A Message from the Dean

Dean Michael Waterstone

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values at LMU Loyola Law School. These commitments animate everything we do, from how we teach, to our welcoming community culture, to the progress we strive to make in the world. The study and practice of law involves not just understanding but being able to articulate divergent arguments. A variety of experiences and worldviews is essential to this common endeavor. And we cannot engage the role of law in challenging inequality without understanding and grappling with discrimination against marginalized groups—this helps to advance equity and inclusion within our own community.

Our community reflects the amazing and pluralistic city we call home: Los Angeles. We have one of the most uniquely diverse student bodies in the nation: people of color, first-generation professionals, immigrants, students with disabilities, second career professionals, and people of gender and sexual diversity. Our students come from 331 different cities, 28 states, and 16 countries. Our faculty is similarly diverse based on race, gender, sexuality, immigration, disability and intersectional identities. Importantly, Loyola’s leadership team ensures that equity and inclusion concerns inform all institutional decisions. Our administration includes women of color, from a range of backgrounds who occupy executive management roles including the Associate Dean for Graduate Programs & Strategic Initiatives, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion, Senior Assistant Dean for Admissions & Enrollment, and Senior Assistant Dean for Student Services.

Our First to Go program welcomes not only students but their families to participate in this journey. Almost half of our student groups are affinity groups. With our Student Bar Association, they host numerous events celebrating their unique experiences and perspectives, including our annual Diversity Week, and the Black Law Student Association and La Raza de Loyola Admitted Student Welcome Day. For Loyola, it is not just about studying the law’s interaction with marginalized groups.  At LLS, diversity fosters multi-cultural exchange on all levels.

Our mission statement provides that we should always “provide opportunities for legal education to the poor, the underprivileged, women and minorities. Loyola Law School has a long-standing commitment to diversity .. and recognizes its moral and ethical obligation to provide opportunities for a quality legal education to qualified applicants of diverse backgrounds, interests and professional objectives.” This commitment has been part of our DNA from the beginning. Loyola’s inaugural class, over 100 years ago, welcomed women and those of Jewish faith who were excluded from other law schools. The first Latina to pass the California State Bar was a Loyola alum. The first Asian judge to be appointed to the California Judicial Bench graduated from Loyola. And Loyola’s first African-American graduate was an original co-founder of the NAACP and the founder of LA’s NAACP Chapter.  We take pride in what our students and graduates have accomplished in the generations since; yet, embrace our continuing duty to deliver an excellent legal education with a deep concern for social justice, which edifies our commitment to a learning community that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

Michael Waterstone
Fritz B. Burns Dean, Loyola Law School
Senior Vice President, Loyola Marymount University