New bar program looks to diversify Oregon’s legal field

August 17, 2021 - 5:07am

The University of Oregon School of Law is taking part in a new program instituted by the Lane County Bar Association  designed to diversify Oregon legal practice by recruiting and supporting diverse law students.

“We are very excited about this program,” said Marcilynn A. Burke, dean of the law school and Dave Frohnmayer Chair in Leadership and Law. “It is a concrete demonstration of how committed the legal field in Oregon is about supporting diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The highly selective program for students with a strong commitment to practice law in Oregon provides a paid internship for recipients’ first summer in law school and substantial scholarships throughout their time at the UO School of Law. It also provides multiple networking opportunities, judicial mentorship and other resources designed to support the bar fellows’ success in law school and in their Oregon legal careers.

As part of the effort, the LCBA Bar Fellows Program will collaborate with the Multnomah Bar Association Fellows Program. 

Felipe Alonso III, associate director for career planning and professional development at the School of Law, led the effort to launch the initiative. In his role as chair of the county bar association’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee, he gathered support for the program and commitments to participate from local firms. 

“I am excited about this program because it is designed not only to attract diverse law students to our community but also provides an inclusive and supportive environment so that those same students will stay and thrive in Oregon,” Alonso said.

Five Eugene law groups have committed to the program. Participants include the law firms of Hutchinson Cox; Hershner Hunter; Johnson Johnson Lucas & Middleton; and the Local Government Law Group as well as Public Defender Services of Lane County. Each of the organizations will provide a paid internship for a bar fellow for the summer following the first year of law school.

Three UO law students will take part in the program during the 2021-22 academic year. The first summer internships will start the summer of 2022 for law students starting school this fall. 

“Hershner Hunter is excited and honored to take part in this project to recruit and support a more diverse and inclusive Oregon bar,” said Mario Conte, a partner at Hershner Hunter. “It is a great opportunity to have a meaningful and direct impact on these important issues.”

Organizations interested in the program should contact Alonso at or 541-346-3809.