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


Federal Clerkship Panel

This event will consist of two current federal clerks: a term clerk, Charlotte Robertson; and a career clerk, Steve Brujic. They are currently clerking for Chief Judge Taddonio in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Depending on his schedule, Judge Taddonio will also be in attendance.  

Judge Taddonio is taking 1L Judicial Interns for next summer – so this event is a great opportunity to learn more about the Judicial Internship he offers if you are interested in working for a judge your 1L summer - which is something we highly recommend! The clerks on the panel will go over the timeline for applications and discuss a little bit about what they are looking for in judicial interns.  

When: Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023

Time: 12:30

Where: Teplitz Memorial Court Room

3900 Forbes Ave,

Pittsburgh, PA 15260


*Free food will be provided

2023 Eradicate Hate Global Summit

Driving Global Action is inviting you to the Eradicate Hate Global Summit championed by Laura Ellsworth (Princeton ’80). this is the largest meeting of the minds on this profound topic in the world; Pittsburgh is a small city dealing with a global problem and this is an excellent opportunity to be part of the conversation.

When: Wednesday, Sept. 27 – Friday, Sept. 29, 2023

Time: 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Where: Barco Law Building, Room 107

3900 Forbes Ave,

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Laura and the Summit's board have graciously agreed to extend a registration fee discount code to the IvyPlus group. Go to and register now using the code EHGS23 for a 50% discount.

* For opportunities to engage with the Eradicate Hate Global Summit, email

A Fireside Chat

The Office of Equity and inclusive Excellence (OEIE) in conjunction with the Black Law Students Association (BLSA), the Center for Civil Rights and Racial Justice (CCRRJ), Incarcerated Persons Legal Support Program (IPLSP), and Pitt Legal Income Sharing Foundation  (PLISF) is inviting you to a Fireside Chat on the book Death in Custody: How America ignores the truth and what we can do about it.

The authors Roger A. Mitchell, Jr., MD, and Jay D. Aronson, PhD will share highlights from their book, which tell the stories of individuals who have died in law enforcement custody and chronicles the efforts of activists and journalists to uncover the true scope of deaths in custody in the United States. Pitt Law faculty members, Professors SpearIt, Sheila Velez Martinez, and Anjali Vats, will also offer reflections on the book, and the US criminal legal system.

When: Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023

Time: 12:30 to 2:00 p.m.

Where: Barco Law Building, Room 107

3900 Forbes Ave,

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Click here to register for the event.

1L Registration LCLD Mentoring Program

To support diverse law students, the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) is launching the Success in Law School Mentoring Program in Pittsburgh. Mentees will be paired with experienced lawyers and can participate in LCLD events and programming. Register on LCLD’s website

Haitian American Lawyers Association of NY – Scholarship Program

As part of its 10th year Anniversary celebration, the Haitian Ameircan Laywers Association is inviting 2Ls – 4Ls to apply for a scholarship opportunity. Please send completed application material to

Deadline to apply is 5pm on Sunday October 1, 2023.

* For any queries or concerns regarding the scholarship, please direct them to Ms. Eunchy Desir at

Pizza and Conversation - Supreme Court Ruling on Affirmative Action

In July the Deans’ Office shared a statement with the Pitt Law community about the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding affirmative action in higher education admissions and the applicability of public accommodations laws to the providers of expressive services. You can find that statement here. The feedback we received following the statement helped us understand that it would be valuable for our community to have a chance to engage in dialogue regarding the statement, the cases it addressed, and the Law School’s ongoing commitment to equity, inclusion, and belonging for all its students.

We invite you to join us on October 10, 2023, at 12:30 PM in Room 111 for pizza and an open conversation about these rulings and the effect that these rulings have had on each of you. We value your thoughts and would appreciate the opportunity to hear your perspectives, gain a better sense of your experiences, and respond as best we can to questions you have.

Deans Crossley, Dickinson, Linsenmeyer, and Sinsheimer

Important Message from the Deans about Jacksonville, Florida Event

On August 26, 2023, Angela Michelle Carr, 52, Jarrald Gallion, 29, and Anolt Joseph “AJ” Laguerre Jr., 19, three Black people shopping at a Dollar General store in Jacksonville, Florida, were murdered by a white gunman in an unequivocally racist attack. As we mark the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington, we still face unprecedented levels of hate crimes and anti-Black violence. 

The University of Pittsburgh School of Law condemns these racist acts. Racially targeted murders harken back to lynchings of Black persons during the Jim Crow era, killings that legislation spanning from the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871 to the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act of 2022 has sought to address. This history and today’s ongoing tolerance of anti-Black violence are confirmation that there is more work to be done to confront the ideologies that incited these horrifying murders in Jacksonville. We repudiate racism in all forms, consistent with the Pitt Law faculty’s collective resolve to “identify, challenge, and condemn structural inequality however it may manifest.” Racism is a public health crisis and an ever-present threat to our system of justice and rule of law. As members of the Pitt Law Community and as attorneys and attorneys in training, we must engage in the work to eradicate racial violence and dismantle the violent ideologies that motivated this and countless other attacks.

In this moment of tragedy, we share the pain and anger of our Black community. The endurance needed to combat this hatred and injustice vigilantly is a heavy burden, and it is okay to be in conversation and process the multitude of emotions tied to this event. As always, Dean Sinsheimer, Dean Linsenmeyer, Vincent Johnson, and our entire faculty and staff are available to schedule one-on-one meetings with students. Mental health supports for students are available through the University Counseling Center at (412) 648-7930. Faculty and staff seeking mental health resources are encouraged to contact Life Solutions at 1 (866) 647-3432. As a community, we are stronger than any act of hatred and violence.

Interim Dean Mary Crossley

Vice-Dean Jerry Dickinson

ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium (LEPPC) - Fellowship Program Fall 2023

The Criminal Justice Section of the ABA is requesting application for the 2023 Legal Education Police Practices Consortium Fellowship program. The ABA Legal Education Police Practices Consortium (LEPPC) has been formed to contribute to the national effort to examine and address legal issues in policing and public safety, including conduct, oversight, and the evolving nature of police work. The Consortium leverages the ABA’s expertise in developing model police practices and that of participating ABA-accredited law schools to collaborate on projects to develop and implement better police practices throughout the United States.

Fellows with the Consortium regularly conduct research related to their campus, local, and state police agencies as well as sheriff’s departments, highway patrol, state attorneys, government officials, and civil rights and legal aid organizations. Assignments will be undertaken under the guidance of a designated member of the law school faculty and the ABA LEPPC Director.

Students interested in applying should contact Professor SpearIt for more information. 


OEIE Student Advisory Council

The SAC will meet weekly in the 2nd Floor Conference Room (aka Room #225) on Fridays from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. from Friday, September 8th through Friday, November 17th  during Fall Term 2023. 

All JD, MSL and LLM students are welcome to attend and participate in any and all of the meetings. 

We welcome you to attend any and all meetings of the SAC!

Law School Response on recent Supreme Court Rulings

We write today in response to two recent Supreme Court rulings. In SFFA v. Harvard, the Court held that the way Harvard College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill had considered applicants’ race in their admissions processes violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. While the implications of this decision are still coming into focus, the University and Pitt Law are reviewing admissions policies and procedures to ensure that they remain inclusive while also remaining fully compliant with the law.

In the second ruling, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the Court held that the First Amendment prohibits Colorado from legally requiring a website designer to create expressive designs that communicate messages with which the designer disagrees. According to the decision, a commercial product or service that is expressive in nature can be considered speech.  As a result of this decision, there is a question of whether and when state public accommodation laws, some of which prohibit discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA+ community (among others), may compel business owners to provide expressive products or services to those seeking to communicate messages with which the business owner disagrees.

While these decisions may be upsetting to members of our community, other members may consider them rightly decided. If you find yourself troubled, anxious, or angered by these decisions, please know that you are not alone in those feelings. Please also know that we will not be deterred from our mission “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 and included.”

As we look ahead to the start of a new school year, we will identify opportunities to congregate in dialogue about the immediate and long-term consequences of these rulings. As always, should you need acute support, please contact us or Deans Sinsheimer and Linsenmeyer with your questions or concerns.


Interim Dean Mary Crossley and Vice Dean Jerry Dickinson

Welcome the new Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusive Excellence – Professor Ann Sinsheimer

Effective July 1, 2023, Professor Ann Sinsheimer was appointed as Associate Dean of Equity and Inclusive Excellence.  For the past five years, Ann has been leading the Resilience & Engagement Project at Pitt Law. The project focuses on promoting student resilience and cultivating a growth mindset.  Ann and her collaborators (Dr. Omid Fotuhi, Dr. Ming-Te Wang, Ciara Willet) have received Momentum Funding (Teaming Grant) from Pitt to advance their work. Given the work, the care and concern she has shown for all of our students, and her deep involvement in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion more broadly, we are confident that she will do a spectacular job filling Professor Tomar Pierson-Brown’s gargantuan shoes.  

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.