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

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:

Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops

Crisis Intervention as Progressive Policing

The Center for Civil Rights and Racial Justice and Pitt Law’s Office of Equity and Inclusive Excellence will be sponsoring a panel and interactive discussion about the progressive policing techniques presented in the HBO documentary Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops. Professors David Harris (Pitt Law), SpearIt (Pitt Law), and Gabby Yearwood (Anthropology) will share their perspectives under the moderation of Joint Degree Candidate and CCRRJ Student Advisory Board Member Jordan Fields.

Officers Ernie and Joe’s beat is San Antonio, a landscape of strip mall chapels and freeway overpasses. Ernie and Joe are the heart of the San Antonio Police Department’s Mental Health Unit. Launched in 2008, the unit uses crisis intervention techniques to assist people experiencing severe mental health issues. Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops reveals how these techniques are being applied in an American urban environment – as well as the officers’ own struggles with mental health, trauma, and crisis. Clips from the HBO documentary will be shown. It is recommended that attendees view the full film in advance.

When: Thursday, January 26, 2023

Time: 12:30 p.m.

Where: Room 113, Barco Law Building

Event Registration | View the Film

Trigger Warning: Please be advised that the film addresses issues of police violence, mental health, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicide, and suicidal ideation.

Diverse Mentorship Initiative – Summer Clerkship

The Pennsylvania Association for Justice Diverse Mentoring Initiative (DMI) is open to any first-year law student who meets one or more of the following criteria:

  1. they have overcome a significant and unusual obstacle in the pursuit of a legal career;
  2. they come from a background or are a part of a group that is underrepresented in the legal profession; and/or
  3. they come from a disadvantaged background.

Email your application to The subject of the email should be in the following format: Last, First, PAJ DMI Application. Any questions can be directed to Amanda Lorentson at or by visiting our website,

*Deadline to apply is January 31, 2023.

Guide to Transgender Name Change Process Event

The Allegheny County Bar Association LGBTQ+ Rights Committee is organizing an in-person CLE event on Name Change 'Queeries': A Guide to the Transgender Name Change Process.

  • Do you want to help a vulnerable population?
  • Are you interested in learning about what is involved in providing pro bono legal name change services to low-income transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people?
  • Has it been a while since you completed a special name change in Allegheny County?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this program is for you. The program will offer instruction on how attorneys can volunteer to help low-income transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary people with legal name changes.

Additionally, the program will outline name change procedures and how these have progressed and shifted in response to the pandemic and the return to the courtroom. A panel will discuss the mechanics of completing special name changes pursuant to the protocol and troubleshoot how to conduct client meetings and work through the special name change process.

The Name Change Project is a great way to provide pro bono legal services to the community and the need for help has never been greater. In Allegheny County, the waitlist for people seeking assistance with name changes is currently more than 60 people. With a waitlist that long, it will take months to serve everyone seeking assistance with their name change and your participation will help meet the great need for volunteer attorneys.

*This program has been approved for 1 hour of Substantive CLE credit and also qualifies for 1 hour of credit under the West Virginia Rules for Mandatory Continuing Legal Education.

Last day to Pre-register: Sunday, Jan. 31, 2023, 11:59 p.m.

Register by mail: Print and return the hard copy registration form available here.

When: Thursday, February 02, 2023

Time: 04:00 PM - 05:00 PM

Where: McGuireWoods

Tower Two-Sixty, 260 Forbes Avenue #1800,

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Registration Deadline: Tuesday, January 31, 2023

A reception will immediately follow the program.

  • Registration is free to students who are ACBA members, and $10 for non-ACBA members.


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.