Volume 18, Number 2
March 2001

Introduction

Change on the Horizon, Slow but Deliberate

Pamila J. Brown

The ABA General Practice, Solo and Small Firm Division is, as its name reflects, the home of all of America’s lawyers, whether they are in solo or small firm practice, work for the government or the military, practice in a large law firm, or work for legal services or in a corporate environment. The common thread is that we are America’s lawyers from diverse backgrounds and many different practice settings, and we live and practice in a dynamic and multicultural society.

The Section has recognized that it could be doing more to be inclusive, and as a result developed and adopted a detailed strategic diversity plan. In addition, a standing committee on diversity was formed to ensure that the plan does not remain just a "plan," but instead is fully integrated into the structure of the Section.

First on the committee’s agenda was the development of a diversity fellows program, which has been fully implemented and has seen the appointment of its first class of fellows during the 2000-2001 bar year. Each of the individuals serving this year has brought new and creative ideas as well as dedication and a commitment to the Section.

The Diversity Committee has also sought to develop future co-programs with our sister national associations, including the National Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, as well as with local associations that represent people of color. In addition, the committee is developing a resource book for use by Section members and local and state bar association general practice sections.

The Section’s agenda in the new millennium recognizes that while "lawyers of color" have made tremendous strides forward, there is still much to be done before we can say that minority lawyers have achieved full and equal participation in the legal profession. The Section is proud to have taken decisive action to ensure that the goal of diversity is achieved in its leadership ranks and is reflected within its membership.

Pamila J. Brown is principal counsel to the Maryland Attorney General’s Office’s Department of General Services. She is chair of the Section’s Diversity Committee and has served on the Section’s Council and on the publications board.

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