The Texas Access to Justice Foundation Board of Directors unanimously adopted a resolution Dec. 10 to recognize South Texas College of Law Houston (STCL Houston) and its accomplished alumnus Benny Agosto, Jr., ’95 for taking action to create a more diverse pipeline of law students entering the legal profession.
“South Texas was honored that the Texas Access to Justice Foundation recognized Benny and Nikki Agosto and our school for our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in the legal profession and greater access to justice,” said Michael F. Barry, president and dean. “Our goal is to become the most intentionally and successfully diverse law school in the nation, and this resolution was an encouraging affirmation of our collective efforts.”
The resolution noted that Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino law students continue to be underrepresented compared with their proportions in the U.S. population. In 2019, according to U.S. News & World Report, 62% of law students were White, 12.7% were Hispanic or Latino, 7.8% were Black or African American, 6.3% were Asian and 4% were biracial or multiracial.
“…Investing in diversifying the workforce and bolstering opportunity, the legal profession bears a particular duty to ensure everyone has an equal chance to flourish, and a fair and just legal system hinges on diversity and inclusion in its ranks,” the board noted in the resolution.
The board recognized and applauded Nichole and Benny Agosto’s generous $3 million gift to STCL Houston, announced earlier this year, which established The Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center at STCL Houston.
The board praised the Mr. Agosto for “continuing his outstanding record of achievement in giving back to the community and fostering greater diversity in the legal field.” It also acknowledged the Agostos for understanding the importance of diversity to the legal profession and for caring deeply about helping a more diverse student population enter the field of law and succeed in their professional lives.
The Texas Access to Justice Foundation emphasized that the pathways into law schools and the legal profession lead to roles that define and shape justice itself, and the board noted the importance of the Benny Agosto, Jr. Diversity Center’s plans for a professorship, a speaking program, diversity scholarships and support for the Hispanic Journal of Law and Policy.
Diversity initiatives positively impact access to justice and the legal needs of low-income families, the resolution noted.