Norfolk State University Announces Initiative to Increase Black Lawyers

By: Tadi Abedje

In America, others in power have made it difficult for Black people to succeed with equal chances and opportunities. They have suffered so much since being brought to this country on slave ships over 400 years ago. African Americans have faced a lot of discrimination, police brutality, health care inequity, voter suppression and unjust laws. 

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What makes this more difficult is that there isn’t enough minority representation in the criminal justice system. Black people make up 13 percent of the U.S. population. However, according to the American Bar Association’s National Lawyer Population Survey, African Americans have made up only five percent of American lawyers from 2011 to 2021. 

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To come up with a solution to this issue, Norfolk State, a historically Black university, reached an agreement with the Appalachian School of Law that would allow students to spend three years at NSU and another three years at ASL. 

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“It’s a way of bridging eastern and western Virginia. It’s a way of bridging different areas,” said former Virginia Governor George Allen, who is an ASL trustee. 

The projected cost of the program will be $10,000 less than a typical law degree. 

“What that tells us is HBCU Norfolk State University is a place where people go to grow and become their best selves,” Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, president of Norfolk State said. 

With the program in place, both schools are hopeful that they can level the playing field with more minority representation in law. 

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