SIU School of Law, Tougaloo College partner to increase diversity among attorneys

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale and Tougaloo College on Oct. 17 signed an agreement to help students from the private, historically Black liberal arts college enroll and earn a degree from the SIU School of Law, with the aim of diversifying the legal profession.

The law school and Tougaloo College, a 900-student institution in Tougaloo, Mississippi, entered into a 3+3 dual degree program agreement for qualified college students. Successful students will have the opportunity to complete both their bachelor’s degree and law degree in six years.

This is SIU School of Law’s third agreement with a historically Black college or university, or a minority-serving institution to create pathways to advanced degree completion and diversify the pipeline to the legal community. It is similar to a 3+3 program for SIU students.

According to the American Bar Association, 14% of all lawyers in 2020 were Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or of mixed race. Only 5% of attorneys were Black, compared to 13.4% of the population.

The latest agreement continues the law school’s efforts to become more diverse, School of Law Dean Camille Davidson said. It fits well with the university’s strategic plan, Imagine 2030, which includes a pillar to improve diversity, equity and inclusion.

“SIU Carbondale has a long history of inclusivity, and I am excited that this agreement with Tougaloo furthers that mission,” Davidson said. “It is important for society to continue working toward real access to justice and training attorneys from various backgrounds. We trust a justice system when we see ourselves as advocates and decision-makers. This agreement is another step in ensuring that students, including those from underrepresented populations, have the opportunity to reach their goals in the legal profession.”

As part of the agreement, Tougaloo students complete the application to enroll in

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