DEI Image

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

For almost 100 years, animated by the Vincentian question, What must be done?, St. John’s Law has opened its doors to a wonderfully diverse and inclusive student body.

Today, as one of the best law schools in New York City, with one of the highest graduate employment rates in the nation, we remain committed to being an engine of opportunity, particularly for the most traditionally underrepresented individuals and groups in the legal profession.

Like the other classes pursuing their legal studies at St. John's today, our Fall 2023 incoming class reflects that commitment. Of our newest students:

50% identify as women
42% identify as people of color
14% identify as LGBTQ+ and many more identify as LGBTQ+ allies

This page shares just some of the many ways St. John's Law fulfills and grows our deep and unwavering commitment to supporting our students and to fostering a learning environment in which they all can thrive.

Dean Simons’ Email to Students Regarding Hamas Attack on Israel (October 12, 2023)

Vernadette Horne
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion


"I decided to go to law school after discovering Thurgood Marshall in middle school, but not because he won 29 of the 32 cases he argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. And not because he was the first African American to be appointed U.S. Solicitor General, or because he was the first African American Supreme Court Justice. His work for the NAACP on Brown vs. Board of Education stayed with me because it didn’t just change things for his initial client, but helped to end racial segregation for so many others. Seeing the impact of that work inspired me to become a lawyer." 

Vernadette Horne serves on the Law School’s leadership team as Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is a native New Yorker, raised just around the corner from St. John's Law in Hollis, Queens, and a major New York City sports fan. Her career path has taken her from litigation practice and corporate consulting to law school administration, with a laser focus on creating a truly inclusive and representative legal profession.

This Q & A story introduces you to Dean Horne and her vital work at St. John's Law.

Student Groups

The Law School’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is reflected in, and carried by, a range of student-run shared identity groups. Students also support diversity, equity, and inclusion at St. John’s Law as members of the Dean’s Advisory Council.

Learn more about our student groups

Read more about LGBTQ+ at St. John's Law

Law School Faculty

St. John's Law is proud to have a faculty that reflects our diverse and inclusive Law School community. Several years ago, the Law School launched a bold strategic plan anchored by twin goals of academic excellence and student achievement. An important part of that plan is adding new talent to the faculty, which we have done with the hiring of 10 full-time faculty members recently. A number of professors identify as members of underrepresented racial, ethnic, and LGBTQ+ groups, including:

All of our faculty members are dedicated educators whose doors are always open to our students. And they are notable legal scholars and clinicians who are deeply committed to exploring and addressing issues with real-world significance and impact, including today’s most pressing social justice, racial justice, civil rights, and human rights issues.

Read our faculty news

Follow our Faculty Focus blog

Events & Programs

Throughout the year, we host a wide array of events and programs that support diversity, equity, and inclusion in the St. John's Law community and that further our commitment to being an anti-racist institution. Here's just a sampling of those offerings:

Alumni of Color Chapter

A pillar of the St. John’s Law Alumni Association, the Alumni of Color Chapter offers community and connection for alumni worldwide and helps to organize our annual Diversity & Inclusion Gala. Since 2017, this signature event has brought the Law School community together to celebrate and support diversity, equity, and inclusion at St. John's Law. The Alumni of Color Chapter also hosts monthly networking events for our students, providing professional development advice and networking opportunities.

Center for Race and Law

In March 2023, the Center for Race and Law, under the leadership of Professor Renee Nicole Allen and in collaboration with the St. John's Law Review, hosted its inaugural symposium. This virtual event brought together a diverse group of legal scholars, practitioners, and thought leaders to discuss racialized notions of professionalism and the law.

Anti-Racism Day

St. John's Law hosted its first Anti-Racism Day in 2021, and it's now an annual program widely attended by our students, faculty, administrators, and alumni.

For the 2022 program on Professional Development: Anti-Racism and Inclusion in the Practice of Law, we welcomed keynote speaker Janai Nelson, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and a former St. John's Law faculty member. After her address, attendees participated in panel discussions that illuminated equity and inclusion issues within practice areas and the steps being taken to ameliorate those problems. The day also included a session on Bringing Your Whole Self to Work, which focused on navigating issues of race, gender, identity, and expression in the workplace.

For 2023, the Day’s theme was Exploring the Roots of Racial Inequality. Christina Swarns, Executive Director of the Innocence Project, delivered keynote remarks. Afterwards, concurrent panels addressed topics including: systemic racism in housing; controversies in race and education; race and refugee policies; bail reform rollbacks and racial justice; reconstruction and reparations; and the past, present, and future of employment discrimination law.

Diversity & Inclusion Gala

The Law School hosted its inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Gala in 2017, bringing the St. John’s Law community together to celebrate and support our deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion—a commitment rooted in St. John’s Vincentian mission. 

Now one of our most anticipated annual events, the D & I Gala includes a cocktail hour, sit down dinner, and dancing. As a highlight of the evening, we welcome prospective students who come from historically underrepresented communities. They have a unique opportunity to experience the Law School’s open and welcoming culture and to meet some of our most dedicated alumni.

Career Development

Our Career Development Office (CDO) counselors are there from day one to help students identify and pursue right-fit opportunities. CDO hosts a variety of programs designed to increase employment opportunities for students from historically marginalized and underrepresented communities and backgrounds. 

There are a number of diversity and inclusion internships and fellowships available to St. John’s Law students, including offerings from the:

  • New York City Bar Association
  • New York State Bar Association
  • Long Island Hispanic Bar Association
  • Long Island Legal Diversity Fellowship Program
  • LatinoJustice PRLDEF CLASP Program

And our students are often selected to participate in exclusive internships and externships in corporate, public interest, and governmental positions. 

Our Stories

We’re proud to share stories reflecting the Law School’s longtime and deep commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You’ll find them on our website, in our official social media feeds, in our print magazine, and in a special digital compilation, Diverse Voices @ St. John’s Law.


Read our stories online

Social Media


Diverse Voices @ St. John’s Law

Read the Diverse Voices compilation

St. John’s Law Magazine

For the Fall 2020 issue of St. John’s Law magazine, we published a special digital edition: The Anti-Racism Essay Project.

Through a curated collection of 20 essays written by students, alumni, faculty, and staff, we aimed to present perspectives that, individually and collectively, moved our Law School, our community, and our profession forward in solidarity as we work to be actively anti-racist and to combat injustice in all its forms.

This special digital issue of the magazine has a permanent home at, our online hub for sharing news and stories from St. John's Law.  

St. John's Law Magazine

Read past issues of St. John's Law Magazine

DEI Resources

Deans & Administrators

Deans and administrators throughout the building are here to help you chart your path at St. John's Law and into the legal profession. 

Partnering with the Law School leadership, the student-led Dean’s Advisory Council offers you and your peers a platform for sharing your experiences in, and beyond, the classroom and as members of the larger St. John's Law community. 

The Student Services team provides resources, both academic and personal, including a licensed social worker who offers group programming and individual counseling services. 

And the Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is committed to cultivating a community that welcomes students from a wide range of backgrounds, beliefs, perspectives, and opinions.


Many of our faculty members advise student groups and provide guidance to students. You may also have the opportunity to work as a research assistant for a professor, or to co-author a paper with a faculty member whose academic pursuits and interests align with yours.

Upper-Level Students

Our 2L and 3L students are among your greatest allies. Whether they are assigned mentors or simply active members of the Law School community, they can offer you tips on classes, professors, and opportunities to build your knowledge and skills hands on in the field.

Student Groups

The Law School has a wide range of student groups, including groups focused on shared identity and groups organized around professional or special interests.


The St. John's Law alumni community is central to your Law School experience, with 17,000+ alumni practicing in diverse settings right here in New York City, across the country, and around the world. Our Alumni Association's Alumni of Color Chapter is extremely active. Its Student Liaison helps to plan networking events and other programs that connect students with our alumni of color.

Reporting Bias Incidents

We strive to create and maintain a safe and inclusive community in which every individual is welcomed, supported, and encouraged to succeed. But we recognize that sometimes incidents happen. Bias is defined as words or actions that are motivated by bias against a person or group’s race, color, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion, age, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic. If you have experienced or witnessed a bias incident, and you would like to report a concern or speak to someone for support, please contact any of the following administrators:

Vernadette Horne
Assistant Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Room 1-10A
(718) 990-6469 or [email protected]

Eric Shannon
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Room 456
(718) 990-6044 or [email protected]

Rachel Smith
Vice Dean for Student Success
4th Floor Dean's Suite
[email protected]

Tanya Weekes, LMSW, SIFI
Law School Counselor
Room 1-19
(718) 990-6623 or [email protected]

Melissa Kubit Angelides
Associate Director for Student Services
Room 1-18B
(718) 990-6044 or [email protected]

Kristina Ebanks
Associate Director for Student Services
Room 1-18C
(718) 990-3280 or [email protected]

If you prefer to make an anonymous report in non-emergency situations, you can use the University's online reporting form. Be sure to include enough information as possible so the University can respond.

Reporting Sex Discrimination

To report sex discrimination, which includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct, please contact the Law School's Title IX Officer:

Eric Shannon
Associate Dean for Student Affairs
Room 456
(718) 990-6044 or [email protected]