Baylor Law School found to not be in compliance with diverse faculty requirement

The Baylor School of Law was deemed not in compliance with the American Bar Association’s diverse and inclusive faculty requirement and now must undergo actions and hearings to enter back into compliance. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor

By Luke Lattanzi | Staff Writer

Baylor’s School of Law was again found to not be in compliance with the American Bar Association’s diverse and inclusive faculty requirement after being previously deemed not in compliance back in February 2022.

According to the decision made by the ABA’s council of the section of legal education and admissions, the law school was deemed to be “not in compliance” with Standard 206(b), specifically regarding part-time faculty during its Feb. 16 and 17 meeting after being previously deemed not in compliance a year ago on the same dates. Before the 2023 council meeting, the law school was asked to submit a report by Sept. 30, 2022.

Baylor Law School Dean Brad Toben said in a statement via email the law school is focused on increasing diversity in all aspects, including part-time faculty.

“Baylor Law is focused on increasing diversity in all aspects of our program, including our adjunct faculty,” Toben said. “We have an obligation to our students to create an educational environment that reflects the rich diversity of our state and nation, and we similarly have an obligation to our profession and to society to prepare lawyers for practice in a multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic world.”

The ABA’s Standard 206(b) states that: “Consistent with sound educational policy and the Standards, a law school shall demonstrate by concrete action a commitment to diversity and inclusion by having a faculty and staff that are diverse with respect to gender, race and ethnicity.”

According to the ABA Journal, the law school has a total of 146 non-full-time faculty, with 100 of those being men, 46 being women and 14 being people of color.

Toben also said Baylor’s School of Law student body is over 30% racially and ethnically diverse and reaffirmed that part of the school’s mission is to cultivate a diverse faculty.

“Our commitment to increasing diversity among our adjunct faculty goes beyond mere words,” Toben said. “It is manifested in Baylor Law’s actions in past years — in all aspects of our program — and the strategies we are implementing to identify and hire individuals who will increase the diversity in our adjunct faculty. While we are disappointed with the Council’s determination, we are focused on employing a diverse faculty and we will be successful because it is the right thing to do.”

According to the 2022 law school student profile, 34.8% of the student body across both J.D. and L.L.M. degrees are racially or ethnically diverse.

Southern University, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the University of the District of Columbia, Florida International University and the University of Miami are the top five schools for the most diverse law school faculty, according to the Princeton Review.

According to the council’s decision, the law school will be required by the ABA to take a number of “remedial actions.” These actions include developing a “written reliable plan” that will bring the school back into compliance with the ABA’s diverse faculty requirement, as well as to file a quarterly report detailing the school’s progress until compliance is met.

Baylor law student Jonathan Michael said he believes his experience at the law school is invaluable, and the instruction from the faculty is unmatched, regardless of skin color.

“Most students here probably don’t care about the color of the professor’s skin. I am grateful for the faculty we have,” Michael said.

According to the council decision, a hearing will be conducted in February 2024 to monitor the law school’s progress and determine whether it is eligible to come back into compliance.