Tulane Law School is launching three major new awards celebrating the leadership and impact of Black alumni.
The Deans Kramer & Clayton Award for Leadership in Equity, Diversity and Inclusion will be presented to Tulane Law alumni in recognition of exemplary impact in advancing the cause of access and inclusion in the legal profession. The award is named for John Kramer, who served as the 19th Dean of Tulane Law School from 1986 to 1996, and Robert Clayton, who served as an Associate Dean and leader of an innovative and remarkably successful program at Tulane to recruit and mentor minority law students. During the years of Dean Kramer and Clayton’s leadership, Tulane Law School boasted the highest representation of Black students of among U.S. law schools, excluding historically Black institutions. Many of those graduates have gone on to major leadership positions as judges, members of Congress, university presidents and scholars, civil rights and public interest advocates, and heads of law firms.
The Wayne Lee Award for Outstanding Service to the Profession will recognize Tulane Law alumni who exemplify servant leadership and timeless contributions to the legal profession. The award is named in honor of Wayne Lee, a 1974 Tulane Law alumnus and widely respected New Orleans lawyer who was a pioneer in opening up Louisiana’s legal profession. A senior partner at the New Orleans law firm of Stone Pigman, Lee was the first African American President of the Louisiana State Bar Association and has played numerous critical leadership roles in the legal profession at the city, state and national levels.
Finally, the Emerging Leader Award will honor Tulane Law alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years and already distinguished themselves for their leadership and service to the profession and larger community.
“We are excited to recognize the extraordinary talent and leadership of Tulane Law School’s Black alumni through awards that simultaneously honor the remarkable and ongoing legacy of leaders like John Kramer, Robert Clayton, and Wayne Lee,” said Tulane Law Dean David Meyer. “And, in celebrating our remarkable alumni, we recommit ourselves to Tulane Law’s historic leadership in advancing the cause of equity, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession and in society at large.”
The new awards were conceived and developed by the alumni leadership committee responsible for planning Tulane’s Black Law Alumni Reunion Weekend. The inaugural BLA Reunion Weekend, held in February 2019, drew more than 400 Tulane Law alumni to campus for a series of programs, lectures, panel discussions, and revelry. The awards will be presented at the second BLA Reunion Weekend, scheduled to take place in February of 2023.