L-R: Widener School of Law Dean Linda Ammons; Thomas Sanger,
vice-president and general counsel, DuPont; CUA Law Dean Veryl V. Miles.
Dean Miles Speaks at Leadership Forum on Diversity at Widener School of Law
Catholic University law school Dean Veryl Miles was among a dozen invited panelists to participate in the Widener University School of Law Dean’s Leadership Forum on Diversity, held at the school’s Harrisburg, PA campus on March 22.
The daylong event, founded by Widener Law School Dean Linda L. Ammons and now in its fourth year, examined “Ways diversity has grown from a legally prudent and socially rewarding idea to an indispensible practice, particularly for those seeking success with progressive and innovative approaches to business in a difficult economy,” according to a law school press release.
The program featured several panel discussions. Topics included:
- The need for greater diversity in the legal profession.
- The impact that a diverse workforce has upon productivity on several levels.
- An examination of diversity and affirmative action in the wake of the New Haven, Conn. firefighters’ case, Ricci V. DeStefano, decided in June 2009 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Speaking during the second session, Dean Miles addressed “Diversity and the Legal Profession: The Numbers Unfortunately Do Not Lie.” As the title implies, her remarks made it clear that diversity within both the student body and faculty ranks at law schools is not a fully achieved goal. In her presentation and discussion of recent studies on racial and ethnic diversity in law schools, Miles noted that “Law schools must develop plans to create and sustain a diverse learning environment, periodically assess progress toward this goal, and be prepared to make adjustments. Diversity in the law school community is not something that occurs by default, such diversity will only happen by design.”
Not all of the speakers were from academia. Some represented both private practice and corporate America, including Thomas Sager, senior vice president and general counsel for the Behemoth DuPont Company. Sager is one of the nation’s staunchest advocates for diversity within the legal profession and has created some innovative programs during his career.
Deans Ammons and Miles represent two of the five African-American women to serve as law school deans at the moment. Miles was invited to speak by former CUA law professor Michael J. Cozzillio, now on the faculty of Widener.