Office of the Dean
Welcome to the Office of the Dean of Washington and Lee School of Law.
June 30, 2023 - Statement on Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action
Dear Law School Community,
This morning, in response to yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Students for Fair Admission v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, holding it impermissible to consider race as one factor in college and law school admissions decisions, Washington and Lee's President, Will Dudley, reaffirmed the University's commitment to diversity, describing it as "rooted in our mission."
Like the University more broadly, the law school affirms that diverse perspectives and backgrounds enhance our community and play a critical role in educating the next generation of outstanding W&L lawyers. When our classrooms are filled with students and professors of diverse backgrounds, the learning experience is significantly richer and the exchange of ideas more robust. This environment not only improves the learning experience for all students, it also paves a much-needed path to the legal profession, a profession in which racial and ethnic minorities are severely underrepresented. According to the American Bar Association, only 5% of all lawyers are Black. That percentage has been stagnant for years. Similarly, only 5% of all lawyers are Hispanic, although more than 18% of the population is Hispanic.
Notwithstanding the Court's recent decision, we will continue to aggressively pursue a talented and diverse student body consistent with our mission and the mission of the University. We will comply fully with the law, while using every lawful tool available to recruit and enroll excellent students from all backgrounds who will thrive in our close-knit, supportive community.
Melanie D. Wilson
Dean and Roy L. Steinheimer, Jr., Professor of Law