Champions of Diversity Challenge
The Impact: Urban Youth as Future Lawyers
Urban Debate Leagues are local non-profit organizations that help underserved high school students become nationally competitive debaters. Participation in debate gives these students the skills they need to gain admittance to college and succeed in the professional world, and provides a gateway to previously-foreclosed areas of professional and civic life – including most prominently the field of law. The BAUDL allows firms in the Bay Area to make an impact:
- Reach a broad range of students in need. The BAUDL now serves 13 schools in four Bay Area cities. BAUDL’s participants are overwhelmingly students of color (98%) and low income (66%).  Fully 86% of the seniors participating in BAUDL in the 2009-2010 season went on to college, compared to 60% of the general populations at participating schools.
- Directly impact the local pipeline to the legal profession. Inside Counsel recently featured Urban Debate in a front-page article entitled “How Leading Companies Are Prioritizing Diversity Early in the Pipeline,” describing how local programs like BAUDL have worked with law firms to create powerful pipelines for diversity in the legal profession.
- Join a distinguished national community of support. Erwin Chemerinsky, Laurence Tribe and Elena Kagan joined 40 law school deans and professors from top schools including Harvard, Yale, the University of Chicago, Stanford, Michigan and UC Berkeley in signing a Statement of Support that endorses the strong connection between urban debate and racial and economic diversity in the legal profession. For details on the Statement, please click here.
The BAUDL shares with its partners the critical mission of diversifying the legal profession, and looks forward to training a new generation to meet the challenge of legal practice.
General note: The Champions of Diversity Challenge builds on the success of programs like the Chicago Bar Foundation’s Investing in Justice and the SF Food Bank’s Food from the Bar. Please see BAUDL’s 4-Year Budget & Strategic Plan for context.
 The BAUDL has been featured in many media outlets, including the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and the Oakland Tribune. For details on past press coverage, please click here. Please click to see examples of the press release and the full-page ad.
 The league reaches the hardest-hit schools in Oakland, San Francisco, Emeryville, and Berkeley. For a full list of participating schools, please click here.
 Income levels measured by registration for free and reduced lunches.
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The mission of diversifying the legal profession is bound up in the quality of the education that youth of color can access. Down the road, the legal field as a whole will benefit from the skills and confidence that young people build through debate.