ST. JOHN’S LAW PROF. LEONARD BAYNES WINS STATE
BAR’S DIVERSITY TRAILBLAZER AWARD
Recognized for work with minorities to increase
law school admissions, promote teaching opportunities and further
interest in legal careers
NEW YORK—Prof. Leonard Baynes, a professor of law at St.
John’s University School of Law and the inaugural director of the
Ronald H. Brown Center for Civil Rights and Economic Development, was
honored with the Diversity Trailblazer Award from the New York State Bar
Association at its Celebrating Diversity Reception on January 25 at the
Hilton New York in Manhattan. Sponsored by the Committee on Minorities
in the Profession, the award honors individuals who demonstrate a strong
commitment to helping enhance diversity in the legal profession.
The committee honored Baynes, of Forest Hills, for his remarkable
success in enhancing diversity in the legal profession through his work
with the Brown Center’s Summer Prep Program. As law school
enrollment among students of color declines, diversity pipeline
programs, such as the Summer Prep Program, provide underrepresented
students with mentoring and other resources to help them get into law
school and have successful legal careers. Under Baynes’
leadership, the Summer Prep Program participants’ LSAT scores
increased on average by 10 points, and almost 90 percent of them earned
placements in the nation’s most competitive law schools. The
national law school acceptance rate is just 66 percent.
“Leonard Baynes is an outstanding scholar who has devoted his
considerable talents and resources to public service and creating a
brighter future for people of color in the legal profession and
beyond,” said President Michael E. Getnick (Getnick Livingston
Atkinson & Priore, LLP of Utica and of counsel to Getnick &
Getnick of New York City). “The State Bar is pleased to recognize
Prof. Baynes for effectively furthering the cause of diversity, and I
congratulate him for winning this prestigious award.”
The award also recognized Baynes’ leadership at the Brown
Center in creating the RHB Research Professor Pipeline program, which
provides aspiring legal academics from underrepresented groups the
opportunity to teach and develop scholarship. Under Baynes, the Brown
Center also coordinates a number of pipeline programs for younger
students including a law day for high school students, the Legal
Outreach Program (for eighth grade students), and a mock trial program
for middle schools.
“As the leader of St. John’s diversity efforts since
2001, Leonard Baynes’ passion for increasing diversity in the
legal profession is equaled only by his dedication to motivating his
students to be leaders on issues of racial, economic and social justice.
Many graduates credit him for opening career doors that might otherwise
be locked shut,” said Committee Chair Lillian M. Moy of Albany
(Executive Director, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern NY, Inc.).
“It is my great privilege to honor him for his excellent work in
promoting diversity in the legal profession -- one promising student at
Baynes received his undergraduate degree from New York University and
his J.D.-M.B.A. from Columbia Law School. He is a founding member of
Northeastern People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference and past chair
of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Minority Law Section.
As chair of the American Association of Law School’s Standing
Committee on Recruitment and Retention of Minority Faculty, Baynes
analyzed disparities in tenure rates between professors of color and
white professors. In addition, he has testified about the
underrepresentation of people of color in the New York State Judiciary
and in New York law schools.
Previous recipients of the Diversity Trailblazer Award include:
Laurie N. Robinson of New York, founder and CEO of Corporate Counsel
Women of Color and vice-president and assistant general counsel of CBS
Broadcasting Inc.; Taa R. Grays of New York, chair of the State
Bar’s Committee on Women in the Law and assistant general counsel
and chief of staff, MetLife; and Carol A. Robles-Román of New York,
deputy mayor for legal affairs and counsel to New York City Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg.
Founded in 1876, the 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is
the official statewide organization of lawyers in New York and the
largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. The State
Bar’s programs and activities have continuously served the public
and improved the justice system for more than 130 years.
NEW YORK STATE BAR ASSOCIATION, ONE ELK STREET, ALBANY, NY 12207 PH: (518) 463-3200 SECURE FX: (518) 463-5993