Published: July 14, 2021

As part of the University of Colorado Law School’s Anti-Racism and Representation Initiative, the law school recently announced the launch of a certificate program focused on civil rights and racial justice.

The Civil Rights and Racial Justice Certificate will directly prepare students for a career in civil rights and racial justice law, focus their education on issues in race and the law, and seek to address structural racism by studying its causes and effects. With the support of former Dean S. James Anaya, the certificate program was developed by the law school’s Public Service Committee, led by Clinical Professor Colene Robinson, in consultation with faculty teaching courses related to the certificate and the Council on Racial Justice & Equity student organization.

In addition to exposing students to a higher level of experience and understanding of racial justice issues, the certificate will help students and graduates stand out in the competitive field of civil rights law.

The certificate is an opportunity for students to continue conversations and learnings that have begun in the classroom and law school events, including those held by the White Center and the Race and the Law lecture series.

"The certificate will be a great asset to put on résumés and mention during interviews. Students will be able to mention that they are working on a civil rights and racial justice certificate when applying for their positions, which will show employers that the student is committed to promoting equity for all people—which is a phenomenal trait to have no matter what area of law a student would like to enter," said Essence Duncan ('23), who serves as a leading member of the Council for Racial Justice & Equity.

A broad and diverse range of courses, including Civil Rights, American Indian Law, Employment Discrimination, and Immigration Law, are among those eligible for certificate credit. Associate Professor Scott Skinner-Thompson agreed to serve as the initial faculty advisor for the program.

With this addition, Colorado Law now offers 10 certificate offerings in American Indian law; energy, environmental, and natural resources law and policy; entrepreneurial law; health law and policy; international law; juvenile and family law; and an interdisciplinary graduate certificate program in environment, policy, and society.