Oct. 4, 2019 - University of Houston Law Center Dean Leonard M. Baynes is a recipient of the 2019 CLEO Edge Award presented by the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. Baynes is among a small group of outstanding leaders recognized in the areas of education, diversity and greater equality.
“The recipients of this year’s CLEO EDGE awards are dynamic examples of diversity and inclusion,” said Cassandra Sneed Ogden, Chief Executive Officer of CLEO. “These characteristics are important to CLEO, the legal profession, and our nation. We believe these nine leaders appreciate and value diversity in all its forms.”
Among initiatives instituted since becoming dean five years ago, Baynes began the Law Center's award-winning Pre-Law Pipeline Program. The intensive, eight-week summer program is designed to introduce low-income, first generation and historically underrepresented groups of undergraduate students to the demands of law school and the opportunities of a law career.
“I am delighted and humbled to be the recipient of the CLEO Edge Award,” Baynes said. “CLEO is one of the premier organization ensuring that there is a steady pipeline of students from underrepresented backgrounds into the legal profession. Making sure that we pave the way forward for those who follow us is very important to me. So to receive this recognition from CLEO is quite an honor and means a lot to me.”
In September, INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine honored the Law Center for the fourth consecutive year with its Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award in recognition of the school's efforts to increase minority representation on campus and in the legal profession. The Law Center was the only law school out of almost 200 ABA accredited law schools so recognized.
Founded in 1968, CLEO is the longest-serving national organization dedicated to expanding opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school. Since its inception, more than 10,000 students have participated in CLEO's programs and joined the legal profession.
The Law Center received the inaugural CLEO Edge Award in 2018, along with Associate Dean of Alumni and Community Relations Sondra Tennessee for her previous work as Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
Baynes will receive his award at the CLEO Edge Awards 2019 Honors Reception on Nov. 7 in Washington D.C.