This blog was updated on October 12, 2020, to provide additional information about the event.

The University of Houston Law Center and SMU Dedman School of Law will host a virtual conference from 8:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. October 30 titled “Black Lawyers Matter: Strategies to Enhance Diversity and Inclusion.”

The keynote speaker for the event will be David B. Wilkins, the Lester Kissel Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, vice dean for global initiatives in the legal profession, and faculty director of the Center on the Legal Profession and the Center for Lawyers and the Professional Services Industry.

Topics to be discussed during the conference include ways to increase the number of Black students applying for law school; how to support historically Black law schools; and how to increase hiring, retention, and success of Black attorneys in the legal profession.

The opening speaker of the conference will be Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Bradley J.B. Toben, dean and Mattie Caston professor of law at Baylor Law School, will deliver the Bracewell Distinguished Lecture in Racial and Social Justice Keynote.

Topics that will be discussed include increasing black enrollment in law schools; the role of historically black law schools; the LSAT, socioeconomics, and U.S. News & World Report; pathways to the profession: hiring for firms and corporate positions; and diverse pathways to the profession: law faculty hiring, the judiciary, and judicial clerkships.

For information on the current schedule and list of speakers, go to

Registration for the event is currently open.

Conference co-sponsors are Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; the American Bar Association; the Association of American Law Schools; the Austin Bar Association; the Dallas Bar Association; Dentons; the Houston Bar Association; the Houston Young Lawyers Association; Baker Botts; Baylor Law School; Beck | Redden; Blank Rome; Bracewell; Haynes Boone; Hunton Andrews Kurth; the Law School Admission Council; the Tarrant County Bar Association; Texas A&M University School of Law; UNT Dallas College of Law; South Texas College of Law Houston; St. Mary’s University School of Law; Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law; McDowell Hetherington; the San Antonio Bar Association; the University of Texas School of Law; the Asian American Bar Association of Houston; Winstead; J.L. Turner Legal Association; Texas Tech University School of Law; the Middle Eastern Bar Association of Texas; the Dallas Association of Young Lawyers; Norton Rose Fulbright; and Vinson Elkins.