ABA names John Marshall among most LGBT-Friendly law schools in US

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John Marshall has been named an “LGBT-Friendly Law School” by the American Bar Association (ABA).

The ABA has released a list of just eight law schools that it says go above and beyond its counterparts to provide an inclusive environment for LGBT students. Only law schools with established associations and forums designed to enhance educational opportunities for LGBT students were included.

Sean Varsho is a rising second-year student at John Marshall and was recently elected as co-president of the school’s chapter of OUTLaw. OUTLaw is an inclusive organization for students, faculty and staff who support and promote equality in the LGBT community.

“I think of OUTLaw as a support group particularly for those new students who may not have an established support system in law school or even in Chicago,” Varsho said. “There are John Marshall professors who host events each semester and welcome us into their homes. It creates a sense of community and everyone is encouraged to bring friends and family members.”

Another important component of OUTLaw is educating its members on legal issues impacting the LGBT community. The group invites speakers several times throughout the school year to discuss topics such as gender orientation rights and other legal issues affecting the LGBT community. Varsho plans to share with his OUTLaw colleagues his own experience of attending the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage arguments in April.

“Since its inception, John Marshall has been known for its spirit of inclusion,” said Anthony Niedwiecki, associate dean for Academic Affairs. “We believe that equality and mutual respect grant us greater understanding of each other and make us better lawyers and human beings.”

Niedwiecki also is vice president of Fight OUT Loud, a national organization dedicated to providing immediate resources, support, education and assistance for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals facing discrimination.

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