CLEO, Inc.


Navigating Challenges: CLEO’s CEO J.C. Polanco Discusses the Impact of the ‘Harvard Affirmative Action Decision’ on DEI Programs

In a pivotal and insightful Zoom meeting discussion, our President and CEO, J.C. Polanco, recently served as a distinguished panelist, delving into the profound implications of the ‘Harvard Affirmative Action Decision’ on diversity-focused organizations like CLEO.


Defending Access: Persevering Diversity Pipeline Programs

Pipeline programs, dedicated to expanding exposure and access for diverse students, find themselves at a crossroads. While these programs are instrumental in increasing opportunities for underrepresented students in higher education and law school, they have also become potential targets for those challenging the validity of initiatives aimed at broadening educational access.

This crucial discussion aimed to address the dichotomy surrounding pipeline programs, emphasizing the need to maintain their integrity for the benefit of underrepresented students.

Key Highlights:

  • Webinar Host: American Bar Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center
  • Moderator: Patricia Lee, Chair, ABA Council for Diversity in the Educational Pipeline
  • Speakers:
    • Juan Carlos (J.C.) Polanco: CEO, The Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.
    • Cindy Lopez: Founder, Legal Education Access Pipeline, Inc.
    • Thomas Saenz: President and General Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense Fund
    • Antonette N. Smith: Executive Director, Just the Beginning – A Pipeline Organization
    • Oyango Snell, Esq.: Certified Association Executive; Former Bar Association Executive

This webinar provided a platform for comprehensive discussions on the challenges faced by diversity pipeline programs and the critical role they play in fostering equal educational opportunities.

As we continue to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of diversity, equity, and inclusion, CLEO remains dedicated to fostering meaningful dialogue and driving positive change in the legal education sector.

Stay tuned for more updates on CLEO’s involvement in critical discussions shaping the future of diversity and education.



About the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc.

CLEO, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to diversifying the legal profession by expanding legal education opportunities for persons from traditionally under-represented racial and ethnic groups, low-income, and disadvantaged communities. Founded in 1968, when the number of lawyers of color was less than one percent, CLEO has since had more than 30,000 high school, college, prelaw, and law students participate in its programs. CLEO alumni have excelled in every area of the legal profession to include judges, corporate attorneys, law school deans and professors, practitioners, and politicians. More information about CLEO, its 50+ year history, and its programs can be found at and


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Media Contact:
Dominique Moss, M.Ed.
Director of Law School Initiatives
(240) 582-8600