LEAD-WA fosters inclusion and diversity in the practice of law by offering opportunities to law students from traditionally underrepresented groups to work in a variety of law firm and corporate law environments in the State of Washington.
The Puget Sound Area Minority Clerkship Program (PSAMCP) began in 1991 largely in response to various national surveys showing a deficiency in the level of minority involvement as associates or partners in major Seattle law firms. PSAMCP was founded by representatives from interested law firms, the Loren Miller and Hispanic Bar Associations, the Universiy of Washington Law School, and Seattle University School of Law.
Since its inception, the program has provided summer opportunities for more than 225 diverse Washington law students. In the mid-2000s, as a number of participating large law firms decided to develop their own programs, other firms and corporations took their place.
In 2015, PSAMCP made changes to its structure to ensure its continued longevity and to expand its reach in the Washington legal community. The PSAMCP Committee established a non-profit corporation and Legal Employers Advancing Diversity in Washington (LEAD-WA) was born. LEAD-WA increased the number of employer participants, opened applications to students at Gonzaga University School of Law, and established a scholarship fund for a diverse law student to work as a summer fellow in a legal services agency.