Diversity and Inclusion

New York Law School is committed to advancing diversity within our institution and within the community. 

About the Office of Diversity and Inclusion

As “New York’s law school,” we are committed to ensuring that our institution reflects the diversity and excellence for which New York is known.  Towards this goal, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion supports students, administration and staff, faculty, and alumni in addressing all aspects of diversity, with a focus on underrepresented communities and military veterans.

For students this means providing an educational environment that educates, challenges, and develops the knowledge, values, cultural competency, and professional skills needed to become a twenty-first century attorney, prepared to serve in an increasingly global workplace.  From application through graduation and admission to the bar, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion helps diverse students fully engage in the academic programs, student and career services, and opportunities offered by the law school.

Portrait of Ella Mae Estrada, Associate Dean for Enrollment Management, Financial Aid, and Diversity InitiativesElla Mae Estrada
Associate Dean of Enrollment Management, Financial Aid, and Diversity Initiatives



Shani DarbyShani Darby
Senior Director of Student Life and Deputy Diversity Officer




Aisha Joseph

Aisha Joseph
Director of Career Planning and Deputy Diversity Officer




Kitty Montanez

Kitty Montanez
Associate Director of Human Resources and Deputy Diversity Officer



Institutional Diversity Plan

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at New York Law School supports students, administration and staff, faculty, and alumni in addressing all aspects of diversity, with a focus on underrepresented communities and military veterans. The Office partners with diverse alumni, affinity bar associations, and other advocacy organizations to expand opportunities for diverse students and NYLS staff. With the adoption of the Institutional Diversity Plan in winter 2015, NYLS is dedicated to making the Law School a place where every student and employee can succeed and exceed their expectations.

Diversity is a component of each of the five strategic goals outlined in the New York Law School Strategic Plan:

Academic Excellence and Innovation: Research supports the proposition that we all gain from learning and working in a diverse environment. Skills such as communication, cooperation, collaboration, and innovation are rooted in experiencing different perspectives with an open mind, free from judgmental assumptions. Diversity, therefore, is intrinsically tied to academic excellence and innovation. A diverse student population that is fully supported by services and offered opportunities to gain professional skills is essential to NYLS. Diversity includes a diverse faculty and a curriculum that reflects the different perspectives needed to promote the professional values and skills for modern lawyering. A diverse administration and staff are also essential to creating a challenging and nurturing learning environment.

Career Success: Helping students develop professional networks and connecting students to internship, clinical, and leadership opportunities while they are still in law school are crucial to their finding a first job in a changing legal marketplace. NYLS is dedicated to opening doors for our diverse students and working with employers who also see the benefits of a diverse workforce. Strong relationships with our diverse alumni can really make a difference throughout a student’s time learning, preparing for the bar exam, seeking employment, and, ultimately, practicing law.

Intellectual Life: NYLS understands that a vibrant institutional culture permits our differences to collaborate with our commonality, and that such a culture inspires learning, innovation, and respect for human dignity. We encourage scholarship that examines how to use law to end discrimination and exclusion, we organize forums throughout the year to respond to current challenges to our civil society, and we celebrate the achievements of all of our faculty and students.

Community Engagement: NYLS is an exciting potential resource to underresourced neighbors and communities, and through our Impact Center for Public Interest Law, Office of Clinical and Experiential Learning, and Office for Diversity and Inclusion, we are exploring ways to better connect students and NYLS in service to these communities.

Operations: To attract diverse applicants, specifically applicants from all economic backgrounds, NYLS is working to increase affordability to our students through increased scholarships and financial aid counseling.

Faculty Diversity Committee

portrait of nyls alum and professor kirk d burkhalter, class of 2004Kirk D. Burkhalter ’04
Diversity Committee Chair
Professor of Law





portrait of professor of law susan abrahamSusan J. Abraham
Professor of Law





portrait of professor of law, david changDavid Chang
Theodore Dwight 125th Anniversary Professor of Law





portrait of anthony w crowell in his officeAnthony W. Crowell, Chair
Dean and President
Professor of Law





cynara hermes mcquillian portraitCynara Hermes McQuillan ’03
Visiting Professor of Law
Assistant Dean for Bar Success





portrait of edward purcell, professor of lawEdward A. Purcell Jr.
Joseph Solomon Distinguished Professor of Law





portrait of professor of law, ann thomasAnn F. Thomas
Otto L. Walter Distinguished Professor of Tax Law
Director, Graduate Tax Program