Academy for Inclusive Leadership Development

Diverse group collaborate on project

Law firms, legal organizations and corporations are increasingly recognizing the need to foster a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) from the “inside-out.”  They seek  employees steeped in understanding the principles that undergird a commitment to DEI ideals—and who are committed to the organization’s efforts to reinforce and uphold them. This is why Case Western Reserve University School of Law developed the Academy for Inclusive Leadership Development (AILD).

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The first such law school program in the country, the AILD is designed for current legal and business professionals and students so they can more effectively take on roles in organizations that seek to strengthen their DEI efforts.  The program is offered on weekends over the course of nine months. 

The AILD consists of specialized readings, training tools, presentations, discussions, exercises,  and simulations, , as well as opportunities for reflection and application in real-world settings. Lessons will be facilitated not only by legal experts, but also specialists with extensive experience in DEI training, organizational structure and leadership, and human resource management. 

The AILD will be transformative, enabling business, legal professionals and students to learn essential approaches to sustaining diverse, equitable and inclusive organizations. With numerous networking opportunities, participants will also gain insights into best practices and receive feedback on new approaches.

Through AILD, organizations will be able to leverage their own members as organizational leaders and educators to help develop strategies to implement DEI initiatives and promote an inclusive culture of global citizenship. 

Launch Date: Fall 2022

Who should participate?

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Lawyers, managing partners, general counsel/presidents, human resource managers, law firm DEI managers, ERG members, and graduate  students. Student modules will run separately as part of the law school curriculum.

All participants will receive a certificate acknowledging their successful completion of the AILD curriculum. In addition, the Academy will offer lawyers CLE credit, and CWRU School of Law will offer students academic credit. 

AILD Mode of Instruction

The Academy will enlist local and national experts steeped in DEI education and leadership development and training, including members of the CWRU faculty.

  • The AILD course will be accessed through the Canvas platform, an online learning management system.
  • Learning modules will be delivered live and online over the course of nine months.
  • The modules will be moderated or facilitated by CWRU faculty and other experts in DEI and law practice.
  • The modules will include facilitated participant discussion, real-time panel discussions and pre-recorded material.
  • Panel discussions will be composed of Law Firm managers, law associates, students, and law firm and legal organization clients.
  • Module assignments will include viewing and commenting on live programs and asynchronous videos. Participants will also engage in online conversations via discussion boards, conduct fieldwork, and submit reflection pieces as part of their module assignments.
  • Participants will receive toolkits that they may use and apply to their work, and a list of resources.  

Curriculum Overview

  • Structural Biases—Race, Ethnicity, Gender, Ability and LGBTQ Status in Law Firms and Legal Organizations
  • The Economics of Law Practice and interrupting structural inequities
  • The Science of Bias
  • Building Cultural Competence and Identifying Microaggressions in Law Firms and Legal Organizations 
  • Listening for Values 
  • Ally-Building, Team-Building and Interrupting Bias in the Workplace
  • DEI in a hybrid reality: ensuring equity and inclusiveness in associate evaluation, retention and promotion
  • Cultural intelligence and attorney-client relationships across borders
  • Implementing DEI and Fostering Inclusiveness in Office and Hybrid Work Teams
  • Employment Law and Policy Impacting DEI Imperatives
  • From Hiring to Performing Effective Self-Assessments of Organization Policies and Structures to improve diversity, equity and inclusiveness
  • Leadership, “Followership,” and Self-Assessing Leadership Styles
  • Leadership and Change Management
  • Leading Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive Law Firms and Legal Organizations

For more information

Contact: Bryan Adamson, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at