Member School Highlight – DePaul University College of Law

Location: Chicago, Illinois
Joined AALS:
Jennifer Rosato Perea

Located in the heart of Chicago for more than a century, DePaul College of Law is a respected and integral part of the legal community. Chicago is a valuable resource for the professional and personal development of their 177 first-year JD law students. DePaul Law’s academic and experiential learning programs offer a multitude of opportunities to connect with the city through coursework, externships, clinical experiences, service opportunities, and professional networking events.

DePaul College of Law’s inaugural Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) team Manoj Mate, Associate Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Racial Justice Initiative and Fellow, Nathan Bennett-Fleming

DePaul College of Law’s new Racial Justice Initiative (RJI) serves as a nexus for students, lawyers, researchers, policymakers, and activists to collaborate in devising and implementing community-driven solutions to advance racial justice. Professor of Law Manoj Mate was named the Initiative’s inaugural faculty director.  He works closely with inaugural RJI Fellow Nathan Fleming, who previously served the Council of the District of Columbia as legislative and committee director where he authored several pieces of legislation to expand educational, housing, employment, racial and community equity throughout Washington, DC.

The RJI seeks to have an impact in key areas at the intersection of racial justice and community equity, such as policing, housing, economic opportunity, education, health, and voting rights. It has an interdisciplinary focus on the legal system and public policy, particularly in Chicago and the State of Illinois. The RJI plans to develop non-litigation strategies to attack systems that perpetuate racial injustice and take action to build momentum for broader, scalable reform.

In Spring 2023, the RJI hired several student research assistants to work on local and state change campaigns and develop innovative and systemic strategies to advance racial justice for marginalized individuals and groups. Students will conduct legal and social science research and analysis, interview stakeholders and experts, draft legislation, plan events, and develop oral advocacy and public relations skills.

The Initiative also seeks to collaborate and build partnerships with stakeholders within the College of Law, across DePaul University, and with community partners. The RJI will convene civic leaders, advocates, practicing attorneys, academics, residents impacted by racism, and the broader public to gather input and explore solutions that will reduce racial inequities.

Dean Jennifer Rosato Perea expressed her pride in the RJI, saying, “This initiative, launched by these terrific experts in policy and advocacy and the generosity of the donors, will strengthen the law school’s commitment to social and racial justice and deepen our impact on communities in Chicago.”

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