Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights

Administered by the Law School’s Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Office of Admissions, the Ronald H. Brown Scholars Program awards full-tuition scholarships in the name of esteemed St. John’s Law alumnus Ronald H. Brown ’70, ‘89HON.

Center’s Mission

The mission of the Ron Brown Scholars Program is to select highly accomplished students who have overcome economic, social, or educational disadvantage, to support them during their years in law school and to nurture an interest in equality, civil rights, and social justice. The hope is that a strong collaboration among the student scholars, the faculty affiliated with the Ron Brown Center, and the Law School’s administration and alumni will produce valuable career options for the students as well as advance the Center’s work on justice and equality.

Center’s Activities

To advance this mission, the Ron Brown Center publishes the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development (JCRED), hosts cutting-edge academic events, and runs a signature pipeline programs designed to increase diversity in the legal academy and profession.

Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development

Established in 2010 as the official journal of the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights (then the Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development), and building on the rich history of its predecessor, the Journal of Legal Commentary, the Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development is committed to publishing high-quality legal scholarship including innovative symposium issues and student notes on issues of social, racial, and economic justice.

The Journal publishes four issues each year, culling submissions from faculty scholars and law students on a range of topics. Most recently, its symposium issues have addressed legally significant social justice issues, including:

  • Religious Freedom in an Egalitarian Age
  • Police Reform and Black Lives Matter
  • The Systemic Abuse of Children and the School to Prison Pipeline

Upcoming symposium issues are dedicated to the scholarly exploration of the following topics:

  • The Kavanaugh Hearings and Their Implications
  • The Civil Rights of Multi-Racials in the United States
  • Professionalism, Appearance, and Self-Identity

As a student-run publication, the Journal takes tremendous pride in the opportunities it offers students to engage with leading scholars, attorneys, and professionals in the field on cutting-edge topics. Through their involvement with the Journal, students develop valuable research, writing, and analytical skills that enhance their classroom learning and facilitate their work in the legal profession.

Journal members participate in a year-long civil rights writing course called Perspectives on Justice, which culminates in a comprehensive research paper of publishable quality addressing a current legal issue in racial, social, or economic justice. Members also author shorter-form blogs or op-eds, which are then published on and the Journal’s own website at

St. John’s Law Dialogues

The Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights hosts a St. John’s Law Dialogues each semester to discuss current events and topics of interest with the Law School community. The events are co-sponsored by student organizations, including the Coalition for Social Justice, which is comprised of a diverse group of students committed to addressing pressing issues of concern regarding social justice. St. John’s Law professors regularly serve on panels and students serve as trained facilitators in small group sessions to explore matters of national and local concern in a collaborative manner. 

Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program for College Students

For over a decade, in partnership with colleges and universities across the country, the Ronald H. Brown Law School Prep Program for College Students has helped students from traditionally underserved and underrepresented groups—who are often the first in their families to attend college—apply to law school and pursue legal careers. 

Spread over three summers, the Ron Brown Prep Program features academic boot camp, legal internships, mentors, a speaker series, events at firms and bar associations, customized LSAT test prep, support groups, diversity and personal statement workshops, and resume and interview counseling by career professionals. 

In 2016, the Access Group Center for Research & Policy Analysis® awarded the Ron Brown Prep Program a $125,000 grant through its Legal Education Diversity Pipeline. This past summer, 17 young men from around the country participated in the Ron Brown Prep Program as the inaugural class of the all-new PLUS Program/Ron Brown Prep Program Foundations. This first-of-its-kind offering was made possible by a very generous $300,000 grant from the Law School Admissions Council, through its Diversity Initiatives Grant Programs. Men of color are vastly underrepresented in the legal profession. The new program is designed to address this gender/diversity gap, and runs alongside the Ron Brown Prep Program’s longtime, successful offerings for rising college juniors and seniors.

Over 150 Ron Brown Prep Program alumni have gone on to 54 different law schools nationwide, including Cornell, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, George Washington, Harvard, St. John’s, SUNY at Buffalo, University of California at Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. Together they’ve earned millions of dollars in law school scholarships. 

Contact Us

Contact us to share your thoughts and feedback and to learn more about the Ron Brown Center. To support the Ron Brown Center and its initiatives, please visit the Law School's online giving page.

Elaine Chiu
Faculty Director, Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights
St. John's School of Law
8000 Utopia Parkway
Queens, NY 11439
[email protected]

Our Program

The Ron Brown Center advises and supports numerous students at St. John’s Law. Two groups in particular are formally affiliated with the center: the Ronald H. Brown Scholars and the Coalition for Social Justice.

The Ronald H. Brown Scholars

The Ronald H. Brown Scholars (Ron Brown Scholars) are highly accomplished students who have overcome economic, social, or educational disadvantage in order to be part of St. John’s Law. Selected through a competitive process, these students work with the RHB Center to foster their interest in equality, social justice, and civil rights and to develop educational and career options during their years here.

Coalition for Social Justice

The Coalition for Social Justice is an alliance of law students, faculty members, and community leaders. It seeks to provide an inclusive and position space at St. John’s Law for discourse and disagreement about social injustice and inequality in all forms. The Coalition also hopes to be a force of change, and encourages the collaboration of many and the exploration of ideas. Its programming includes speakers, dialogues, film screenings, panels, field trips, and other initiatives.