the first women students at W&L Law. After a long history as an all-male institution, the Law School became coeducational in 1972 as a result of the advocacy of then Dean Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr.  The display will is located in the lobby outside the Millhiser Moot Court Room in Syndey Lewis Hall. Read more.

Diversity Scholarships
Due to the tremendous generosity of our alumni and friends, over 90% of our student body receives some form of financial aid. There are several scholarships, including the Fishwick Scholarship, the Sidley Austin Scholarship, and the Rachford Scholarship, that are specifically designated for members of underrepresented groups.


University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate (UCICC)
This committee of faculty, students and administrators reports to the President and is charged to provide guidance to the President and other members of the university as we build a supportive, inclusive and diverse community and create a climate open and welcoming to persons from diverse backgrounds. The committee represents the views of students, staff, administration, and faculty. It will help the University fulfill its institutional values that stress the importance of the individual and respect for others. Learn more.

Law School Diversity and Inclusion Committee
The Law School maintains a standing committee consisting of faculty and staff to explore ways in which we can increase the diversity of our community while promoting an environment in which all share a sense of belonging. Learn more.


Civil Rights and Social Justice Clinic
Beginning operation in Fall 2021, this new clinic will allow students to pursue racial and economic justice through direct legal representation in housing and employment matters. Students will also develop and conduct know-your-rights workshops and engage in strategic policy advocacy and reform grounded in the needs of the community.

Student Journal

Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice (JCRSJ)
The Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice  is a biannual scholarly publication focusing on legal issues that affect historically underrepresented groups.. JCRSJ has published articles covering a wide variety of subject matters, including real estate, education, healthcare, family, environment, public welfare, and international rights.


Asian Pacific Law Students Association
To promote diversity, inclusion, and the expansion of the NAPALSA and NAPABA network within the Washington and Lee University and Lexington communities.

Black Law Students Association
The Washington and Lee Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is a student organization committed to advancing the status of Black individuals under the law and within the legal profession.

Christian Legal Society
The Christian Legal Society is a fellowship of Christians dedicated to serving God through the study and practice of law. They gather one evening a week for food, a game, and fellowship.

Disabled Law Students Association
The Disabled Law Students Association is an advocacy and social organization. Their mission is to offer institutional and social support to disabled law students, to build peer, alumni, and professional mentorship networks, to educate and raise awareness among the student body on topics in disability law and policy, and to combat ableism and the social stigma of disability.

First Generation Student Union (FGSU)
The purpose of this organization is to empower first generation law students to attend law school, excel, and feel confident entering the workforce. As first-generation students ourselves, we know a support system like this will be an invaluable tool to help navigate law school. The goal is to create support for students who are also in this demographic and build confidence to overcome barriers in the legal community. We will accomplish this through various organized mentorship programs, including 1-1 student mentors, alumni networking events, and organized social events for mentors and mentees.

J. Reuben Clark Society
The J. Reuben Clark Society is an organization attorneys and law students who strive to use legal education and training to do good. The Society works to inspire law students and lawyers around the world to serve the communities in which they live and remain focused on the highest ideals of the legal profession. The Society higly values religious liberty.

Jewish Law Students Association
The Jewish Law Students Association (JLSA) is designed to meet the needs of the Jewish student body within the W&L School of Law. Our organization includes secular as well as observant students, and all of our events are open to the entire law school community. Activities include social events, speakers on Jewish or legal topics, and events celebrating Jewish holidays.

Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)
Our mission is to promote diversity at Washington and Lee and create a close-knit community that is proud to celebrate Latin culture.

OutLaw's mission is to unite LGBTQ+ law students, faculty, community members, and allies to promote diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, and support for queer issues. We welcome participation and support from people of all different identities, viewpoints, and backgrounds who support the dignity and equality of LGBTQ+ individuals.

Middle Eastern and South Asian Law Students Association (MESALSA)
We the students of the Washington and Lee University School of Law, Middle Eastern and South Asian Law Students Association (MESALSA) begin this organization to assemble, engage with, and cultivate a community of Middle Eastern and South Asian (MESA) scholars and cultures. We will work to support our students and be a voice in ensuring MESA students are represented and heard at W&L Law.

Student Coalition for Campus Change
The Student Coalition for Campus Change is a student organization made up of students and student organizations from Washington and Lee University and Washington and Lee University School of Law committed to creating a campus environment where all students feel represented, respected, and valued.

Women Law Students Organization (WLSO)
WLSO is an organization that promotes an atmosphere of gender equality and provides a forum of discussion for issues that interest, concern and affect women. WLSO is dedicated to advocating for the success of women in the law, and to bringing an awareness of women's issues to the Washington & Lee Law School community.

View a complete list of organizations at W&L Law.

Relevant Statistics at W&L Law

Minority Female First Generation to Attend College
1L Class (125) 31% 46% 21%
Student Body (380) 23% 49% 15%
Faculty (35 Full-time) 19% 49% not available

Data as of 9/25/2023