Diversity Task Force

Diversity Task Force

In March 2005, in response to ideas generated at the Committee's annual Diversity Breakfast, the Committee announced the formation of a three-year Diversity Task Force to identify strategies to advance diversity and inclusion in the Committee, the Section, and the Bar. This Task Force meets quarterly in different cities across the continental United States, in order to enable more Committee members to attend.

Mission of the Diversity Task Force

The ABA Labor and Employment Law Section Equal Employment Opportunity Committee Diversity Task Force advances the objectives of being a diversity leader and developing an inclusive Committee by reaching out to and involving members who represent a broad spectrum of our legal community -- inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, age, disability, and sexual orientation, with a particular focus on advancing the participation of people from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups -- and by providing professional development, knowledge, and support to diverse professionals to help them succeed within the Committee, Section, Bar, and practice of law.

Diversity Best Practices

In March 2006, the Diversity Task Force announced its list of "Top 10 Diversity Best Practices for Recruiting and Retaining Lawyers of Color." They are as follows:

1. Develop and Communicate the Business Case for diversity and inclusion in your organization.

2. Exhibit leadership and a commitment to diversity from the top levels of the organization.

3. Mandate diversity and inclusion training across the organization.

4. Implement a system of accountability and rewards for championing diversity best practices, interviewing and hiring diverse talent, and practicing inclusion.

5. Implement systems for appropriate feedback and career guidance to lawyers at all levels, but especially junior lawyers, including an effective mentoring program.

6. Proactively utilize expanded recruiting networks; publicize in minority publications and with minority student groups; and include hiring criteria that recognize the value of life experience, work during school, and other broader indicia of success and ambition.

7. Emphasize the hiring of lateral attorneys of color to increase the presence of experienced lawyers of color who can attract business and talent to the organization.

8. Implement systems to ensure that attorneys of color receive equivalent opportunities to contribute, develop, and grow in the practice.

9. Ensure that attorneys receive credit (such as billable hours credit or bonuses) in the organization for diversity-related activities, including for developing business in communities of color.

10. Promote a work-life balance that respects the demands and pressures lawyers of color may experience with extended family responsibilities and that supports the involvement and leadership of lawyers of color in civic, community, or bar association activities.

This "best practices" list has been adapted from the Recommended Diversity Best Practices of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. For more information about identifying diversity best practices, please see the following: This "best practices" list has been adapted from the Recommended Diversity Best Practices of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. For more information about identifying diversity best practices, please see the following:

Minority Corporate Counsel Association: Recommended Diversity Best Practices

Bar Association of San Francisco 2005 Report: "Goals and Timetables for Minority Hiring and Advancement" 

In addition, several constituencies of the Committee have also prepared additional guidance on implementing diversity best practices in specific types of organizations, as follows:

Corporate Legal Department Best Practices

Plaintiff/Employee Firm Best Practices

Union Firm Best Practices

For more information on the activities of the Diversity Task Force, please contact the Committee Co-Chairs.

 

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