group of students participating in our annual Students of Color Dinner.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The School of Law’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion works with students, faculty, administrators, and staff to promote diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency throughout all levels of the School of Law.

Through programming and support, we work strategically to develop relationships with students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to continue to cultivate and maintain a diverse and inclusive law school environment.

On this page:

photo of Tolu.

Tolulope "Tolu" Odunsi
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

723 O'Brian Hall, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
716-645-2354,
law-dei-questions@buffalo.edu

Looking for additional information? Contact us at law-dei-questions@buffalo.edu.

Tools for You

Special Sessions Communications Student Groups Resources

Black Law Students Association (BLSA)

The Black Law Students Association (BLSA) is a professional, nationally affiliated organization of black law students dedicated to improving opportunities and diversity in legal education.  As the School of Law's BLSA chapter, our goal is to articulate and promote the educational, professional, political and social needs of our black law students while also giving back to our communities. BLSA seeks to provide programming in partnership with local law firms and community organizations to provide our members with a well-rounded legal education that goes beyond the classroom. The networks established through our programming allows our members to broaden their perspectives while also demonstrating service, a core principle of BLSA.

Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA)

The Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA) is committed to increasing diversity and representation in the legal profession. Membership is open to law students of all backgrounds. LALSA is dedicated to the academic and social well-being of its membership. Efforts towards this goal include fostering and maintaining a supportive school environment our members, sharing the Latin culture with partnering with the local legal and Latin community, and hosting various events and opportunities for the academic and social enrichment of our membership. 

OUTLaw

OUTLaw is a student organization that promotes a positive atmosphere at the law school for LGBTQIA+ students and their allies. Every year, we plan and host events on issues relevant to the LGBTQ+ community. Our many events have included symposia on family law and the tax needs of LGBTQ+ clients; implications of recent Supreme Court decisions; Transgender awareness events; and events surrounding the intersection of sexuality, race, class, and gender. Our largest event is the annual OUTLaw Dinner, which is hosted every Spring. At this dinner, we honor Western New York community members who have made significant and positive impacts on the region’s LGBTQ+ population. Past honorees include State Assemblyperson Sean Ryan, activist Madeline Davis, retired Hodgson-Russ partner Bill Gardner, the Center for Elder Law & Justice, and local High School Student-Activist Byshop Elliot.

OUTLaw is a very active organization and has successfully made several positive changes at the law school. We successfully lobbied to provide gender-neutral bathrooms on several floors of our building and to give applicants to the law school the opportunity to self-identify as LGBTQ+. In addition to self-identification, we actively encourage students to provide us with their preferred name and pronouns as an added step towards making UB Law a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all. 

Strong support from faculty and administration is one of the reason why OUTLaw is so successful. Our organization works closely with faculty advisors Professor Michael Boucai and Vice-Dean for Career Services Lisa Patterson. Professor Boucai’s scholarship focuses on sexual regulation and LGBTQ+ rights, and is a great resource for all students at the law school. Dean Patterson is a fierce ally for students and a wonderful resource for LGBTQ+ law students on the hunt for jobs and a potential career. 

Women of Buffalo Law

Women of Buffalo Law was created for the educational and professional advancement of the women of UB School of Law, and it welcomes all students to participate in achieving that goal. It was founded upon the fundamental belief that female law students are an invaluable part of the Buffalo law school community, and this organization intends to provide a supportive network of women to further its aims and objectives. This group will provide women law students with (1) the opportunity to connect with local, practicing women attorneys; (2) to build professional relationships with women outside of the legal community through community service and outreach events and programs; and (3) the opportunity to impact local and state legislation affecting women.

Goals

  1. Revamp Academic Programming and Student Success
  2. Increase Diversity Amongst our Student Body, Faculty, Staff and Administration
  3. Promote and Advocate for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  4. Expand Support and Opportunities for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Mission Statement

The University at Buffalo School of Law is committed to providing an environment where students, staff, and faculty from underrepresented minority groups excel personally, academically, and professionally. The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion seeks to continue to collaborate with the various School of Law Departments and community partners to provide a comprehensive approach to executing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives. Through program development, strategic planning, and community outreach, the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strives to continue to create an academic community comprised of a diverse group of professionals whose differences are valued as a source of strength in our law school community.

How We Achieve Diversity

  • Recruit talented and diverse students, staff, and faculty.
  • Provide support to retain diverse students, staff, and faculty.
  • Develop a culture of respect and awareness for diverse identities and culture.
  • Provide governance mechanisms through which diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns can be addressed.
  • Engage the community by providing opportunities for members of the Buffalo-Niagara community to engage with students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds at the School of Law.