Office of Equity & Inclusive Excellence

Welcome to the Office of Equity & Inclusive Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. Established in 2018, Pitt Law's OEIE mission is threefold:

(1) To identify and remove or accommodate for structural barriers to students accessing opportunities available through the law school

(2) To develop, discuss, and model the habits of inclusion that will support student and faculty efforts to bring about an inclusive campus community

(3) To engage with external contacts to enrich students' regional and professional connections

The OEIE is responsible for coordinating and monitoring Pitt law's efforts to institutionalize a culture of equity and inclusion within the law school community. We collaborate with administrative offices, faculty committees, student organizations, and alumni to create and implement strategies for fulfilling our vision for equity and inclusive excellence. This work ensures that Pitt Law maintains a learning and working environment in which faculty, staff, and students can thrive.

Pitt Law Credo:

  • Inclusion: We strive to create an environment where persons of differing backgrounds are welcomed, where different perspectives are respectfully voiced and respectfully heard and where every individual is valued & included.
  • Civility: We treat people with unconditional respect and an assumption of good faith, giving meaningful consideration to the ideas, beliefs, and feelings of others as a matter of professionalism and self-discipline.
  • Intellectual Rigor: We challenge ourselves and others to critically examine facts and ideas meticulously and from diverse perspectives.
  • Justice: We strive to attain equal justice under law, and to assure that justice benefits everyone across our society

Deans' Statement on Upcoming Trial

Nearly four and a half years ago, we in Pittsburgh witnessed with horror a devastating attack on our Jewish community, when a lone gunman burst into the Tree of Life synagogue during Shabbat services, killing eleven people and wounding six, among them survivors of the Holocaust. The trial of the murderer begins today. We know this will be an emotionally trying time for many of you, as the memories of that awful day resurface. We want to extend our support to all of you as you process very difficult feelings of sadness for the loss, horror for the tragedy, and rage that such a massacre took place in our city. We also want to affirm our strong solidarity with the Pittsburgh Jewish community, and indeed the Jewish community worldwide, in the face of such appalling violence. We stand with you and commit ourselves to doing the difficult work necessary to prevent this from ever happening again.

The Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence will be forthcoming with more details on particular types of structured support. In the meantime, please know you can reach out to either of us, or to Deans Pierson-Brown and Linsenmeyer, if we can be at all helpful to you.  We are here to support you. Best wishes to all of you as the exam period begins.

Take care of yourselves and one another,

Dean Hamoudi and Dean Dickinson

A Reminder about our Commitment to Equality, Inclusion, and Civil Rights

As an institution committed to both the free and open exchange of ideas as well as inclusion and belonging, we are writing to offer support to, and stand in solidarity with, those members of our community who feel especially targeted by and vulnerable to recent rhetoric that undermines the humanity of transgender individuals and the diverse communities of which they are a part. We acknowledge the real connection between violent acts and speech that insists that certain members of our community do not exist, should not exist, and should be denied access to full participation in society. Free speech must be protected, and those put at risk by the broad umbra of such speech must also be protected.

As your Dean and Vice Dean, we want to be clear that the School of Law stands by the values stated in the Pitt Promise—values that include cultivating an environment of mutual respect, concern for others, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.  We denounce without qualification all hateful rhetoric that runs contrary to those values. 

Should you need extra support considering the upcoming events hosted by undergraduate student groups on the University of Pittsburgh’s Oakland Campus, the OEIE will host office hours on March 24, March 27, and April 18 from Noon-12:30 p.m., in the SBA Safe Space.

In addition, we’d like to amplify the following resources offered by Pitt’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:

  • has a list of organizations and programs that provide support and networking around issues affecting the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • If you’re aware of discrimination against anyone based on their gender identity or expression, please report incidents of discrimination based on gender identity and expression to the Pitt Concern Connection by texting 412-903-3456, calling 800-468-5768, or completing this online form.
  • Mental health resources for students are available through the University Counseling Center at 412-648-7930. Staff and faculty are encouraged to contact Life Solutions at 1-866-647-3432, which provides 24/7 crisis counseling and support.

Take care of yourselves and one another,

Dean Haider Ala Hamoudi
Vice Dean Jerry Dickinson

Pitt Law Community Statement on Tyre Nichols

We are reaching out to you in response to the horrific display of police brutality resulting in the killing of Tyre Nichols. We acknowledge that you may be reeling from the emotions that accompany bearing witness to the violent assault. Even if you, like some of us, have chosen not to watch the recording, just the knowledge that, yet again, state authority has been used as a pretext for actions that debase the humanity of another is wrenching. As Vice Provost Bonner has said in his important message to all Pitt students, “Police officers have enormous power and privilege. Seeing images of the shocking abuse of that power—against the very citizens they are sworn to protect—can and should be disturbing.” 

Read the entire message here.

The PBLA Announces Legal Candidate Forums for 2023

The Pittsburgh Black Lawyers Alliance features the 2023 Legal Candidate Forums, where we invite candidates to discuss the issues impacting our Allegheny County legal communities during the 2023 Election Cycle.

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us as we discuss with the candidates, the current legal issues and topics in the race for Allegheny County District Attorney.

All forums will begin at 3:00pm EST, will be open to the public and free to all candidates seeking the position of Allegheny County District Attorney in 2023.

We look forward to hearing from you!

January 21, 2023 – Register Here:–trzstG9OXj3nGTI7OZ6ZeWksh2IZQ

March 18, 2023 – Register Here:

May 6, 2023 – Register Here:

August 26, 2023 – Register Here:

September 23, 2023 – Register Here:

October 21, 2023 – Register Here:

The Quest to get more Black Attorneys in Pittsburgh

It’s no secret that Pittsburgh isn’t Philadelphia, or Richmond, or Cleveland, in terms of its African American population. The city proper continues to lose African American residents; a 27 percent Black population in 2000 has dwindled to about 22 percent today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A Gender Equity Commission report in 2019 revealed that Pittsburgh was one of the worst places in the country economically for African Americans.

And it’s no secret that the Black professionals’ population in Pittsburgh isn’t large when compared to many other places. The Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) sports roughly 5,500 members—but less than 175 members, or less than 3 percent, are Black.

Kellie Ware, Esq., the new director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for ACBA, estimated that there may be 50 or so Black attorneys in the Pittsburgh region who are not part of ACBA. Thus, according to Ware, stating that there are less than 250 Black lawyers in the Pittsburgh region… “I would say that is a fair statement to make,” she said.

Click here to read more of this interesting and eye-opening article by Rob Taylor Jr. a Pittsburgh Courier Staff writer.

The History of Black Justices and Judges in PA’s Statewide Appellate Courts

Judge Doris Smith-Ribner, a Pitt Law School graduate; class of 1972, presents an insight into the Black justices and judges in the PA’s statewide appellate courts. Judge Smith-Ribner stated in her article that, “As a former Commonwealth Court Judge, it gives me the honor and great pride to reflect principally upon those who paved the way for others to follow”.

Click here to read the full article.

Policy on Administrative Statements 

The purpose of the Policy on Administrative Statements is as follows:
To establish a proactive protocol for statements coming from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s deans’ office in response to current events that bear upon legal education and the law school environment; and
To set expectations for the Pitt Law community for when and how the administration will lead the law school’s response to such events.
This version of the Policy on Administrative Statements is as of November 16, 2021.