Wayne Law Students Launch Powerful "Lawyers Look Like Me" Campaign
DETROIT – Students from diverse backgrounds at Wayne State University Law School have launched the “Lawyers Look Like Me” campaign, an initiative that sends a powerful message: lawyers can look like us, too.
The campaign aims to challenge stereotypes about what lawyers “look” like, celebrate historically underrepresented law students, and highlight the importance of diversifying the legal profession. The students driving this campaign represent numerous multicultural and ally organizations.
“Lawyers and judges carry people’s livelihoods and liberties in their hands. It’s so important for the profession to welcome practitioners that come from all walks of life,” said Aleanna Siacon, a third-year law student and the creator of the campaign. “There’s much work to be done to address and remove the barriers that make law school inaccessible to many. But this campaign recognizes the power of representation.”
Siacon also serves as president of the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, and as one of the founders of the Wayne Law Diversity Coalition, an umbrella organization that includes the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association, the Black Law Students Association, the Latinx Law Students Association, the Middle Eastern Law Students Association, the Muslim Law Students Association, OutLaws, and the Women’s Law Caucus. Together, the students hope to inspire future law students who have a wide variety of backgrounds and identities.
“My hope is that people of different backgrounds see one of us wearing the shirts and feel empowered,” Siacon added. “I also want historically underrepresented law students to be heartened by the promise that there are fellow future lawyers and practitioners who see you, support you, and celebrate you.”
The student-led campaign was supported by Dean Richard Bierschbach and the law school’s newly formed Anti-Racism Working Group, chaired by Assistant Director of Student Engagement and Culture Tiye Greene and Assistant Director of Scholarship Programs and Assessment Michelle Taylor.
“Stereotypes about what lawyers ‘look’ like are deeply rooted and cause real harm,” said Bierschbach. “I’m proud of our students for conceiving a campaign to challenge those stereotypes head-on. This campaign palpably and visibly conveys that the law and careers in it belong to everyone. We hope that, by seeing and wearing these shirts, current and future law students from all backgrounds and identities inspire and further the change we need to see in our profession.”
“For women and minorities, ‘looking the part’ too often goes beyond mere wardrobe choices. Natural hair, brown skin, hijabs, and other indicators of race or ethnicity can undermine how seriously we’re taken in professional and educational settings, which leads to having to work or learn in cold, unwelcoming environments,” said Greene. “Wayne Law stands in abundant support of this campaign and the students that brought it to life. We hope it encourages students from diverse backgrounds to pursue legal careers with no doubts as to whether they ‘look like a lawyer.’”
The shirt sale is open to the public and will run until March 27, 2022. Long-sleeve shirts are $29 and short-sleeve shirts are $25. A portion of the proceeds will benefit student-powered diversity initiatives from the Wayne Law Diversity Coalition. To purchase a shirt and learn more about the campaign, visit lawyerslooklikeme.com.
Individuals who purchase a shirt are encouraged to take a selfie and email it to email@example.com. Photos of campaign supporters will be shared on Wayne Law and WLDC social media platforms.