The Diverse Attorney Pipeline Program (DAPP) is a non-profit corporation that addresses the continued and systematic decline of women of color lawyers in law firms and across other coveted positions in the legal profession. DAPP aims to diversify the legal profession by expanding opportunities for women of color law students to secure summer positions at law firms and corporations following their first year of law school. Students who work in law firms following their first year of law school are more likely to obtain summer associate positions and secure offers of employment following law school. Therefore, DAPP’s primary goal is to infuse the pipeline to the profession with talented, highly qualified women of color in order to combat and increase the dismal statistics surrounding the number of women of color who are hired, retained and promoted at large law firms across the nation.
DAPP was founded by two black female attorneys who graduated from law school during the height of the recession and witnessed first-hand, personally and through their leadership positions in minority bar associations and diversity organizations, the barricades to, and rapid decline of, women of color in big law. As such, DAPP is dedicated to providing a strong academic and professional foundation for those populations who have the most barriers to accessing prestigious positions in the legal field. DAPP provides scholars with placement assistance, academic support, coaching, counseling, financial assistance, tutoring, seminars and workshops, professional development, mentorship, and more. DAPP’s Board of Directors is comprised of women of color lawyers who work or have worked in law firms or private companies.
DAPP scholars undergo a rigorous application process which requires assessment of their undergraduate performance, career goals, plans to positively affect diversity in their law schools and the legal field following graduation, as well as an interview. The program model includes pairing law students with law school and attorney mentors who serve as resources to the scholars. The mentors assist DAPP scholars with the transition to law school, developing time-management skills and understanding substantive content. DAPP scholars attend weekly sessions that consist of everything from teaching legal writing concepts, drilling black letter law, reviewing multiple choice and practice essay questions, and cultivating high-quality resume writing, interviewing and professional development skills. Most importantly, DAPP creates an environment where diverse law students are empowered to succeed in law school and beyond.
Born in 2013, DAPP piloted at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law in 2014, and John Marshall Law School in 2015. In April 2016, the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation recognized DAPP with the Diversity Leadership Award for its demonstrated commitment to promoting full and equal participation in the legal profession through the encouragement and inclusion of women and minorities. Following its official launch this summer, DAPP will now runs city-wide in Chicago and expects to expand its scholar program to other cities in the near future. In 2018, DAPP launched DAPP Direct – a national job placement program that places women of color law students in summer internships at law firms across the country.
To maximize DAPP’s impact, DAPP partners with law firms, corporations and bar associations to secure financial resources and volunteers to support its scholars.