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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

What Must Be Done

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 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 groups in the legal profession.

A Call to Action 

In June 2020, as protesters across the country demanded justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many other Black Americans, close to 300 members of the St. John’s Law community came together for a virtual Dialogue Day organized by the student-run Coalition for Social Justice and Black Law Students Association, along with co-sponsoring student organizations and our Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights.

The program’s theme was clear and direct: No More Talking, What Are We Going to Do?

As Dean Michael A. Simons shared widely before and afterwards, that milestone event was a call to action in solidarity with our Black students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It was also a catalyzing moment for St. John’s Law, as we committed to being an ardently and actively anti-racist institution and a community that embraces, prioritizes, and reflects the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Months later, in the wake of escalating, racism-fueled violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders nationwide, Dean Simons shared a message of solidarity in support of the Law School's extended AAPI community.

Read Dean Simons’ June 1, 2020 message

Read Dean Simons’ June 5, 2020 message

Read Dean Simons’ March 11, 2021 message

This page shares just some of the many ways St. John's Law animates, fulfills, and grows our deep and unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and to calling out, and standing against, racism and intolerance in their many forms.

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.


Ron Brown Scholarship Program
Our longtime full-tuition Ron Brown Scholarship Program offers scholarships to students who have overcome economic, social, or educational disadvantage.

Endowed Scholarships
St. John’s Law alumni and friends have established a number of endowed scholarships to support our mission of building and sustaining a more diverse and inclusive St. John’s Law community and legal profession.

Read more about our diversity scholarships

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 shared identity groups

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

Law School Affinity Groups

During the June 2020 Dialogue Day, the student affinity groups and a number of other student organizations presented their commitments—events, petitions, fundraisers, committees, speakers, outreach, research, and more—to making St. John’s Law an actively anti-racist institution and combatting injustice in its many forms. Their pledges of support became pillars of an action plan that the student-run Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ) memorialized in two publications:

The Contract
First, CSJ published the St. John's University School of Law Student Organization Commitment to Racial Justice and Solidarity with Marginalized Communities (the Contract). It documented participating student organizations’ commitments to a general set of obligations, including organizational changes. The Contract also shared each organization’s pledge to individual, specifically tailored, year-to-year obligations.

Read the Contract

The Full Report
Next, CSJ published a report on the evolution of student organization activity. Among other things, the Report encapsulated the moment that was June 2020 for the Law School community, reflecting on work done soon after, projecting next steps, commenting on needed improvements, and providing a model for other law schools to follow.

Read the Full Report

Our 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 16 full-time faculty members recently:

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. 

Learn more about our diverse faculty

Read our faculty news

Follow our Faculty Focus blog

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
  • Amistad Bar Association

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

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.

Center for Race and Law Inaugural Symposium
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.

The Black Authors Book Club
Led by Professors Cheryl L. Wade  and Sheldon A. Evans, The Black Authors Book Club challenges preconceived notions and inspires newfound depth in understanding as participants discuss books by African American authors that explore some of the most impactful issues of our time, including:

  • Racial justice 
  • Racial awareness 
  • Social change 

With unique insight into the racial caste system suffered in America and across the African Diaspora, and through their literary prowess, the authors express messages to the Black community and to those in power that seek to understand the Black experience and how to change it.

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